The Two Sides at Santa Monica: ‘For Aviation’ vs. ‘Against Aviation Lead Pollution’

On July 1st, neighbors of the Santa Monica Airport hope to see a measure of local airport control FINALLY restored. Pilot groups are concerned about this, fearing business jets may have to use nearby airports with longer/safer runways, and maybe even seeing a full closure of the airport [KSMO] to become a park. The pilots feel a need to promote their activity and the survival of their airport, despite the fact that it is the largest source of lead in the local airshed. So, they recently got a reporter to post a nice (some might say ‘fluffy’?) pro-aviation article in the local paper.

The issues at Santa Monica go far beyond toxic lead pollution, but this article and the comments it generated offer a clear insight into just how far apart the parties are. One side completely ignores a serious health impact while doing a ‘rah! rah!’ campaign for aviation; the other side says, ‘wait a minute, you are poisoning our children!’

For the record, the lead is used by the smaller planes and helicopters, particularly those used for flight instruction. The lead is NOT used by the business jets; they are powered by ‘Jet fuel’, which produces a different set of serious air quality problems, including particulates.

Here is a JPEG copy. Check it out, and then be sure to read the reader comments that follow the online article (one is copied below):20150610scp.. Third-graders go plane crazy at Santa Monica Airport (J.Bates, SantaMonicaDailyPress, 1p)

Here is one of the reader comments:

“As a parent, I wish they had disclosed the HEALTH RISKS to our CHILDREN from the visit to the SANTA MONICA AIRORT. Currently, leaded AVGAS (used by the aircraft at this airport) is the largest source of lead air pollution in the US, causing emissions of over 500 tons of lead per year. Recent research has found that children living and going to school near general aviation airports have higher blood lead levels than children living farther away, and studies have linked high childhood lead levels to a host of serious health problems.”

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