[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Hello John (Creighton): These comments are my own and not intended in any way to represent the views or opinions of the city of Burien where I am a councilmember.
Nice to see you at the meeting yesterday. Hope this serves as a reminder to send me the current information on bio-fuels.
I’m sending this message on behalf of Flight Pattern Kids who are adults who grew up in the flight path for Sea-Tac Airport. These individuals are all experiencing illnesses which relate back to damage to their cells with onset of immune disease and now cancer. There are hundreds of families and over 1,000 individuals who are sick. The city of Burien publicly declared the week of June 16th 2014 as toxics awareness week in recognition of the high amount of emissions we have in our communities from overflying aircraft, jet fuel odors and soot deposits on property and illnesses as a result of this exposure. We are keenly aware of the burden this community is bearing because of these toxics as I brought up at the meeting yesterday, and becoming more aware each passing day of the real danger of living near an airport.
Studies from California on ultrafine particulate (UFP) http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0529-lax-pollution-20140529-story.html near Santa Monica and LAX airports show how the rate climbs dramatically when measured through a flight path. According to Dr. John Froines at UCLA, this will cause disease. He explained on the enclosed video that we know that diesel exhaust can cause lung cancer and the amount of UFP from aircraft is much greater than that of a diesel engine and the diameter is smaller meaning this particle can lodge deep in the lungs carrying the toxics with it that are then absorbed into the blood stream which then affect lungs, heart and brain.


For children this means permanent damage and for adults, especially the elderly, this is a death sentence. We saw this played out in real numbers of people hospitalized for lung related illnesses in our communities in surveys from 1993-1997, in some cases 50% higher than the rest of King County which already has high statistics. And we saw this from the State Department of Public Health zip code surveys of cancer deaths from 1992=1995 where brain tumors were 75% higher than expected, leukemia, breast, lung, throat, and esophagus cancers were significantly statistically above average expected.
I noted that within the FAR 150 document there were many reports of concern from residents about jet fuel deposits and odors but very little offered as a response from the FAA, Port or consultant who pointed out this is a noise study not an emission study. In one response, it is noted that FAA has tested the soot and found the deposits did not relate to jet combustion. This response is misleading. The only testing done around Sea-Tac over 20 years ago did not thoroughly examine the soot which was in every sample collected, minimum detection level (MDL) was far too high for resident exposure and no signature was established. However, a high rate of benzo(a)pyrene was detected above the MDL on a deck at a residents home in the flight path. This is the kind of chemical known to cause cancer at much lower rates than that found and was ignored in the report. Dr. John Froines points out in the video I’ve enclosed that these deposits need a chemical assay that to his knowledge, has not been done.
Flight Pattern Kids are requesting a meeting with officials in the region set for March of 2015. They would like air regulatory and health professionals, Port officials, FAA, school board, city and state representatives among others to attend. We want to begin a discussion about the impacts to our families and community and what alternatives and solutions are available.
The meeting will be held in Burien and I am hoping you can attend along with other Port commissioners and can you help by suggesting people from FAA to invite.
Thank you,
Debi Wagner

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13 replies on “LETTER: Debi Wagner's letter to Port Commissioner about Airport Toxins”

  1. ” These individuals are all experiencing illnesses which relate back to damage to their cells with onset of immune disease and now cancer.”

  2. I will add that Burien seems to have faired better than the area due North by North East of SeaTac as the primary wind patterns blow that direction on a almost daily basis. If you want a good whiff of jet exhaust take a walk around the large water tank just North of the runway or that general area. I would not eat any fruit or veggies from any garden in that area, or those directly under the flight path. If you live in either of those areas you have my condolences but I bet you bought your home since SeaTac paved it’s first runway in the 30’s so you can’t say you did’nt know there was an Airport nearby.

    1. I think that you need to go back and look at the name: Flight pattern kids. I lived under the jets through no choice of my own.

  3. And the Highline School District wants to build a new school under the flight path? Irresponsible!

  4. The following is typical in regards to our Household Medical Questionnaire. Here is one family’s health history as an example:
    133?? Military Road So. 98168
    4 people in the family 59 year old female reporting.
    You Cancer: Skin
    You Auto-Immune Disease: Thyroid, Migraine, Inter-uterine tumors. Sinus, Colon, cysts.
    1Brother Cancer: Testicular, Skin, Lung (deceased)
    1Brother Auto-Immune Disease: cysts, tumors in his lymph system, HBP (High blood pressure).
    Mother Cancer: Colon
    Mother Auto-Immune Disease: Uterine Tumors, Thyroid, Migraine, HBP, Sjogrens Disease, Arthritis
    Father Cancer: Lung, Skin Father
    Auto-Immune Disease: HBP, cysts, skin
    Nephew Cancer: passed in 1989: Burkitt’s Non Hodgkins Lymphoma
    Grandchild4: cysts, Fibroid tumor
    Total Generations with cancer (3)
    Total people with cancer: (5)
    Types of cancer: (5)
    Total Generations with numerous Auto-Immune Diseases (4)
    Total people with numerous Auto-Immune Diseases: (5)
    You can find our disease cluster maps at this link:

    1. That address is not under the flight path but due North by North East, just like I said the wind blows that direction on a constant basis. Toxic fallout from aircraft approaching or departing SeaTac casts a wide net of destruction obviously, and no good can come of it.

