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Food & Health : Agri. & Environ. Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

EPA: Lead in the air needs to be 10 times lower!
By Jimmy Downs
Oct 19, 2008 - 5:06:48 PM

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Sunday October 19, 2008 ( -- The U.S Environmental Protection Agency announced on Oct 16, 2008 that it has set a new air quality standard for lead at 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter of air 9ug/m3 - ten times lower than the previous standard 1.5 ug/m3 set in 1978.

The EPA came to the decision after its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee reviewed more than 6,000 studies conducted since 1990 and recommended the new standard.

The agency allows certain areas to be cleaned by taking additional measures to reduce air emissions to meet the new standard as later as October 2001. An estimated 1,300 tons of lead are released into the air each year in the US.

Lead inhaled or ingested after settling out of the air can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream and affect many organs including children's developing nervous systems. Studies show exposure to even low levels of lead can damage children's development including causing loss in IQ.

Lead pollution comes from a variety of sources including smelters, iron, and steel foundries and general aviation gasoline, the EPA said in its statement . The new standard would affect the industry that releases lead most.

Robert N. Steinwurtzel, a lawyer for the Association of Battery Recyclers presenting six companies that disassemble and recycle as many as 115 million car batteries each year was cited by the New York Times as saying the new standard threatens the viability of the lead recycling industry.

The trade organization officials earlier this month lobbied the White House for a less stringent standard.

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