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Asthma-Related Chemicals in Massachusetts: an Analysis of Toxics Use Reduction Data. 2009.

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Authors

  •   Molly Jacobs,  MPH—Program Manager, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, UML
  •   Polly Hoppin , ScD—Program Director, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production; Research Professor,Department of Work Environment, UML
  •  Kathy Sperrazza—Doctoral Candidate, Department of Work Environment, UML
  •   Richard Clapp , ScD—Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health; Adjunct Professor, UML

The purpose of this project was to understand the extent to which chemicals that can cause the initial onset of asthma or trigger subsequent asthma attacks are being used by Massachusetts industries who report under the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program.The project involved:

  1.  assembling a master list of agents that cause the initial onset of asthma or exacerbate existing asthma;
  2.  researching trends in the use of asthma-related chemicals in Massachusetts using TURA data; and
  3.  exploring the associations between the TURA data and asthma surveillance data gathered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to help generate hypotheses to explain such trends and point to opportunities for interventions.

This report first provides background on asthma to highlight why this disease is a public health priority in Massachusetts. We then detail the methods and findings of our data analyses.

To find out what toxic chemicals are being used in your community,visit the  TURA data web site and simply enter your zip code.

TURA is a Massachusetts law passed in 1989 to encourage the reduction in amounts of toxics and toxic byproduct used or generated by Massachusetts industries. Examining TURA data can help identify opportunities for reducing exposure to asthma-related chemicals in the workplace and in the community, which may, in turn, help prevent new cases of asthma and/or exacerbations in people who already have the disease.