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Massachusetts has historically been a leader in environmental health protection; adoption of the innovative Toxics Use Reduction Act in 1989 has helped manufacturers and businesses reduce their use and release of toxic chemicals, thereby protecting the environment and health of workers and neighbors. On the mercury front, pollution and emission efforts over the past 15 years have seen a steady drop in mercury levels in freshwater fish. Massachusetts has acted as an “incubator state” for the green chemistry movement, but alarming health data indicate room for improvement. The state leads a strong push for breast cancer research and prevention, due to a shocking statistic that it has the highest incidence rate in the country. Pediatric health is also of concern, as 2009 data indicate that Massachusetts has childhood cancer and asthma rates that are greater than the national average.

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