• Congressman wants FAA to study air pollution in communities near major airports

    By: Justin Gray

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Living near an airport like Boston Logan means dealing with the noise, but some lawmakers say living close to an airport could also be making you sick. 

    Congress is now considering a bill that would order the Federal Aviation Administration to study whether the air near airports is dangerous. 

    Washington Congressman Adam Smith's new bill would look at what are called ultra-fine particles or UFPs in the air near airports. 

    "This is an area we actually have very limited information, there is not a ton of research that has gone into looking at this yet."

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    Scientists say ultra-fine particles are hard to measure. There are concerns the UFPs could get into the lungs and cause health problems and that they are found more often by airports. 

    Smith's bill would order the FAA to study what UFP levels are near major airports and look at what health effects they are having on neighbors.

    Smith said in a statement, "A comprehensive national study is vital to understanding the health effects of ultra-fine particles and to what extent airport communities are exposed."

    Gretchen Goldman from the Union of Concerns Scientists studies air pollution. 

    "We can't solve problems we don't understand and these small particles could be wreaking havoc in our bodies, but we need to understand better who are being exposed to them and what those health effects are," said Goldman. 

    One of the few studies that has been done found UFP levels six to eight times normal in the neighborhood around LAX Airport. 

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