Sept. 10--In Hillsboro, meetings about the Port of Portland's Hillsboro Airport inevitably include passionate testimony from community members.
Much of the testimony centers on pollution, of both the noise and air variety.
It's a well-documented issue that The Oregonian has covered previously.
OnEarth Magazine, a New York based quarterly magazine published by the National Resources Defense Council, used Hillsboro Airport as a test case in an extensive piece published last week.
Michael Behar, a contributing editor at the magazine, took a deep dive into some of the major issues surrounding the airport, those same issues that percolate at the Hillsboro Airport Roundtable Exchange meetings.
Primarily, what is the effect of leaded gasoline, and what can the industry do to phase out the stuff?
Behar hits a lot of topics, and quotes some familiar area airport detractors in the piece (Oregon Aviation Watch's Miki Barnes and Dr. Jim Lubischer).
It's a more than 4,000-word piece and worth a read. Here's a passage:
"In children, lead can damage the central nervous system, resulting in learning disabilities, stunted growth, and hearing loss, as well as cause anemia. Recent findings indicate that children who are repeatedly exposed exhibit violent behavior in later life. Adults may be at risk of kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, miscarriages, and premature births.
Even at infinitesimal levels in the blood, lead has been linked to ADHD. Kittleson's 8-year-old son has been diagnosed with the disorder; she now suspects her 4-year-old daughter might be showing symptoms too. Valorie Snider, who lives nearby, also has a son with ADHD. "Airplanes circle over the top of our house," she told me over coffee at a Starbucks across the road from the airport. 'The windows rattle. Sometimes it feels like an earthquake.'
Both families have the same pediatrician, James Lubischer. 'I never knew how much [lead] would impact us until Dr. Lubischer told me,' Snider said. She herself has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's disease (a thyroid disorder), and adrenal fatigue. She wonders if the lead has anything to do with these ailments.
Lubischer told me later that he lives right under the flight-training path, and that his daughter, too, has ADHD. He acknowledges that it's challenging to prove a direct connection to lead in a specific instance--much like a case of lung cancer in an individual smoker. While an inordinate number of residents I met in Hillsboro have health problems, the evidence is anecdotal, and there have been no longitudinal studies tracking illness in populations close to these "general aviation" airports (a term that covers nearly all types of flight activity except scheduled commercial passenger service)."
-- Andrew Theen
Copyright 2013 - The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.
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