State study finds distinction with aircraft emissions

Officials referred to the airplanes’ emissions as “ultrafine particle pollution.”

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Communities beneath flight paths at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are exposed to a special type of pollution caused by aircraft emissions, new research from the University of Washington indicates.

The university, in a release, described the study as the first to identify the unique signature of aircraft emissions in the state.

The researchers looked at communities within 10 miles of the airport and noticed a distinction between aircraft and car pollution. They referred to the airplanes’ emissions as “ultrafine particle pollution.”

Edmund Seto, co-principal investigator and associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the university’s School of Public Health, said researchers found communities under the flight paths near the airport “are exposed to higher proportions of smaller-sized, ‘ultra-ultrafine’ pollution particles and over a larger area compared to pollution particles associated with roadways.”

The study did not look at potential health effects associated with exposure, KING-TV reported. But Michael Yost, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, said in the release that the findings create opportunities for follow-up research. Yost also was a co-investigator on the study.

The research was funded by the state Legislature, according to the university release.

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