ARCO Flight Tracks
Your source for information concerning
events and issues involving O'Hare Airport
Vol. 4, Issue 1
Your Voice Is Heard
How Bad is the Air We Breathe?
On December 17, 1996, ARCO told the Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) just how bad the air, water and ground
pollution is at O’Hare. O’Hare overcrowding grew into a major health
problem. The problem is getting worse with each new flight.
Conservatively, over one million people suffer
because of O’Hare pollution. Heavily polluted areas from O’Hare emissions
begin about 50 miles from the airport. It gets progressively worse as you get
closer. Anyone can check the side of their house. If there is a sticky black
substance, it is probably jet fuel deposits.
Many of the compounds emitted from O’Hare
aircraft emissions cause CANCER. According to a US-EPA study of Midway Airport,
airplane engines alone were responsible for 10.5% of the cancer risks in the
Southwest metro region. With three times the amount of flights and much larger
aircraft at O’Hare, we are at much greater risk.
Other O’Hare-produced toxic pollutants are
highly suspected to cause many other health conditions like birth defects,
respiratory illnesses, liver damage, heart diseases and a host more.
Aviation emissions are transmitted by a spray
that is dispersed overhead, that cannot be filtered out by our lungs. It is
directly transmitted into our blood stream. The mist is sticky, attaches to
vegetation and thus is also ingested.
All interests at O’Hare, including the FAA,
must be responsible to the community. The FAA’s mandates are air safety and
the economic viability of the air transport industry. People’s health is not
of high importance when compared to industry profits.
ARCO told IEPA officials, “By the airlines
filing for separate permit releases, O’Hare is piece-mealing their pollution
permits”, stated ARCO Director Jack Saporito. “It does not show the true
total of all emissions. All facilities including air and ground transportation,
hotels, etc. at O’Hare are part of total entity and the cause of the
pollution. Even the surrounding expressway and arterial congestion must be
included like at other airports.”
Lastly, more flights in an already over-taxed
system just mean more unacceptable pollution. “Enough is enough!”
ARCO Presents NRDC and ACS Views to IEPA
At the December 17, 1996 IEPA meeting, ARCO
also represented the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the American
Cancer Society (ACS). In separate presentations, Director Saporito spoke for the
NRDC, a national, nonprofit environmental organization with more than 300,000
The NRDC urged IEPA to consider the issue of
aggregate emissions from arriving and departing aircraft at O’Hare as part of
its overall strategy to meet Clean Air Act ozone requirements. NRDC’s recent
report, Flying Off Course: Environmental Impacts of America’s Airports,
shows that these emissions create as much regional volatile organic compounds
(VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NO,) as nearby power plants, steel mills, refineries,
or incinerators. By addressing sources such as boilers at airports, and
disregarding the much more significant impact of emissions from aircraft, IEPA
is allowing an untapped niche of pollution reduction to fall through the cracks.
Flying Off Course also contains
recommendations for reducing these emissions at airports. For example, airports
can establish a set of differential landing fees in order to encourage airlines
to use their least-polluting planes.
ARCO’s Medical Director Paula Cowan, MD,
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago spoke on
behalf of the American Cancer Society. The Society supports legislation designed
to reduce the exposure of environmental carcinogens.
The Society believes that all practical steps
must be taken to protect the environment, particularly the air we breathe from
Dr. Cowan pointed out that the young, elderly
and individuals with cardiac and respiratory diseases, and those whose jobs
expose them to additional hazards suffer more than healthy adults. Healthy
adults are at considerable risk of cancer, leukemia, blood disorders,
reproductive hazards as well as eye, sinus and lung problems.
On behalf of ARCO, ACS & NRDC, Directors
Saporito and Dr. Cowan pleaded the following to the IEPA.
- All emissions from O’Hare must be reported
as a single source.
- We have a right to know what all the
emissions are, how many emissions, and how those emissions are harming us
and our family.
- Since O’Hare Airport is the worst polluter
in the state, what is the state of Illinois and the federal government going
Bits and Pieces...
BITS AND PIECES...
-Media Quips and Quotes...
“If these types of life decaying jobs are
what O’Hare expansion supporters are always supporting, I say, ‘Why don’t
you try enjoying life on a respirator and Black-Lung Benefits?’” John S.
