Environment and Infrastructure in Massachusetts
How can a community's environment create well-being? It has to do with whether streets are designed to be safe and enjoyable for those who are walking or biking. It is about the air and water being safe to breathe and drink. It is about having infrastructure like broadband internet to connect people to opportunities. It has to do with the way places and conditions are designed to promote the health and well-being of its residents. It is also about whether there are structures and policies in place, historical or current, that means that people in some neighborhoods may not have a fair chance to thrive.
How often do Massachusetts's counties have dangerous air pollution?
What this measures: percent of days with levels of PM2.5 pollution above regulatory standard. PM2.5 pollution is air pollution made of particles less than 2.5 micrometers in width. Sources of PM2.5 pollution include fuel-burning vehicles and power plants. Forest fires also produce PM2.5 pollution.
Why this matters: This type of pollution is extremely dangerous. PM2.5 particles are so small that they can travel deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream. It raises the risk of health conditions like heart attacks, asthma, allergies, and lung infections. Older adults, infants, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing health conditions are especially at risk of experiencing health problems from air pollution.
What this relates to: Health.
Data source: CDC, National Environment Public Health Tracking Network. The data is based on a combination of measured and modeled estimates, which give a fuller picture of pollution levels than monitors only. More information on regulatory standards for particulate pollution can be found on the EPA.
Other Interesting Measures
• Number of days per year air was rated unhealthy for ozone (#). Source: CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking Network.
• Relative disparity in pollution exposure, index ranges 0-100, with 100 being more disparity; includes white vs. Hispanic, black & other. Source: EPA.
• Percent of population covered by comprehensive smoke-free indoor air laws by state. Source: CDC State System & Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Survey.
• Presence of lead levels above safe limits in drinking water (0 = no presence, 1= presence). Source: EPA.
• Percent of population with access to internet with speeds of 25 Mbps+. Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
• Households with Internet access: % population access to internet with speeds of 25 Mbps+. Source: FCC.
• Percent of population within 0.5 mile of walkable destinations. Source: EPA.
• Distressed Communities Index (0-100). Source: Economic Innovation Group.
• Area Deprivation Index (0-10). Source: Health Innovation Program.
• Number of liquor stores per population or Census Tract. Source: To be developed.