Environmental Concerns

The following issues are provided for descriptive and informational purposes.  For detailed information click on the links and consult the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for appropriate agency.

Flood Zone

A lender may require a Flood Hazard insurance as a condition of the mortgage loan.  If the lender determines that the property is in a flood hazard zone.  In the event of such determination, buyer agrees to provide said insurance as a requirement by the lender at closing.  There are companies available to you and the lender who determine whether the subject property is in a Flood Zone as determined by the army corps of engineers.


Pesticide products containing chlordane were banned in Massachusetts on June 11, 1985 following a determination by the Department of Food and Agriculture that the use of chlordane may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, including a risk of cancer.  Although existing data does not conclusively prove that significant health effects have occurred as a direct result of chlordane use, the long term potential heath risks are such that it is prudent public health policy, according to the Department of Food and Agriculture, to eliminate the further introduction of chlordane into the environment.

Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation

UFFI has been declared to be a hazardous substance and that installation of UFFI in dwellings is now prohibited.  Exposure to hazardous levels of formaldehyde may cause personal injuries, including headaches, nausea or cancer. 


The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has maintained that asbestos materials are hazardous if they release separate fibers which can be inhaled.  Asbestos is a common insulation material on heating pipes, boilers and furnaces. It may also be present in certain types of floor and ceiling materials, shingles, plaster products and other building materials.  Removal of this material should be accomplished in accordance with proper safety guidelines.

Hazardous Materials/Underground Storage Tanks

In certain circumstances, Massachusetts law can hold an owner of real estate liable to pay for the cost of removing hazardous materials of oils from real estate, and for damages resulting from the release of such materials, according to the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release and Response Act, General Laws, Chapter 21E. 

Radon Gas

Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring radioactive material such as uranium and radium.  Radon decays into radioactive particles which, if inhaled, may result in damage of lung tissue and increase the risk of developing lung cancer.  The presence of radon gas in dwelling units depends on a variety of factors, including the physical make-up of the soil and the construction of the dwelling.  Environmental Protection Agency suggests that levels of radon gas, if greater than four pico curies per liter (pci/l), should be reduced through a mitigation process.   Higher than recommended level or radon warrant further measurements to determine the average annual exposure to radon within a particular dwelling,

Lead Paint

Massachusetts law requires that, whenever a child under six years of age resides in any residential premises in which pain, plaster, soil or other accessible material contains dangerous levels of lead, the owner must remove or cover the material to make it inaccessible to the child.  For residential real estate constructed before 1978, seller and broker are required to provide the buyer with the standard notification form and other materials published by the DPH to inform prospective purchasers about the possible presence of dangerous levels of lead, the symptoms and treatment of lead poisoning, and the requirements of the lead paint law and regulations, receipt of which, if applicable, is acknowledged by the buyer.  A home buyer with young children, or planning to have children should consult with a pediatrician regarding lead paint concerns.  Click here for a list of licensed contractors for lead removal.

Watershed Protection Act

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 92, Section 104, enacted to protect the Metropolitan Water Supply, restricts building and certain other activities within sensitive areas of the Quabbin, Wachusett and Ware watersheds.  To determine whether the property may be affected by this law you may contact the Division of Watershed Management of the Metropolitan District Commission


Electromagnetic Field

To begin you will need to download GoogleEarth™, the free satellite imagery and mapping program ( click here to download ). Follow the on-screen setup instructions provided by Google. Once installed, you will be able to open any of the Keyhole Markup Language files (KML files) in this program to view the highlighted sites and related information.

After installing GoogleEarth™, you may open and explore the following information.

KML File Waste Sites/Reportable Releases (RTN) Database (KML)
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection - More Info...
KML File Underground Storage Tank (UST) Registry (KML)
Massachusetts Department of Fire Services - More Info...


If any of the above issues concern you, do more research.  Become an educated consumer before you begin the home buying process so that you are better equipped with issues that could come up when you locate your dream home.