By Denise Seigart
PhD, MS, RN, Wharton Fellow
Resident of East Boise
I believe the current debate regarding the placement of F35s here in Boise is focused on the wrong issue. The noise created by these jets will indeed be intolerable and damaging to physical and mental health, but I believe this is the least of the effects we in the Boise Valley will suffer. The air pollution created by F35s will be far more damaging to the health of our citizens than the noise. According to the 2012 environmental report produced for the Boise area, F-35s can annually release these additional pollutants into the Ada County air:
-1.63 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds
-161.82 tons of Carbon Monoxide
-129.50 tons of Nitrous Oxide
-13.26 tons of Sulfur Dioxide
-3.26 tons of large particulates
-3.16 tons of small particulates
-48,725 tons of carbon dioxide
This will vary of course by the number of planes actually placed in Boise and the numbers of flights, but it is likely the pollution caused will be well above what we experience now based on existing plane traffic. While the environmental impacts are often measured on a regional scale, I think we need to ask what the local effects of these pollutants pouring into the Boise Valley will be.
Given the inversions and wildfire smoke we suffer each year, and given that Idaho in general is ranked one of the States with the poorest air quality in the nation (United Health Foundation; 2015), I find it remarkable that we are being considered at all. Atlantic County, NJ was being considered for placement of F35s, but their poor air quality was partially responsible for their rejection. I believe we can make the same argument here. As noted in a Burlington Vermont report;
“Three key pollutants in jet exhaust that are widely recognized as having a major impact on health, contributing to cancer and respiratory disease, are not addressed in the DEIS: Black carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and ultrafine particles. The UCLA Medical Center study of Santa Monica Airport and EPA study of TF Green Airport in Rhode Island demonstrate the critical significance of local measurement of these pollutants in assessing the impact of airport operations.” (Endangered Health, 2013, p.12)
Boise State recently hosted Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, PhD, as a guest speaker, who also outlined the very damaging effects of these pollutants in the air.
Air pollution complex mixture exposures…. of children and teens in natural settings are characterized by early dysregulated systemic, brain, and intrathecal inflammation; production of potent vasoconstrictors and autoantibodies to key neural proteins; and perturbations in the integrity of the neurovascular unit and the nasal, olfactory, gastrointestinal, and alveolar-capillary barriers. In highly exposed children, the accumulation of misfolded hyperphosphorylated τ, α-synuclein, and β-amyloid coincides with the anatomical distribution observed in the early stages of both Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. (Calderon-Garciduenas, Torres-Jardon, 2015)
Given the poor air quality we often have in Boise, due to the inversions and wildfires (which will likely only increase in the future), I do not believe we can accept any more pollutants into our air. The health of our population, and in particular our children, is at stake. The research connecting damaging health effects with air pollution is vast, and we need to stop sacrificing the health of our communities for financial gain. And for those of you who think only those who live near the airport will be affected, think again, it will depend on how the wind blows, how many wildfires there are, and how many inversions we have. The entire Boise area is at risk.
Say no to F35s, save our children’s lives.
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