Pollution from idling airplanes can affect the health of people up to 10 miles away. They emit ultrafine particles (smaller than those emitted by cars) which get into our lungs and bodies. Notably, Bradley Airport is more than 10 miles from downtown Hartford, while Tweed is fewer than three miles from downtown New Haven. Bradley's expansion won't have the same impact.
Researchers found that on days that airplanes at LAX idled for longer than usual due to inclement weather conditions, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and other respiratory illnesses increased within a ten mile radius. The top 25% of days with the most idling caused more than $1M / day in additional poor health outcomes -- a typical day also caused millions of dollars' worth of damage.
Tweed plans to expand to 1M passengers per year, about 1/87th the size of LAX. If you live within 10 miles for Tweed, you can expect to be among the population suffering an additional tens of thousands of dollars per day in illness.
In addition to the health risks of exposure to airplane pollution described above, people living within 5 miles from Tweed Airport can expect to see the value of their homes' decrease by 5-10%.
A recent study looking at the announced expansion of the Greensboro/High Point/Winston Salem airport found that housing prices declined 5.7% in the 2.5-4 mile band around the airport, and 9.2% in the 2.5-mile band around the airport.
Households along the coastline should also brace themselves for pollution exposure when they swim. Run-off from de-icing and other airplane maintenance leaks into the ocean, because Tweed is on a wetlands. Until recently, Tweed's use of RoundUp -- even though it was banned in CT -- caused the pesticide to leak into the ocean. Tweed recently announced they'd replaced RoundUp -- with, Alligare Flumigard, another pesticide labeled "highly toxic."
If you don't live in this band, but you do live in New Haven, West Haven, East Haven and Branford, you can expect decreased public spending due to a decline in property taxes due to the expansion.
If you live or spend time this close to Tweed, you are already at greater risk for cancer and other air-quality related illnesses due to prior exposure. That's why the area is a designated an Environmental Justice Community.
Before Tweed's expansion, East Haven residents were three times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma, and New Haven residents were twice as likely, than the state average. We can now expect the data to get much worse.
– Childhood exposure to increased air pollution corresponds to decreased lifetime earnings of more than $1,000/year;
– The grandchildren of women exposed to high air pollution as from airports during pregnancy are less likely to attend college, and have decreased expected income.
-- Piston-engine aircraft at airports like Tweed emit lead as air particulate. A Santa Clara study of their airport (200,000 flights - what Tweed now is, 1/5 of what it will be) found that lead poisoning among children within 0.5 miles were worse than lead poisoning in Flint, MI. Childhood exposure to lead, which falls through the air in particulates from planes is so dangerous that the FDA now agrees that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children. (for more information, read Quartz's thorough expose on airports & lead poisoning here).
-- Airplane noise pollution doesn't just cause annoyance. It is known to impairs cognitive performance; increases the incidence of hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke; decreases academic performance of children by affecting their cognitive skills, such as reading and memory; and decreases standardized academic test scores.
Yes, if you live within one mile from Tweed airport, it's not a surprise you are filling the Tweed hearings, clamoring to make your voices heard.