Live near a small airport? Those little planes could be harming your health more than you thought. A new study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found worryingly high levels of air pollution at Santa Monica Airport — which has them calling for larger buffers at urban airports. According to the L.A. Times:

Ultrafine particle emissions were 10 times higher than normal about 300 feet downwind of the runway’s east end, where takeoffs generally start. The levels were 2.5 times higher than normal at a distance of about 2,000 feet.”
While big, commercial airports get the most attention when it comes to air pollution concerns, this study shows that regional and municipal airports can also be major health hazards — especially if they’re in densely populated urban neighborhoods.

The L.A. Times reports that another soon-to-be-published study by the South Coast Air Quality Management District are consistent with the UCLA study’s findings, which you can purchase for $30.

Affected by the Santa Monica Airport pollution? You can join up with fellow community members also concerned about the issue via the Santa Monica Airport Committee of the Mar Vista Community Council or C.R.A.P.P. (Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution). If you’re affected by another smaller airport in your neighborhood, look for a similar community organization near you.

Small airports, big health risks
A new study reveals air pollution is high in smaller airports -- and has researchers calling for bigger buffer zones.