A truck trailer was stationed near a runway at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for seven months in 2018.
Exercise bikes and equipment for measuring air pollution were placed inside. Twenty-one safe young people showed up to visit the pedal trailer.
While the young people were exercising, air was fed to them from outside, and their heart and lung functions were tracked by researchers. Could the Covid lock down help save the planet? Sometimes the wind blew from the runways, sometimes the air came from nearby roads, from the countryside, or from the area. The experiment was designed to show whether breathing in the small particles created in large amounts by aircraft engines, less than 20 millionths of a millimeter in diameter, has any effect on health. In traditional air pollution measurements, these are ignored, but there is rising evidence that they can extend hundreds of miles downwind from an airport. For example, as the wind blew from the respective city airports, aviation particles were recently discovered in the city centers of Barcelona, Helsinki, London and Zurich, potentially affecting millions of people. In Schiphol, after inhaling ultrafine particles from aircraft engines, young people had decreased lung capacity and changes in heart rhythm.
In order to evaluate the long-term health effects on people living near airports, more studies are urgently needed.