Study of large urban airports finds poor air quality spreads as far as 10 miles, highlighting need for effective air filtration in airport terminals and nearby buildings
When people talk about the need for air filtration, they often overlook airports as being one of the biggest sources of air pollution in major cities.
A recent study has shed light on the reasons why airports have increasingly become sites that pose health risks not only to people who are traveling, and people who are picking up travelers, but to surrounding communities.
Airport Pollution Impact Zone
The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and published in the journal, Environmental Science & Technology, found that airport pollution spreads out much further than experts had believed.
Previous studies that included air sampling tests had found that partulate matter generated from airplanes, spread out no more than two or three miles away from an airport.
But in this new study, an analysis of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) found that airport pollution was measurable as far as 10 miles away.
And to ensure the greatest accuracy, researchers took the air samples during LAX’s busiest hours, when as many as 60 jets land or take-off every hour.
The results showed that particle-matter levels within that 10-mile radius were twice as high as in areas that were outside of that radius.
More troubling, the pollution generated at an airport is equal to or greater than the pollution created by miles of freeway traffic, which is startling, considering how much smaller airports are than a typical highway in a major city.
The study concluded that LAX was one of the largest sources of air pollution in the city, which is certainly alarming.
The implications are dire, because many airports in urban areas are near residential and commercial areas that are densely populated. In fact, the study cautioned that millions of civilians living in areas that are near an airport are exposed to more poor quality air when they are walking outside, driving on streets and roads, or simply living in their residences.
Types of Pollution
The most common types of air pollution at airports are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and a number of other toxic contaminants that are caused by the exhaust generated by hundreds of airplanes every day.
These particles – many of which are microscopic – pose a health risk, because they can penetrate into a person’s lungs and chest, and lead to breathing disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other illnesses related to our breathing system.
This threat was made clear by a recent study conducted in Massachusetts, which found that children who lived near Logan International Airport in Boston, had a four times higher likelihood of developing asthma than children who lived further away.
The study also found that adults who lived in residential areas that were near an airport were more likely to develop COPD than adults who lived further away. While the study pointed out that there was no direct causality between people who lived near airports and respiratory illnesses, there was a strong association between airport pollution and adverse health.
Commercial Filtration Solution
With the air outside airports being so toxic, the need for air filtration systems inside airport terminals has never been greater.
The air inside an airport terminal is drawn from the outside, and without effective filtration of particulates and gaseous pollutants, passengers and visitors will inhale contaminants that can lead to a variety of respiratory illnesses.
And the air quality outside airports in under-developed parts of the world is even worse, robbing people who live in these areas of the opportunity to breathe clean air, which should be a human right for every single person.
Camfil Provides Answers
For more than 50 years, Camfil has been at the forefront of airport air filtration technology that can filter and remove the tiniest particles, as well as gases and noxious odors. Camfil’s state-of-the-art filters are constantly being upgraded to provide the most efficient filtration available anywhere in the world.
Camfil’s philosophy is simple: Everyone deserves to breathe clean air. As an industry leader in the most advanced air filtration technology, Camfil is dedicated to providing air filter products that can improve the quality of the air everyone breathes.
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