Wednesday, November 09, 2011
EPA: Most Areas Meet Air Quality Standards for Lead
The agency also is identifying three areas located in Tennessee, Arizona and New York as “unclassifiable,” meaning that available information is insufficient to confirm whether or not the areas are meeting the standards. EPA will take further action once additional information is available.
Last year, EPA designated 16 other areas in 11 states as not meeting the standards because their 2007 to 2009 air quality monitoring data showed that their emissions were above the agency’s health-based standards. Based on new air quality monitoring information, and recommendations from Pennsylvania, EPA is expanding the size of one of those areas, Lower Beaver Valley, Pa to ensure that the entire area that exceeds the standard is properly identified.
Areas designated as not meeting the standards will need to develop plans within 18 months and implement them within five years to reduce pollution to meet the lead standards. No areas in Indian Country are being designated nonattainment.
Lead emitted into the air can be inhaled or can be ingested after it settles. Ingestion is the main route of human exposure. Children are the most susceptible because they are more likely to ingest lead, and their bodies are developing rapidly. There is no known safe level of lead in the body.
National average concentrations of lead in the air have dropped 93 percent nationwide since 1980, largely the result of the agency's phase-out of lead in gasoline. Lead in the air comes from a variety of sources, including smelters, iron and steel foundries, and piston-engine aircraft operating on leaded aviation gasoline. (EPA)
More information on the designations