Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just How Toxic Is London City Airport?

About 50% more toxic than it should be according to EU limits.
In 2006 the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy published a report entitled: "Dangerous levels of toxic gas detected at most major airports" .The contents of the article are truly shocking, and yet it doesn't seem to have been addressed, to our knowledge, at all.

It found that "Levels of a toxic atmospheric pollutant exceed EU limits at most airports in England,". The most worrying was the indication that: "Over two thirds (16 out of 23) of the airports included in the CSP’s study recorded dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide – a noxious gas that irritates the airways of the lungs and causes breathing difficulties."

The EU says nitrogen dioxide levels need to stay below 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air (mcg/m3) to be safe, the readings at London City Airport were 50 per cent higher than the EU target. And if that were not enough, we can re-visit the issue of Newham having the highest rate of mortality in under 30s in England, and above average levels of asthma and other respiratory diseases:

Respiratory physiotherapists say the consequences of being exposed to the gas can be especially severe among people with existing lung conditions, like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

CSP spokesperson, Professor Grahame Pope, says:
... ‘There’s no doubt that aircraft contribute to the problem, but it should be noted that cars, buses and taxis ferrying passengers to and from these sites are dominant sources of pollution...

So what have the government and Newham done about these dangerous levels which expose EU targets? Nothing it seems, well that is apart from approving a 50% increase in flights, which will further increase nitrogen dioxide. But don't worry, RPS and the airport have said that everything will be ok, and that the pollution is nothing really to worry about!

So that's alright then. If you believe them that is.