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Testimony to the US-EPA Testimony of Jack Saporito to the US-EPA on behalf of US-Citizens Aviation Watch Association and the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare regarding Lowering Reporting Thresholds for Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins and Amendments to Proposed Addition of Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds Categories; Toxic Chemical Release Reporting and The Community Right to Know: (docket #400132)

February 23, 1999

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the EPA's proposal to lower the reporting thresholds for persistant bioaccumulative toxins. We support the proposal and once again ask that airports and aircraft operations be required to report their emissions.

I am Jack Saporito from the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare (AReCO) and US-Citizens Aviation Watch Association, a national organization of over one million members. We are very concerned about what effects these toxins have on perhaps over one-hundred million Americans because of airports and aircraft operations.

Airports and aircraft operations produce massive amounts of air, water and ground pollution, much of it a byproduct of different processes; solar, atmospheric, synergistic and decomposing effects.

In Chicago, it is estimated that over three million people's health are affected by just one airport's operations, O'Hare. We have four major airports in the Chicagoland region, over 3,000 airports in the National Aviation System, 22,000 including grass strips.

Airports are major hazardous and toxic polluters. Thus, O'Hare is the worst polluter in Illinois, emitting hundreds of tons of carcinogens annually. Unlike cars and trucks, airports and aircraft have different dynamics, under different conditions, at different altitudes. Unlike ground traffic, much of the emissions are released over our heads. For example: One 747 take-off can burn tens of thousands of pounds of fuel. That is akin to setting your local gas station on fire and flying it over your head.

Because of data we have from Washington state, we know the following about people who live and work even many miles from an airport:

* Children have twice the respiratory disease hospitalization rates.

* 48% higher death rate

* 57% higher heart disease

* 83% higher pregnancy complication rate

* 57% higher asthma rate

* 50% higher infant mortality rate

* an average life expectancy of seven years less than those living in the City of Seattle proper.

We also know that all cancers are up significantly and certain cancers increase the closer one lives or works to an airport and/or flight track.

Yet, all of this goes unreported to those living and working even many miles from an airport, even though they and their families are seriously affected. ...And the situation is expected to get much worse, since it is predicted that flights will double within the next 10-12 years.

People have a right to know that they and their family's health are being severely compromised by the emissions from the airport and the aircraft flying overhead.

Airports and aircraft need to be required to report their emissions. The thresholds for PBT's, dioxin, and lead, as well as PAH's need to be reported and limits lowered so that we can protect our children.

Thank you.