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Your Environment. Your Health.

City of Boston Housing Partnership for Environmental Public Health Exploration and Mitigation

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

NIEHS Grant: R21ES017948

Community-Academic Partners
Harvard University School of Public Health: Chensheng Lu, Ph.D.
Boston Housing Authority:

image of cockroach

Families living in Boston Public Housing developments rank widespread insect infestation among their highest concerns. Residents and building supervisors use significant amounts of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides to kill the pests in households and auxiliary buildings. Health concerns related to continued pesticide exposures of residents, particularly children, led the Boston Housing Association to begin implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in some of their neighborhoods. These programs combine sanitation, physical barriers, and, as a last resort, the least harmful pesticides into a program that reduces the pesticide burden on residents and their environment.

Researchers at Harvard University School of Public Health are collaborating with the Boston Public Housing Authority and the Committee for Boston Public Housing to find out if IPM effectively reduces human exposure to pesticides in public housing communities.

Working with the community living in the Bromley Heath development before and after the IPM implementation, the research partners will:

  • Assess community-wide childhood residential exposure to common pesticides in children ages 3-11.
  • Identify and characterize important exposure pathways in children with elevated exposures.
  • Implement the IPM program.
  • Quantify the reduction of pesticide exposure in the housing community as a result of the intervention.

To facilitate wider implementation the IPM program, the partners will widely disseminate outcomes to other Boston Housing Authority community residents. An evaluation will determine whether this collaborative process reached the education and research objectives.

This partnership seeks to quantify the reduction of pesticide exposure as a result of the Boston Public Housing Authority's IPM program.

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