Pearl Avenue resident Lois Rosenthal, a person with asthma, is mindful of the air she breathes and for the past six months she had a lot of time studying the issue of construction dust.
“About 10 percent of Winthrop population has asthma,” Rosenthal said.
During this time there have been three major infrastructure projects on her street: the replacement of water pipes, gas pipes and the ongoing work on Winthrop Shore Drive.
What she observed was how construction dust is controlled, what are the barriers to the routine practice of dust control. She hopes the town will join in routine dust control for projects all over.
Tuesday night she came to the Board of Health to share information and get some support for the proposing an ordinance for dust control.
One area of construction she studied was masonry and the dust kicked up when cutting cement sidewalks or driveways. She noted that the best way to solve the issue is the use of water on the cutting blade.
“But there is a lot of resistance. Some workers consider it an imposition,” Rosenthal told the board. She has appeared before the board three times on this issue. “Masonry particulates have been shown through extensive research to cause respiratory problems.”
She said there are cutting machines with water tanks attached to the top, a spray bottle of water can also be used.
“Leadership is required to achieve a level of dust control,’ Rosenthal said, adding that National Grid did talk to her about their work in the neighborhood.
Work on Winthrop Shore Drive by the Department of Conservation and Reservation (DCR) has had spotty dust control during the project.
Rosenthal said she would like to see equipment upgrades, training and a dry cutting ordinance for the town of Winthrop.