SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – There are 21 schools and daycares within a mile and a half of Reid Hillview
The airport and for decades planes have taken off and landed just past the jungle field and gymnasium at Meyer Elementary School.
But a new study links airport piston-engine planes using leaded fuel to high levels of lead in the blood of neighboring children.
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“The results of the main study undertaken by the county are tragic,” said Andres Quintero, vice chairman of the board of directors of Alum Rock.
Alum Rock executives are now joining the airport neighbors in shutting down the airport.
“This is a historic mistake that can be fixed with a supervisory board vote to go ahead and close this airport,” Quintero said.
The study, which analyzed blood samples from 17,000 children between 2011 and 2020, showed this quote:
“Children residing within 0.5 mile of Reid-Hillview Airport have significantly higher blood lead levels than children further away” and that “the blood lead levels of the children sampled increase dramatically with monthly amounts of aviation gasoline sold to repair wing operators at the airport. “
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Blood lead levels were comparable to those of the Flint Michigan water crisis children.
“I don’t want any lead in my kids,” said Dora Cano, who has lived near the airport for 50 years. “These planes just fly over our homes all day, dropping lead everywhere, crashing behind my house. I’m sick of it.”
But airport supporters have said leaded fuels are being phased out at Reid-Hillview.
“It would be wrong to assume that we like lead in fuel,” said Walt Gyger, owner of Trade Winds Aviation and is unsure if his business has a future here.
He says the airport is just weeks away from switching to a new unleaded fuel for most planes. But will that be enough to keep the airport open?
“My personal opinion is that this will take away an argument,” Gyger said. “But people who want to close the airport will find other arguments to close it. So I think the war will continue.
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The airport could close no earlier than 2031 under a previous deal with the FAA. Santa Clara County supervisors will discuss the future of the airport and a possible closure at their August 17 meeting.