Blog | Congressman Waxman Urges FAA To Remove Lead From Aviation Gas

Several studies have measured enormous amounts of pollution in the residential neighborhoods close to the Santa Monica Airport coming from jet operations

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) urges the Federal Aviation Administration to, "accelerate efforts to reduce lead emissions from general aviation."

In his letter (see attached PDF) Waxman reasonably points out to the FAA why the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee's extended time-frame is, "simply too long, given the certain and serious harms to human health..."

On behalf of the Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, I applaud Congressman Waxman and his staff for sending this very well written letter. The FAA should now follow up on Waxman's recommendations to expand the use of unleaded fuel in a more timely fashion considering how lead affects public health.

I now must ask what is being done at the national level to address the toxic emissions from the jets at Santa Monica Airport that blow over and into the hundreds of downwind homes? Several studies have measured enormous amounts of pollution in the residential neighborhoods coming from jet operations.

I urge Congressman Waxman, Congresswoman Karen Bass, and our California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to make Santa Monica Airport's effects on public health and safety a priority issue.

The Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution believes that the correct way to fully and fairly solve all the issues surrounding Santa Monica Airport  is to close the airport.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jerry Rubin October 24, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Thank you Congressman Waxman! Thanks also to Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP) and the group's founder Martin Rubin!
Pilot Dave October 24, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Jet fuel does not contain lead. On a national level, people who don't want "jet fumes to blow over their houses" should simply not move next to an airport.
natalie mcadams October 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Dave the jets produce toxic fumes which are far worse than the lead from the prop planes. We have suffered enough so that you can just use a smaller closer airport. Ger ready for the wave of change. Thank you Congressman Waxman. If you are interested in letting the FAA know that we have had enough of the lead, then sign my petition at Change.org. Here is the link http://www.change.org/petitions/us-epa-director-of-transportation-air-quality-ban-the-use-of-lead-in-aviation-gas-avgas. And I agree with Marty, now let's figure out how to get rid of the toxins created by the jets! I know let's get rid of the jets b/c the airport was designed to accommodate them and no one should be allowed to poison their neighbors regardless of when they were established. No more SMO!
90064 Resident October 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Fuels that contain LEAD are sold and used for some aircraft in and out of SMO. Fumes in addition to particle contamination pollute the local area including 'blowing over houses', in houses and homes, in people's and animals lungs. Lead causes sickness and should be completely avoided. Check this link for details on how lead poisoning leads to sickness and death: http://www.lead.org.au/fs/fst7.html
Martin Rubin October 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM
BAN LEAD in AVIATION GASOLINE (AVGAS) petition online at: http://home.earthlink.net/~craap/id14.html
Christina Cox October 24, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Question: although jet fuel doesn't contain lead, do other aviation fuels contain lead? Also, just b/c jet fuel doesn't contain lead, can it still contain pollutants?
CTS October 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Pilot Dave - as pithy as your suggestion may be, it fails to recognize the reality of SMO. Take a look at a map and you will see that it affects a MUCH larger area than those who chose to move "next to" the airport. It affects not only my family in Santa Monica, but my brother's family just east of Westwood Blvd as the planes fly in to land RIGHT OVER his back yard (trust me, they come in low), and my friend's family in Venice whose yard is constantly "buzzing" with the engine noise of the flight school planes and my old neighbors in Mar Vista whose yards stink like jet fuel so often that their kids complain about playing in their back yards. So, using your argument, unless people don't mind the noise and pollution they should "choose not to live" in south Santa Monica, Venice, Mar Vista or West LA. Good luck with that.
an interested observer October 25, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I'm also sick of the pollutants from auto traffic. During rush hour 100's of amounts more of toxic fumes are coming from auto traffic which nobody seems to mind. SMO is a tiny fraction of what we all live with. The hypocrisy here is amazing. Your attitude is, "Get rid of the airport since I don't use it....but don't mess with my car which I do use." This is becoming a NIMBY argument, and not in the best interest of solving the pollutant problem we all live with.
natalie mcadams October 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
This is such a silly argument. Basically your argument is "you are already being polluted so just grin and bear it." In the first place, cars have used unleaded gas for decades and by the way, getting the lead out is what this post is about. In the second place, if you have an issue with car pollution than by all means pursue it. The rest of us can pursue what we are passionate about. That does not make us hypocrites. In the third place, we don't have an alternative to cars in the form of mass transportation. Yes some can and do bike and for others with kids or long commutes that is not an option. SMO is not a necessity. There are other alternative airports that serve the same function especially for jet air travel. And there are alternative to leaded fuel. Fourth, if you read any of the research you will see that you are dead wrong. The amount of pollution from jets on take off is much greater than from the freeway. If you want to educate yourself go to www.jetairpollution.com and read the reports. Also when the airport was closed for runway resurfacing the pollutants were measurably lower. Banning lead in prop planes is the same as banning lead in cars. This is not a NIMBY argument, this is a not in anyone's backyard argument. And in the case of SMO, we truly are talking about people's backyards!!! I can't recall the last time a car drove through my backyard polluting but planes fly in overhead countless times a day headed to SMO.
