This is a response to Tammy Scileppi’s article “Students at PS 244 always eat their broccoli.”
Introducing vegetarian meals to young children is a positive step to promote healthy eating habits and prevent diseases later in life. While trying to build a healthy future for children, damage produced by environmental pollution should not be overlooked.
It is worrisome that parents, educators, government institutions and the media are ignoring deleterious effects of sustained pollution on our children in the city.
In 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority, with the blessing of some politicians, changed the airspace design over the city in order to accommodate a staggering increase in departures and arrivals to and from LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports to save fuel and increase revenue for airline companies and the PA and increase Manhattan tourism.
This was done without a proper environmental study.
As a result, city residents are subjected to constant noise and air pollution from low-flying airplanes.
The detrimental effect of noise on humans, especially children, is well-documented.
Flushing residents close to PS 244 have noise monitors on the roofs of their buildings, and readings, which can be tracked on the Web, have been as high as 95 decibels and frequently in the 80-decibel range.
According to the World Health Organization, permissible levels are below 65 decibels. Strong and sustained noise causes hearing and developmental impairments in children.
Particulate pollution from thousands of planes flying low every day over densely populated areas have negative effects on humans of all ages, but mostly young children.
Particles from jet exhaust resembling anthrax in size are inhaled, transported via the bloodstream and deposited in tissues. Carcinogenic effects have been demonstrated by exposure to such particles as well as respiratory diseases and cardiovascular conditions, to which children are more susceptible and will experience later in life.
Vegetable lunches will do nothing to counteract the negative impact of such pollution on our children’s health.
City residents should be aware of FAA and PA plans to further increase the air traffic above the city in 2015-16. All these changes are without environmental studies and supported by laws passed by politicians.
Dana Gidea, M.D.