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Blog: Winter Sunsets at SMO Can Be Toxic

When visiting SMO, bring along a gas mask.

Santa Monica Airport (SMO) pollutes the air with toxic jet emissions as well as with toxic lead from piston aircraft. Elevated levels have been measured in the downwind community and on the tarmac. The City of Santa Monica is well aware of these studies and well aware of the more than two decades of community complaints regarding the jet fumes.

When jets idle and when they take off they are gross polluters. One can be overcome by the strong kerosene-like odor coming in the open windows and doors of their homes. Jets start their engines in the start-up area and travel approximately 700 yards to the hold line and wait for clearance from the LAX tower to take off, all the while they pollute the downwind  air at and around the airport including the airport's observation decks. Piston aircraft pollute too. Piston aircraft burn leaded gasoline; the same gasoline banned for use in automobiles. Exposure to lead is especially dangerous to children. If you are interested in learning more about the toxic threat from Santa Monica Airport, I urge that you listen to the scientific testimony at:
November, 2011 CA State Senate Select Committee on Air Quality Hearing focused on the airport.

One would think that the City of Santa Monica, a city renown for efforts to be environmentally friendly, would have stepped up to the pro-active plate and demanded that this critical environmental toxic situation be dealt with. How many of us have heard about Santa Monica's efforts to ban smoking cigarettes in areas where cigarette smoke could be unhealthful? Most of us, if not all of us have. Now, how many of us have picked up a paper and read about the City of Santa Monica's efforts to even bring to light the SMO pollution elephant in the room? I haven't , and I have had my eyes and ears wide open for more than fifteen years.

So what does the City go ahead and do that slaps in the face of the community concerns regarding toxic emissions from their airport?

Last week I noticed highlighted on the Santa Monica Airport's website homepage the following:
"Come view the beautiful winter sunsets from the Santa Monica Airport's Observation Decks."

Are you kidding me? Who decides what is appropriate to post on the Santa Monica Airport's website?

Instead of a Prop 65 warning visitors to the observation deck that the air sometimes contains chemicals known to the state to cause cancer and birth defects, they entice unsuspecting people to check out the beautiful sunset from the airport's observation decks. I've been to the observation decks, and they are frequently visited by the very strong odor of jet fumes.  No thank you; I prefer to view beautiful sunsets from places with beautiful or at least acceptable air quality.

Attached to this article are photos that go along with this blog submission.

After reviewing this material and hopefully watching the testimony of the scientists, you can better make an informed decision as to Santa Monica Airport's contribution to Westside air pollution.

I strongly recommend that if you do visit the SMO observation decks, consider bringing gas masks along for each member of your entourage.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michael S February 27, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Please supply links for your studies. A google search does not come up with the California Geo-technical institute, The University of Haifa is in Haifa and no SMO report comes up and the Bureau of air resourses is too vague. There is a study supervised by the UCLA Department of pediatrics. I will post their key findins in the next comment.
Michael S February 27, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Key Findings 1. Airport operations, particularly jet take-offs and landing, are contributing to elevated levels of black carbon in the area surrounding Santa Monica Airport. Elevated exposure to black carbon is associated with:  increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease including asthma, bronchitis, and increased risk for sudden death  irreversible decrease lung function in children  increased carcinogenic risk 2. Elevated levels of ultrafine particles (UFP) are associated with aircraft operations and jet takeoffs and are found in the area surrounding Santa Monica Airport. Elevated exposure to UFPs are associated with:  increased inflammation and blockage of blood vessels in mice models  greater lung inflammation with exposure to UFPs than exposure to larger particulates in rodent models 3. Elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are found in the area surrounding Santa Monica Airport. Exposure to PAH has been associated with:  increased carcinogenic risk  disruption of the hormonal balance in adults.  reproductive abnormalities with exposure during pregnancy  lower IQ scores in children. 4. Levels of noise due to plane and jet take-offs from Santa Monica Airport are above Federal Aviation Airport thresholds. Excessive noise is associated with:  hearing loss.  higher levels of psychological distress  impaired reading comprehension and memory among children.
Michael S February 27, 2013 at 09:07 PM
And here is the link The link is below. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=bureau%20of%20air%20resources%20santa%20monica%20airport&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CD0QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.healthimpactproject.org%2Fresources%2Fdocument%2FSanta-Monica-Airport.pdf&ei=P3IuUYbfCoW7iwLb-oGAAg&usg=AFQjCNFjKASYFsXeSEgMjnX6u5Yl6RvHpQ&bvm=bv.42965579,d.cGEwith
Dan Charney March 04, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Careful Pilot Dave- The developer people will label you 'snarky" - I love the airport and the last thing I want to see its the artists and small craft leave- and one more giant business park and expensive condos be built- I used to do landing with a friend who kept his Mooney 201 there on Catalina- and whenever i want to feel not smothered by what is taking over this city - I got to the Spitfire and just watch it all or walk around the galleries- they will have no idea how much exhaust and misery will come their way with all the cars and traffic the development of SMO will bring- CAVU
natalie mcadams March 28, 2013 at 01:43 PM
By the way Pilot Dave someone was arrested for the nails and it wasn't Mr Rubin so you should be very careful because accusing someone of a crime and in writing is libelous per se and is actionable in court. I used to love hanging out around the airport too until I learned about the toxicity of the fumes and that engaging in that activity was hazardous to my health. I also used to smoke cigarettes over 20 years ago but that too had to go by the wayside due to the health risks. It's time for you airport proponents to get with the times. SMO is a toxic waste dump and it is no longer okay for it to pollute the neighbors regardless of when it was built.

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