Pat McReynoldsAnchor/Reporter, KPHO CBS 5 News
PHOENIXRoxy Lopez looks to the skies of Casa Grande with skepticism and fear.
"Early in the morning, you'll see several jets flying this direction back and forth, up and back. It was plane after plane after plane. It was crazy, right over here in this direction," said Lopez as she pointed to the sky above her backyard.
She was referring to air traffic overhead that leaves familiar white lines in the sky. Most consider them condensed and frozen airplane exhaust, or contrails.
But Lopez and a growing community of people across the country believe they are something more sinister.
"There's a big picture here. There's a really big picture here," said Lopez.
On her website, TheTruthDenied.com
, Lopez claims that all of those white lines are chemicals being sprayed, either by the government or private industry, to try to control the climate.
And, she says, those chemicals are making us sick.
"They are getting colds or respiratory issues that they are now associating with this heavy spraying," said Lopez.
Lopez is not alone. Arizona is a hotbed for chemtrail believers. Former Arizona Sen. Karen Johnson even joined them in an online documentary entitled, "What are they spraying?"
"Why is this happening? Why is this continuing to be allowed all over the United States and all over the world?" said Johnson in the documentary.
CBS 5 News wanted to take a closer look at the data these theorists use.
One local website, ArizonaSkyWatch.com
, lists a table from 2009 supposedly compiled by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
. It shows incredibly high levels of dangerous particles: aluminum, chromium, antimony, arsenic and many more.
CBS 5 News went straight to the source to fact check those numbers.
An ADEQ spokesman told CBS 5 News that all of the numbers were way off and completely false. In some cases, they were 28,000 times the standard results.
Take antimony, for instance. The chemtrail website claims findings of 129 million nanograms per cubic meter.
ADEQ's highest finding during that same time period for antimony was 6.8 nanograms per cubic meter.
Even if the chemtrail report was accurate, there is still no evidence that the dangerous levels were caused by chemicals sprayed from planes.
"I think it's pretty funny. I think some people have seriously too much time on their hands," said Chad Verdaglio, president of Sawyer Aviation, with a chuckle.
He's been flying for nearly 20 years and said he's seen every contrail shape and formation in his years in the sky.
All of them, he said, are easily explained.
"On drier days, you won't see them. That's why here in the Valley, we don't see them as much. But on days with more humidity, that's when you'll see contrails," said Verdaglio.
The EPA states contrails can linger for long periods of time, and depending on winds, can appear to be spreading or falling to the ground. But they never actually do.
Verdaglio said if planes were spraying chemicals in a mass conspiracy, you would see the plumbing on the wings, and someone would have blown the whistle by now.
"Every contrail is just good old-fashioned airplane exhaust, and that's all it is," said Verdaglio.
You'll get the same answer from NASA, NOAA, the FAA, the EPA, and the Air Force. All of these federal agencies say chemtrails are bogus.
But that has done little to slow down the believers.
"I believe that the EPA will turn us on to what they want us to see. Our government is so big, so vast, that the left hand doesn't talk to the right. I'm sure that there are things that the president doesn't know. There's an interest in what's going on up there. What's going on in our skies, What's going on with us," said Lopez.
Chemtrail believers point to patents theyve found listed on federal registries involving aerial chemical spraying. They cite military reports from the 1990s that explored the possibility of manipulating the weather if our climate turned dire.
But U.S. Air Force spokesmen state adamantly that those were just studies, and not only are they not practicing climate control, they don't have the capability to spray the state, the country, and most certainly the globe.
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