Planes’ exhaust could be harming communities up to 10 miles from LAX [Los Angeles Times]
High levels of potentially harmful exhaust particles from jets using Los Angeles International Airport have been detected in a broad swath of densely populated communities up to 10 miles east of the runways, a new air quality study reported Thursday.
The research, believed to be the most comprehensive of its type, found that takeoffs and landings at LAX are a major source of ultrafine particles. They are being emitted over a larger area than previously thought, the study states, and in amounts about equal in magnitude to those from a large portion of the county’s freeways.
It further concludes that areas affected by aircraft exhaust at major airports in the U.S. and other parts of the world might have been seriously underestimated.
Building on earlier air quality studies, environmental and preventive medicine experts from USC and the University of Washington found concentrations of the wind-driven particles over a 23-square-mile area that includes cities and unincorporated areas along LAX’s flight paths, including Lennox, El Segundo, Inglewood and parts of Los Angeles.
The findings raise health concerns, researchers say, because the minute particles, which result from the condensation of hot exhaust vapor from cars, diesel trucks and aircraft, have the potential to aggravate heart and lung conditions, including asthma and the development of blocked arteries.
Less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair, they can go deep in the lungs, make their way into the bloodstream and spread to the brain, heart and other critical organs. While emissions of slightly larger exhaust particles are regulated, ultrafines are not.
“This is a very novel and alarming set of results,” said Ralph Delfino, a professor of epidemiology at UC Irvine who studies the health effects of air pollution and reviewed the study. “It’s all very, very surprising.”
Read this article in full here. [Los Angeles Times, 29/05/14]
Cover image: A plane flies overhead as Joe Mejia, 21, left; Derick Montes, 6; and Leonardo Armenia, 14, play in Lennox. A new study has found high levels of potentially harmful particles in communities up to 10 miles east of LAX.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)