More Information on Air Pollution

There are many negative health effects associated with reduced air quality near airports

Here are some of the proven health effects of exposure to ultrafine particles

  • Worsening of lung conditions, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis/emphysema, may contribute to increase in lung cancers and an increase in heart disease and strokes
  • Worrying association with increased childhood leukaemia
  • Increased rate of early death
  • Increased rate of premature births

Here is some more detail about air quality near to airports

Measurements carried out around airports show an increase in airborne particles. These are defined according to their size: ultrafine particles (UFPs) with a diameter of less than 100nm; particulate matter less than 2.5μm in diameter called PM2.5, and less than 10μm called PM10. There are also gases that include ozone (O3), nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxide, and volatile substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

The composition of jet engine exhaust has been shown to be similar to that of car/truck diesel engines, apart from the former having significantly higher levels of UFPs which are particularly harmful to health as they can be inhaled deep into the lungs and are able to pass into the bloodstream.

It should be noted that air quality in the vicinity of airports is not just influenced by the emissions from aircraft engines, but also from other sources such as ground operations, surface access road transport and airport on-site energy generation and heating.

However, the main contributor to air pollution close to airports is the emissions from aircraft.


K Riley et al  (2021)  A Systematic Review of The Impact of Commercial Aircraft Activity on Air Quality Near Airports City Environ Interact. 2021; 11: 10.1016

S.H.L. Yim, et al.  (2015) Global, regional and local health impacts of civil aviation emissions  Environ Res Lett, 10 (2015), Article 034001

Bendtsen KM, Bengtsen E, Saber A, Vogel U (2021). A review of health effects associated with exposure to jet engine emissions in and around airports. Environ. Health 20:10. 10.1186

S.N. Senkayi, M.L. Sattler, N. Rowe, V.C.P. Chen  (2014)  Investigation of an association between childhood leukemia incidences and airports in Texas Atmos Pollut Res, 5, pp. 189-195

Lammers, et al. 2020 Effects of short-term exposures to ultrafine particles near an airport in healthy subjects  Environ Int, 141

Cavallo, et al. (2006) Occupational exposure in airport personnel: characterization and evaluation of genotoxic and oxidative effects  Toxicology, 223, pp. 26-35

Hudda, S.A. Fruin (2016)  International airport impacts to air quality: Size and related properties of large increases in ultrafine particle number concentrations Environ Sci Technol, 50, pp. 3362-3370

Leeds Bradford Airport is big enough already