CTS October 25, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Interested Observer -- I'm glad that you too are sick of the pollutants. But I don't understand why you would then be fighting an effort to lessen the amount of pollutants in the air. Your argument seems to be, "There's SO many pollutants, if we can't get ride of ALL it of, let's not get rid of ANY of it." Using that logic, leaf blowers wouldn't be banned. But they are.
Live and let live October 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM
People who make statements like that are incredibly ignorant adn of course a pilot. Firstly we were here BEFORE the jets. SMO was a small municipal airport with a few light aircraft coming and going. That is not the problem, it's the huge jets flinging out massive amounts of pollution over hunrdreds of thousands of people. Do you suggest that half of West LA, Santa Monica and Venice pack up and leave so that some selfish person like yourself can fly SOLO across our homes. A few people are destroting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, are you that much of an idiot or just unbelievably selfish to the extent of "everyone else but yourself"..............moron.
JeanB October 25, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Interested Observer - just FYI, Santa Monica ranks #1 in the state (and probably the country) for the number of hybrid and other low emission vehicles ( see "http://www.environment.ucla.edu/reportcard/article.asp?parentid=2304" ). In other words Santa Monica residents are doing more to reduce auto emissions than anyone else around. There is no hypocrisy to the fact that we want to get rid of the lead pollution from SMO, which by itself more than destroys all the benefits from all the clean cars purchased in Santa Monica and all the surrounding cities. If the people are willing to spend their own money to reduce pollution, we expect our City and those that use the facilities within it to do the same.
GasMeUp October 25, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Corrected: Environmental Group Sues EPA To Get The Lead Out Of Aviation Gasoline http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2012/environmental-group-sues-epa-to-get-the-lead-out-of-aviation-gasoline Please everyone take note of that lawsuit filed this year by EarthJustice. Lead is a "probable carcinogen" (cancer-causing) according to the EPA and the NTP. Let's everyone, including pilots, wake up and take right actions. Signing on the petition CRAAP (Marty) links above could be a good start.
Pilot Dave October 25, 2012 at 10:04 PM
CTS, My argument does recognize the reality of SMO. I happen to like watching planes "coming in low" while trying to land. I also like hearing the "constantly buzzing" sounds the planes make when they fly over my house. That's exactly why I bought a house right near Santa Monica Airport! Unlike you, your family in Santa Monica, brother's family and old neighbors in Mar Vista knew that I would be living next to an airport thus i do not spend all my free time complaining about it. When I bought my house I had to sign a bunch of papers acknowledging the near by airport. There are plenty of places to move to which are not near airports. May I suggest moving to Pitcairn Island. There is no airport there for thousands of miles. I heard your comrades, Martin Rubin and Natalie McAdams are thinking of moving there too!
Pilot Dave October 25, 2012 at 10:09 PM
For the record, www.jetairpollution.com is a bunch of CRAAP!!! There is no actual proven scientific data on the site. The Federal Board of Air Quality Management has done numerous surveys finding that Santa Monica Airport does not pollute in a measurable way. Of course you won't find that on the Crappy website. If it's not the pollution, then it's the noise. If it's not the noise, it's the runway length. Let's face it the real reason these people are complaining is they moved right next to an airport and would like to shut it down so their houses go up in value.
Richard B October 25, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Thanks Henry Waxman ! SMO needs to go ASAP.
GasMeUp October 26, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Back to the topic of lead in avgas that's added to avgas used--not by jets-- but reportedly by most piston aircraft planes and many or most helicopters. The UCLA team a few years ago in their environ. tests around SM Airport took many soll samples and found disturbingly high levels of lead there. This (obviously) potential impact to children's health should be a major concern to ALL of us. Again: including pilots! When, if ever, are we the public going to gather and zero in on this lead additive and demand that it be banned immediately? I wonder why the local schools and parents are not beating the drums loudly at every opportunity to ban lead now?
CTS October 26, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Pilot Dave -- I accept that you "enjoy" the "low flying jets" and the "constant buzzing" noise over your house. It's an odd thing to enjoy, but I do accept it. Hell, some people enjoy Honey Boo Boo, so who am I to judge? I hope though that you can accept that I don't live on Pitcairn Island as you suggest because my kids don't go to school there, my job isn't there, my family isn't there and the commute would be quite the pain. I suppose I could fly in and out, but the locals on Pitcairn probably wouldn't want an airport -- you know, because of all the noise and pollution. And I would further guess that if they put one there - even those that moved in after its construction wouldn't want it there either.
Eat your greens October 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Richard B your going to be my wingman in the expanding of Santa Monica Airport. Henry Taxman can bellow out plumes of black smoke, the airport will never go away. Richard B get ready to fly into the wild blue yonder, the friendly skies await you buddy.
Martin Rubin October 26, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Pilot Dave - You dismiss the studies by the U.S. EPA, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District etc., and site studies done by the Federal Board of Air Quality Management. What would you say if I told you that the agency you site does not exist?
Pilot Dave October 28, 2012 at 04:57 AM
You like Honey Boo Boo? Me too.
Arthur Christopher Schaper October 29, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I urge every voter in the 33rd Congressional District, which takes in the entire Santa Monica Bay from Palos Verdes to Malibu, to remove Congressman Henry Waxman from office. Please visit: waxmanwatch.blogspot.com for more information.


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