Editor’s note: This article has been updated with information from the report and an embedded copy of the document.
WARWICK, RI — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) and the Warwick legislative delegation have invited the public Feb. 28 to discuss a recently released report on air monitoring at T.F. Green Airport.
According to the report, three sites, Pembroke site (east of airport), Lydick site (northeast of airport), and Field View site (southwest of airport) have increased ultrafine particle (smaller than 0.1 microns), levels due to the presence of the airport.
In 2015, a study by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) demonstrated an association between long-term exposure to ultra-fine particle air pollution and death from heart disease.
The meeting will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Pilgrim Senior Center, 27 Pilgrim Parkway in Warwick. It will be attended by representatives of the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, who will discuss air quality testing around the airport required by the Permanent Air Quality Monitoring Act.
The law calls for long-term air monitoring at four sites located near T.F. Green Airport to determine the impact of air pollutants, which may be harmful to public health on the densely populated, primarily residential area of the city of Warwick that surrounds the airport, according to the announcement of the meeting made by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.
Two years ago, the law was amended to extend the act for an additional two years. It changed the location of air monitoring sites, specifically near the youth playing fields known as Winslow Park, where hundreds of children gather regularly for various sports leagues.
“This law was first passed in order to monitor the air quality around T.F. Green Airport,” said McNamara, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. “The citizens of Warwick have a right to know how air quality is being affected by jet engines taking off and landing at T.F. Green Airport. This report, which includes data since the air monitoring sites were moved to better indicate the air quality at Winslow Park, will be of great use to the people of Warwick who live and play near the airport.”
The Airport Corporation began monitoring for pollutants in early 2008 using procedures and specifications outlined in a work plan developed in consultation with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Health.
“The original playing fields were moved by the Airport Corporation to make room for the new runway extension,” said McCaffrey. “Since jet engines can have a particularly adverse effect on young children, it was imperative that we test the quality of the air at the park that runs adjacent to the runway. I look forward to sharing the conclusions and recommendations of the Department of Health with the people of Warwick.”
A copy of the full report has been embedded below:
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