East Boston, MA – On March 31st, Air Partners installed Austin Air air purifiers as air quality sensors into classrooms at Little Folks Community Daycare Center, located in the heart of East Boston at 65 Trenton Street. The philosophy of the program is to develop a creative atmosphere in which all children can thrive, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Air quality is of extreme importance for the teachers as well as the students.
These air sensors will help Environmental Engineer Scott Hersey and his team at Olin College quantify the reduction in exposure to particles in 9 classrooms across their three locations. Air Partners has been an advocate for clean air in East Boston since 2018 and is currently running air quality monitoring pilot programs at the Dante Alighieri School and East Boston Social Center. Professor Hersey and his team collected filter efficacy data on the air quality in those spaces after installing filters in each school. Through collaborations with Mothers Out Front East Boston and the East Boston Social Center, Air Partners decided to focus its next program on early childcare centers and worked to identify spaces with the most need in a variety of categories such as related to flight paths, demographics, as well as age and mechanics of the building.
Air Partners has been collaborating with AIR Inc (Airport Impact Relief Inc) as well as Mothers Out Front East Boston, whose primary campaign is focused on getting HEPA air filters into all East Boston public school classrooms. This became even more crucial when COVID hit. With a 360% increase in childhood asthma and double the COPD rates, East Boston was challenged even further with the highest rates of COVID in Boston. As a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study outlined, people exposed to higher levels of ultrafine particulate matter saw an 8% increase in COVID mortality.
Certain air filters like Austin Air remove 75-82% of ultrafine particulate (UFP) pollution, as well as 95% of COVID-19 particles. Increased exposure to UFPs is linked to behavioral problems and developmental delays in children. By lowering students’ exposure, studies are showing that using specific brands and models of air filters in classrooms is one of the most cost-effective ways to lower the achievement gap. This is of particular interest in communities like East Boston which is composed of 58% Latino families, as air pollution disproportionately affects people of color worldwide.