Impact on Health - Particulate Matter and other Air Pollutants

On average, it takes 1015 kg of kerosene for landing and take-off of an aircraft, which is more than 1 ton of kerosene per LTO (landing/take-off).

Based on the study results of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in May 2012 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic in humans. Kerosene is a diesel fuel which also contains numerous highly toxic and biocidal functionally effective additives (e.g. anti-static agents, anti-oxidants, metal deactivators, corrosion inhibitors, de-icing materials and thermal stability agents).

In particular during take-off, a high number/concentration of ultra-fine particulates is brought into the atmospheric layers most important for humans (between 0 and 1’500 meters). Such combustion processes produce an enormous quantity of highly toxic compounds (benzene, toluene, xylene, nitrosamines, benzopyrene and ultra-fine particles as carrier particles) which the ultra-fine particulates are loaded with. Health effects associated with these particulates may occur after short-term as well as long-term exposure.

Adverse health impacts affect in particular the heart and circulatory system (alteration in the blood vessel structure due to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke etc.), the lungs (e.g. asthma, chronic lung diseases and lung cancer), the immune system (significant higher risk for breast cancer for women) and infant mortality. The more recent the study, the more evident the enormous hazard to health becomes, in particular in case of long-term exposure.

Literature: On the carcinogenic effect of the share of diesel soot in particulate matters see in particular the basic surveys US-EPA 2004, HEI 1999, meta-study by BHATIA et al 1998 and Lipsett and Campleman 1999 in relation to job-related exposure and risk of lung cancer. On this matter, mention should be made of e.g Kardt et al 2005, Air Quality Guidelines WHO 2006, Integrated Science Assessment for Oxides of Nitrogen EPA 2008/USA.