East Boston breaths air that is CONTAMINATED

A study reveals that the fuel that the engines of airplanes use when flying, produce and spread ultrafine particles on homes around the Logan Airport and that generates: POLLUTION

By Luis Bravo

The group called Environmental Science and Technology investigates the impacts related to aviation activities on ambient ultrafine particle number concentrations (PNCs) in the exteriors and interiors of the neighborhoods around the Logan Airport.

These investigations are conducted by N. Hudda of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University, located at 200 College Avenue, 204 Anderson Hall, Medford, MA 02155; M.C. Simon, from the Department of Environmental Health, Boston University, located at 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02128; W. Zamore and J.L. Durant from the Somerville Transportation Equity Association, located at 13 Highland Avenue, Suite 3, Somerville, MA 02143.

The investigations of the Environmental Science and Technology group show the following information:

Jet engine exhaust is a major source of ultrafine particles and aviation-related emissions can have an adverse impact on air quality in large areas surrounding airports.

We investigated concentrations of ultrafine particles (PNC) in the interior and exterior of 16 residences located in two study areas in the Boston metropolitan area in search of evidence of impacts related to aviation.

During the winds from the Logan International Airport, that is, the winds of the impact sector, an increase in the exterior and interior PNC was clearly evident in the seven residences in the Chelsea study area (~ 4-5km from the airport) and three out of nine residences in the Boston study area (~ 5-6km from the airport); the average increase during the winds of the impact sector compared to other winds was 1.7 times for both exterior and interior PNC.

In all residences during the impact and other winds sector, the average exterior PNC was 19000 and 10,000 particles / cm3, respectively, and the median interior PNC was 7000 and 4000 particles / cm3, respectively.

In general, our results indicate that outdoor PNC related to aviation infiltrates the interior and results in a significantly higher internal PNC.

Our study provides convincing evidence of the impact of aviation-related emissions on residential exposures.

Further investigation is warranted because these impacts are not expected to be exclusive to Logan Airport.

Exhaust emissions from aircraft engines are an important source of ultrafine particles (UFP, aerodynamic diameter <100 nm) and can cause the increase in concentrations of ground-level particle numbers (PNC) in large areas opposite to the direction of the wind or downwind of the airports.

The spatial extent and magnitude of the impact vary depending on factors including wind direction and speed, track usage pattern and flight activity, but encompass large populations in cities where airports are located near residential areas urban. For example, in Amsterdam, it was found that PNC (a UFP proxy) rose 7kms downwind from Schiphol Airport, while in Los Angeles, it was reported that the PNC rose 18kms downwind from the Los Angeles International Airport.

Therefore, it is important to characterize the UFP related to aviation. Previous studies have shown that the UFP can cross biological borders (entering the circulatory system) due to its extremely small size.

Exposure to UFP is especially worrisome because it is associated with biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and cardiovascular disease.

Recent studies evaluating exposure have begun to test airport variables in predictive models of UFP, but are lacking epidemiological studies that incorporate airports in the exposure assessment; currently, they focus mainly on UFP related to traffic.

To better inform the efforts of UFP exposure assessment, it is also important to distinguish aviation-related contributions from other urban sources and characterize them independently.

This is particularly challenging in urban areas with penetrating and dense road networks. In addition, studies have shown that residing in the vicinity of airports is significantly associated with hospitalization for cardiovascular diseases; however, attention has focused on the association between cardiovascular effects and increased noise at airports, which can be confused by UFP.

In a previous study, we found that during the winds from the direction of the Logan International Airport, the PNC in two long-term central monitoring stations located at 4kms and 7.5kms downwind of the airport were 2 and 1.33 times higher, respectively, compared to the average for all other winds.

In the current study, we investigate residential data-sets from wider areas surrounding these two central sites.

Our main objectives were (1) to investigate short-term residential PNC monitoring data for evidence of aviation-related impacts that could be identified despite the influence of other urban sources of UFP, and (2) analyze data to show infiltration inside the PNC related to aviation.

As far as we know, this is the first study that reports on the impact of aviation-related emissions within residential areas, “summarizes the study”. In future editions, we will continue publishing more results about these investigations to have a better idea of how Logan Airport pollutes the air we are breathing and what we can do to mitigate this serious poisoning.

About El Heraldo Latino (411 Articles)
A monthly bilingual newspaper serving East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Winthrop, and others.

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