Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare Inc.
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July 7, 1999

Letter to Voice of the People
Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

O'Hare, a Continuing Problem

It is outrageous that O'Hare, Chicago, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Congress and the airlines are 1) pushing to jam to much traffic into the airspace, thus reducing the separation between aircraft in the air and 2) continuing to increase the concentration of the numerous hazardous wastes created by the planes burning kerosene based fuel by the increased flights and tighter flight patterns. Yet, Chicago and airline industry, with the support of the FAA is pushing Congress to lift the traffic flight cap that is presently in place to push even more traffic onto the already overburdened runaways and airspace. This is in addition to Chicago already stating that they are going to build 2 more terminals (most likely more to come, but unannounced at this time), to push the total from 4 terminals to 6 terminals.

It almost appears based upon their actions, that they are going to push the traffic up until there is an accident and then claim it is a necessity to build additional runways to handle the increased flights, you know, for "safety."

This statement may sound outlandish at first, but take into consideration that there has never been a health study done at O'Hare and the last environmental impact study released was in 1984, which was performed by the contractor building the addition on O'Hare at the time. This is in spite of the Seattle Washington's King County Airport data which showed (take into consideration it only has 40% of O'Hare's traffic), 1) average life expectancy was 70.4 compared to Seattle's average 76 years, 2) 57% higher heart disease, 3) infant mortality rate 50% higher, 4) 83% higher pregnancy complications, 5) 57% higher asthma rate and 6) 48% higher all causes of death. Other data by the State of Washington Department of Health shows that many cancers are up near another airport and that certain cancers increase the closer one lives to an airport. Yet, another risk analyses by airport workers at Oakland Airport predicts similar incidents of cancers, respiratory and other diseases consistent to the above findings in airport workers. Moreover, The Air Pollution - Chicago O'Hare study, dated 1997, and produced by Paula F. Cowan, M.D. very conservatively reported based on EPA data, at least 25 tons of benzene, approximately 140 tons of formaldehyde and about 25 tons of benzo (a) pyrene and 30 tons of butadienes are generated annually by O'Hare.

The people who are aware of these facts are not saying close O'Hare, only lets cap the current traffic and do a extensive health study to determine what is an acceptable level of traffic based upon a complete and objective health study. Not the truly reckless behavior of the Airlines, Chicago, O'Hare, FAA and Congress who are completely out of control and focused on just increasing the flights and making sure no study gets done (if they were not blocking a study being done, one would have been done). The very people who are ruthlessly putting us and our families at risk, are the very ones put in place and given the publics trust to protect us.

Now is the time to show us just how concerned you really are about the health and warfare of the people who elected you by immediately funding a extensive health study.

Almost just as disturbing is the lack of coverage by the press, newspapers and television because of the fear of losing the airline advertising dollars.

How many parents and children have to suffer unnecessary health problems/die early, resulting in broken homes and hearts before something is done. From a very concerned and sad father.

Alan Martin
Glen Ellyn