  5. Here is a message I received from one of our group members:
    “”Hi there. I watched the Dr. John Froines video. He is so spot on! What I find so interesting is he is saying things that I have been saying for years that I learned from an esteemed MD back in the early 90’s. That the attached hydrocarbon, toxic, PAH that is on the soot core is the very thing to be most concerned about. And because the ultrafine particle is so small (you can’t even see it and this was talked about by Department of Ecology in 1991) it gets breathed deep into the lungs. But most importantly, these fall down from the engines onto the ground because they have weight and land onto children on playgrounds at Midway, Parkside, etc. for 10 miles from the runway end! Also most interesting is the inflammation in the lungs of the mice. Your symptoms will be like colds, sinus congestion, coughing, allergies, asthma. People will mistake an episode of inhaled toxics for a cold and never know what hit them. Our statistics for children and elderly for lung related hospitalizations from 1993-97 was 50% higher than King County! This is serious stuff. I’m afraid for all of us because our whole city has direct exposure now to all this coming off the runway which sits above us all and blows its emissions right at us every time a plane turns to taxi to the gate. Highline High School and OSC are within a few blocks or right next door to this.
    When I lived in the flight path in Des Moines, both my sons who went to Parkside developed asthma. I worked on the playground as an employee. Three people I worked with had pneumonia one year. I was hospitalized with pneumonia for 3 days and almost died. Little kids I was supervising had constant allergies, nose bleeds, asthma, etc. It makes me want to cry just thinking about it! I moved to Federal Way to the west of the corridor and both my sons got better within six months.
    When I attend these meetings I listen to people talk about wealth, expansion, more cargo, how great all this is for the region. They mentioned Seattle and it hit a nerve. We’re taking all the burden so others can get rich. I do get very upset when we are sick so Seattle can prosper. I pointed out that Seattle is not represented here at the Highline Forum. This group was formed from the cities who are taking the impact for the region. They have lost their focus on why that group exists, it was so we could talk peacefully like the Native Americans to the white man about why it is good to trade our health for someone elses prosperity.

  6. They need to make fuel dumps a mandatory disclosure report to the public. We had a fuel dump shower in our neighborhood one winter night when the air was stagnant, and the vapors remained in the air for a day.

  7. We’ve been noticing (on the West side of 509 near 116th) the Alaska Airlines planes are cutting over heading west over Burien and the White Center areas, this is NOT their normal flight path and has started this year, numerous neighbors have been sending letters of concern to the airport and we have yet to receive a response of the sudden change in flight, only Alaskan does it. We would like to know more about it, if anyone has info please share….

    1. I was told by the airport that the smaller planes were turning early to make way for the larger, faster jets coming behind them.

  8. Good for you Debi Wagner
    I can remember the report presented to CASE (the Anti 3rd Runway group) by medical experts who stated that the incidence of increased brain tumors could not be linked directly to jet airplane exhaust. When she was asked if, since the study was not conclusive, would she raise her children under the runway flight path, she strongly stated “NO”. For decades, the Port of Seattle has only responded to the very real public health issues related to airport operations, when pushed and prodded by community leaders like Debi Wagner. Anyone remember the school jet noise issues and how the Port still avoids taking full responsibility for the negative impacts of jet noise on kid’s ability to learn or on home values? Or when the Port made the property owners in the Highline School District tax ourselves to receive additional funding to pay for the school noise insulation (that was all caused by SeaTac operations)?
    The Port is a bully and if they are not being pushed to do the right thing by the neighborhoods impacted by their business decisions, they have a long history of not doing the right thing.
    Go find an elementary school under the path and sit their during north or south take offs (it changes with the wind). I have many times, and at many schools. There should be moral outrage at the noise our kids are required to accept. One teacher told me “we just stop talking until the jet passes” Did you know that milk cows will stop producing milk at noise levels that our kids must study with, in some schools under the flight path?
    The solution; make the Port Commissioners send their kids to Highline schools under the flight path. Yea, right . . . as if that will ever happen.
    Yeah Debi Wagner. At least someone is concerned about our kids under the flight path and the fact that the Port of Seattle continues to avoid paying the full cost of SeaTac operations.
    Mark Ufkes
    1999 Candidate for the Port of Seattle
    I lost because I could not afford to spend my kid’s college fund to win the race, but I did get the endorsement of the Seattle Weekly and the Stranger.

  9. Flight Pattern Kids is calling for a regional meeting which will include business, government, & the public…. We are tentatively scheduling this for March of 2015.
    The purpose of this regional meeting is two fold, 1st education as to the effects the toxins have on the public, 2nd, to put forth solutions to the health problems arising from the operations of Sea-Tac Airport.
    Gone are the days of discussing whether or not toxins have an effect on the public, our study clearly shows the effect, right down to one’s gene mutations.
    We would like to encourage the pubic to get involved in this regional meeting…
    “Let’s save the children”

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