Issue Date: May 12, 2008
Limit On Lead In Air To Be Tightened
For the first time in 30 years, EPA has proposed to ratchet down the national air quality standard for lead. On May 1, the agency proposed a new standard of between 0.1 and 0.3 µg of lead per cubic meter of air. The existing standard for the neurotoxic metal is 1.5 µg/m3. EPA says it will consider comments from the public arguing for a new standard as high as 0.5 µg/m3. Meanwhile, EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee recommended in January that the new lead standard be no higher than 0.2 µg/m3. EPA says the phaseout of lead in gasoline has cut the amount of the metal in air by almost 98% since 1980. The agency estimates that currently about 1,300 tons of lead are emitted to the air each year from sources including smelters, iron and steel foundries, and general aviation gasoline. A federal court has given EPA a deadline of Sept. 15 to finalize a new lead-in-air standard.
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