June 5 1999
Juliet Van Eenwyk
Acting State Epidemiologist
Washington State Department of Health
Ms Van Eenwyk;
Concern has been growing nationwide regarding the possible effects of toxic pollutants emitted from airports on adjacent neighborhoods. Neighborhoods near King County and SeaTac International Airports in the Puget Sound Region have expressed considerable concern. Washington Environmental Council shares this concern, which has prompted the Washington Department of Ecology and PSAPCA to request guidance from Region X EPA.
We are pleased that the DOH is conducting studies in the SeaTac area to help determine possible adverse health effects due to airport operations, and is continuing to look at data which may provide more insight into recent findings, such as increases in fatal cancers (throat, mouth, and lung), as well as a higher rate of hospital admission for respiratory disease in the SeaTac area.
We hope that studies will also be conducted, as indicated by the Department of Ecology, in the neighborhoods surrounding King County International Airport, whose projected expansion of operations is of concern to local residents.