A Washington-based law firm is bringing a class action lawsuit against the Port of Seattle, as well as Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines, alleging that 300,000 people are living in a five-mile radius ‘Contamination Zone’ around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Attorneys from Hagens Berman claim that levels of cancer, heart disease and chronic lower respiratory disease are significantly higher within the so-called Contamination Zone and that 60,000 children have “likely been exposed to unhealthy levels of toxic substances including lead and carbon monoxide”.
The case has been filed on behalf of Cindy Codoni and Michelle Geer, two local residents who fear that they are being put at increased of disease due to increased levels of pollutants around the airport.
Codoni says her home is almost permanently covered in a layer of black dust that she puts down to pollution from airplane flying to and from SeaTac. “This dust accumulates so quickly that Ms. Codoni regularly needs to wipe it off her car before driving,” the amended complaints reads.
The longtime Seattle veteran says trees around her property have withered and died and that she has given up gardening outside over fears that she might be exposed to pollution.
Ms Codoni’s mother and father, as well as a brother and sister, were all diagnosed with different forms of cancer while living within the ‘Contamination Zone’. She is currently in remission from cervical cancer and suffers from a range of serious illnesses, including COPD.
The lawsuit cites a 2019 study by the University of Washington’s Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Department which found there were “significant levels of ultrafine particulate matter” under the SeaTac flight paths.
Lawyers claim these particles could cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems. The law firm also claims that “airport operations are the only plausible explanation for the unique pollutants observed in the area surrounding the airport”.
The lawsuit alleges that the Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines and Delta knew about the pollution but ignored “the pleas of area residents to stop contaminating their neighborhoods and making people sick”.
The 47-page complaint seeks a court order declaring Alaska Airlines and Delta as being negligent in their operations at SeaTac “by engaging in activity that increases the risk of disease and death” among people living in the Contamination Zone.
The lawsuit calls for injunctive relief and damages against the Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.