Paulson admits that there is little that can be done to reduce pollution near established airports. But planning for new airports should include a buffer area between the airport and homes and businesses, she said.
John Clark III, a researcher in the department of epidemiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that "these smaller particles can have a health effect."
But he acknowledged that many people who live near airports might have few if any options, and creating a buffer zone at existing airports also might not be possible.
In addition, because the exact health effect of this type of pollution is not known, Clark said it's too early to make a case that these airports should be closed or people should be moved to other locations.
Nonetheless, he said, the information should help inform and provide more evidence to residents and public health officials of the extent of the pollution and perhaps spur new research to identify the health risks.
"This study shows that noise pollution may not be the only health hazard of living near an airport," Clark said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more on air pollution.
SOURCES: Suzanne E. Paulson, Ph.D., professor, atmospheric chemistry, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles; John Clark III, Ph.D., researcher, Department of Epidemiology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; Nov. 20, 2009, Environmental Science & Technology, online
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