From: Click Green Staff, ClickGreen, More from this Affiliate
Published May 30, 2014 07:44 AM

Airport pollution worse than the freeways in LA?

A new study has found that heavy airplane traffic contributes to even more pollution to the skies above Los Angeles than the city’s congested freeways.

And the research results, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed the effect continues for up to 10 miles away.


The findings have serious implications for the health of residents near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and other airports around the world as scientists found particle pollution affects neighborhoods up to 10 miles east of the airport.

Scott Fruin, D.Env. P.E., Neelakshi Hudda and colleagues note that past research has measured pollution from air traffic before, but most of these studies only sampled air within a couple of miles, at most, from airports. Not surprisingly, these analyses have found higher levels of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and small (ultrafine) particles less than 0.1 micron (about one-thousandth of the width of a human hair), that scientists attributed to airplane emissions.

This added pollution is potentially a major public health issue. Ultrafine particles, which form from condensation of hot exhaust vapours, are of particular concern because they deposit deeply into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream.

The oxidative stress and resulting inflammation appear to play a role in the development of atherosclerosis (blocked arteries) and can make other health conditions worse, especially for people with existing cardiac or lung conditions including asthma.

Photo of airplanes waiting to take off via Shutterstock.

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