Censored Alert: Airports’ Poison Circles

U.S. airports are dangerous areas of pollution and increased cancer risk. A poison circle can extend for six miles around a single runway and is carried downwind 20 miles. Chemicals in the zone include nitrogen oxide, naphthalene, benzene, and formaldehyde, as well as others that harm human health and contribute to global warming.

U.S. airports are dangerous areas of pollution and increased cancer risk. A poison circle can extend for six miles around a single runway and is carried downwind 20 miles. Chemicals in the zone include nitrogen oxide, naphthalene, benzene, and formaldehyde, as well as others that harm human health and contribute to global warming.

Jet planes pollute much more on the ground than in the air. Additional dioxins from spilled jet fuel, diethelyne glycol from de-icing fluids, leaked engine oil, and jet exhaust particles seep into the ground, streams, and creeks boarding airports, endangering the health of downstream communities. Up to 90 percent of the aircraft hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions occur as the planes idle and taxi.

Aviation is the only transport form not regulated in any significant way to reduce environmental impact. In 1998, the Environmental Organization of Copenhagen (EOC) published a report calling airports “environmental bombs” and noting that aviation “seems to be a ‘sacred cow,’ excluded from all legislation to minimize environmental impact and damage.”

President Clinton has just signed the $40 billion Airport Expansion Act (AIR-21). The act funds a 33 percent increase in airport construction and expansion. This will expand the already large circles of pollutants in the air around major airports, causing harm to the health of millions of people as well as the environment. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is supposed to regulate the airline industry, is also charged with promoting this act. Solutions do exist. Towing aircraft to and from terminals, using fuel vapor recovery procedures, and modifying jet fuel could reduce chemicals.

Author: Sharon Skolnick

News Service: Earth Island Journal

URL: http://www.projectcensored.org