The Board of Health and the Airport Hazards Advisory Committee plan on working together to educate the public about health issues in town.
At Tuesday night’s Board of Health meeting, members discussed the impacts of asthma and COPD in Winthrop and how particulate matter is connected. New member Dr. Astrid Weins said she intends to take on this issue. She has been in contact with researchers and said a particulate matter test will happen in Winthrop in the next two weeks. There are also concerns about noise pollution and connection to hypertension and hyperactive children.
“I’m coming into this with fresh eyes,” Weins said. “We can improve the standard of living.”
Resident Richard Gill said something has to be done in dealing with the airport and the impact it has on Winthrop in regards to noise and pollution. On the other hand, it was acknowledged that the airport has a tremendous economic impact on the town and the residents who work there.
“What has been done to this town is unconscionable,” Gill said, adding that mitigation money given to the town from MassPort is “blood money.” “We’re getting clobbered with noise, it’s unbearable.”
The Board of Health also heard from public health nurse Deanna Faretra about infectious disease.
Between January and April there were 112 infectious disease cases reported in Winthrop. Of those 80 cases were influenza, 40 of all the cases required follow-up. There have been seven confirmed cases of tuberculosis and all of the individuals are not native to the United States. She has one individual currently who requires medicine to be given by her at 7 a.m. every morning. There are also 10 cases of hepatitis C.
She also announced that both of the CLEAR program recovery coaches will be leaving. One is going back to Maine to be close to family and the other has decided to focus her work on women and children. In the meantime there will still be a drop-in program, and a social worker. Sgt. Sarko Gergerian of the Winthrop Police Department is also a certified recovery coach and is available.