April 13, 2023 • Press Release

GreenRoots to meet with Transportation Secretary Fiandaca & MassDOT Highway Administrator Gulliver following high levels of lead found from paint chips falling from the Tobin Bridge

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Iliana Panameño, GreenRoots
617-875-4350 | IlianaP@greenrootschelsea.org

CHELSEA, MA–GreenRoots members will meet with Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca and MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver on Thursday, April 13th, 2023 to address the community’s public health concerns on recent findings of toxic amounts of lead found from paint chips falling from the Tobin Bridge in the backyards, playgrounds, streets and sidewalks of Chelsea residents.

On March 17th, GreenRoots, the City of Chelsea, Conservation Law Foundation and Boston University School of Public Health sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Fiandanca with copies to several federal, state and municipal leaders after long time GreenRoots member and retired union leader, Tony Hernandez, raised concerns to GreenRoots of potential lead exposure. 

“Lead is a menace to our overall health, especially our children’s health and its deadliest impacts are felt in low-income, Black and brown immigrant communities," said GreenRoots Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni. “In 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency banned lead-based paint. Yet, 45 years later, the State has failed to safely remove all the lead paint from the Tobin Bridge.”

On March 21st, Transportation Secretary Fiandaca and MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gullivar toured the affected area with GreenRoots and City and state officials to witness the breadth of the impacts.  Administrator Gulliver also responded with a letter stating an immediate removal plan would be implemented and that MassDOT is planning a $100 million capital improvement project to address the remaining areas south of the Chelsea curve. Clean up began on March 27th, but the damage has already been done. “These severe health impacts will be endured by our community for decades to come. MassDOT must mitigate the 50 years of life-affecting impacts the Tobin Bridge continues to have on the people of Chelsea now,” said GreenRoots Director of Health Equity & Policy Sara Arman. “Environmental justice communities cannot continue to be dumping grounds for the State.”

GreenRoots members will meet with Transportation Secretary Fiandaca and MassDort State Highway Administrator Gulliver on April 13th for their monthly membership meeting to address concerns and discuss a plan of action for remediation. 

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GreenRoots is a community-based organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the urban environment and public health in East Boston, Chelsea and surrounding communities. We do so through deep community engagement and empowerment, youth leadership and implementation of innovative projects and campaigns.