To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, February 3, 2014

Los Angeles City Council committee asks LAX to study ultrafine air pollution


By Brian Sumers, July 28, 2014

Los Angeles officials moved Tuesday to consider steps to reduce tiny pollutants produced by jets and vehicles at LAX even though the particulates — called ultrafine particles — are not yet regulated by the state or federal governments.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Los Angeles International Airport, led the charge at a meeting of the council’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee. He called the meeting to grill airport executives on results of an environmental study released in June that found most pollutants near LAX fall within California and national standards. But that report also showed there were higher-than-expected levels of ultrafine particulates, or the smallest pollutants produced by automobile and jet engines.

Scientists have only recently been able to accurately measure ultrafine particles and airport officials say there are no conclusive studies on whether and how they cause harm to people. But Bonin said he wants the city to err on the side of caution. He noted that some studies suggest the ultrafine particles might cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

“If I were a parent in Lennox right now, I’d be concerned about this study,” Bonin said. “I know there is not conclusive evidence about the health impacts of UFPs — so we can easily say, ‘Well OK, we don’t have anything to worry about, there are no federal regulations.’ There are going to be findings eventually and there is going to be stuff we are going to need to do about this, I want us to start thinking now.”

Specifically Bonin wants the city to lobby state and federal politicians to support legislation that would establish safe levels for the particulates. He also wants the airport to consider a long-term study of employees who work on the airfield to determine if they face any unusual health problems. As a third matter, Bonin wants LAX to learn what other airports are doing with respect to monitoring the smallest particulates.

“Let’s find out what everyone else is doing and let’s be the best,” Bonin said. “Let’s be ahead of the game.”

Mike Feldman, deputy executive director for facilities management at Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, said the problem of ultrafine particulates at airports might be a relatively recent phenomenon.

“What’s very interesting about ultrafine particles is that they seem to be a by-product of efficiency,” Feldman said. “The more efficient engines have become, it seems as though the more ultrafine particles are produced because there is a greater burn of the actual fuel.”

The study, which used 17 collection stations, found acceptable levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and fine particulate matter, airport officials said. Collections were taken at the airport as well as at locations in Hawthorne, El Segundo, Lennox and Westchester. The study was required as part of a legal settlement the airport reached with neighboring communities in 2006.

Rachel Kesting, who lives near the airport, told the committee she is particularly concerned about ultrafine particles. She said she believes living near the airport has negatively affected her health.

“I cannot exercise outside in my neighborhood and suffer respiratory issues, including asthma and increased risk for respiratory infections,” she said.