Issue Date: November 12, 2007
Tougher Standard For Lead In Air Recommended
To protect children better, EPA should tighten the national standard for lead in the air, agency staff members suggested in a document released earlier this month. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will consider the recommendations when he proposes a new air quality level for the neurotoxic metal in 2008. The staff paper recommends that the agency lower the lead standard from the current 1.5 μg/m3 of air to somewhere between 0.05 μg/m3 and 0.2 μg/m3. The document also says the agency should not eliminate the air quality standard for lead, an action that the Bush Administration has been considering. The recommendations are the first ever made through a new EPA process for revising air quality standards, announced late in 2006, which critics say diminishes the role of agency scientists and boosts the sway of political appointees. EPA is under a federal court order to propose a new lead standard by May 1, 2008, and issue a final version by Sept. 1, 2008.
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