Sonin, O’Hare Warehouse worker - Jan. 24, 1997, Letter to ed., Arlington
“Our residents breathe and smell these toxic
pollutants and see its residue coat their homes and cars.” - US Rep. Henry J.
Hyde, Dec. 18, 1996, Chicago Sun-Times.
“We’re very concerned little pieces of
O’Hare are being evaluated without looking at their overall effects on the
community.” - Joe Karaganis, attorney for the Suburban O’Hare Commission,
Dec. 14, 1996, Daily Herald.
“Bad air days are becoming a matter of course
in his community.” - Park Ridge Mayor, Ronald Wietecha, Dec. 26, 1996, Pioneer
“O’Hare is not subjected to the same
scrutiny and does not have to follow the same environmental rules that other
industries must,” ARCO Director Jack Saporito. - Dec. 19, 1996, Arlington
When IEPA officials said the Federal
Government, rather than the IEPA, has control over aircraft emissions; ARCO
medical director Dr. Paula Cowan responded “I can’t believe the law
precludes you from looking at the big picture.” - Dec. 18, 1996, Chicago
“It is amazing and appalling that neither the
state nor the federal EPA has a program to reduce and control O’Hare’s toxic
emissions to health protective levels.” - US Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Dec. 20,
1996, Mt. Prospect Journal.
Here’s the Facts...
- According to the Illinois EPA, O’Hare
Airport is probably THE worst hazardous and toxic emissions-polluter in
- The air that we breathe from O’Hare
produces hundreds of times more cancer risks than a toxic waste dump.
- It is the fifth largest producer of smog
forming gases in the area, which produces serious respiratory illness.
- O’Hare’s activities have significant
impact on global warming as well. Calculations show that aircraft emissions
are responsible for one-half of the atmosphere’s man-made nitrogen oxides
- Concerning O’Hare De-icing fluids, the
ground runoffs flow untreated into surrounding creeks and into our water
supply. Contamination is through ingestion, inhaling, and absorption through
the skin. It is deadly and also causes kidney, liver and central nervous
system damage (est. 1.6 million gal. -1993).
- O’Hare doesn’t have to follow the same
environmental rules that other industries must. As a result, businesses and
private citizens must compensate by being regulated more and paying more.
To put this in perspective, the amount of
pollution produced by a single two minute 747 take-off is equal to operating
over two-million lawnmowers for 20 minutes. That is four states’ worth of
lawnmowers. Or, a single DC-10 takeoff’s pollution is equal to 21,530 cars
driving one mile at 30 M.P.H.
Did You Know?
“One aircraft take-off burns up tens of
thousands of pounds of fuel.”
“A local physicist remarked at a recent town
meeting, that the pollution levels from one 747 take-off is somewhat similar to
burning down the local gas station and flying it overhead.” --CASE,
At the Dec. IEPA meeting, Park Ridge obtained a
commitment for the IEPA to monitor air quality, down-wind. ARCO pointed out to
IEPA, the worst concentration is actually in communities northwest and southwest
of the airport, due to the amount of flights and prevailing winds. (This area
extends well into other counties such as Lake.) IEPA officials requested that
ARCO suggest sites for study.
ARCO suggested that a monitor be located on the
airport property, to protect airport workers. Citing the need for an in depth
study to determine specifications as to the number of monitors and exact
position for others, ARCO requested that IEPA commission a study to either Park
Ridge, or the Suburban O’Hare Commission because they have the resources and,
are the closest and most affected by O’Hare pollution.
Just the Facts... (editorial)
When presented with the facts, major airline
execs are now saying that “We are trying to close O’Hare.” That is absurd!
Does someone smell something fishy? Is someone trying to maneuver again, for
protective legislation to further their profits?
ARCO Needs You!
ARCO needs help in the following fields:
Printer, psychologists, audiologists, researchers and WEB master. 630/415-3370
- Feb. 6, ARCO Meeting, Heritage Park 7:30 PM
- Mar. 6, ARCO Meeting, Heritage Park 7:30 PM
(ARCO meetings -- Heritage Park is located at
Fernandez and Victoria in Arlington Heights, IL)
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member, or recieve our newsletter, call, or write to the address below. Annual
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PO Box 1702
Arlington Heights, IL 60006-1702