Los Angeles International Airport is a focal point of air pollution in Los Angeles County, but the emissions from aircraft and motor vehicles do not exceed state and federal standards, according to a groundbreaking study released Tuesday.
The $5.1-million effort -- the first of its kind done at a major commercial airport -- also called attention to the release of ultrafine particles in jet exhaust. The material is a potentially harmful pollutant that could be the next frontier in regulation.
Ultrafine particles are so small they can go deep into the lungs and make their way into the blood stream. There are indications they can affect human health, but the research so far is not conclusive.
The study, which began in 2008, was presented to the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners. It involved 17 monitoring stations, including sites in El Segundo, Lennox, Playa del Rey and Westchester.
"This is a very thorough report,” said Michael Lawson, the commission chairman. “From the looks of it and to an untrained eye, the study got into the weeds and pushed the envelope as far as it could be pushed.”
Although LAX remains a significant source of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin, researchers said the study indicates that efforts by the airport and airlines to reduce emissions have been working.
They added that the study provides a trove of data for future research and satisfies requirements of airport agreements with the community as well as a 2006 court settlement that ended a legal challenge to LAX development plans.