EPA SLASHING LEAD ALLOWANCE IN AIR BY 90%
Finally, in the waning months of the Bush Administration, the EPA is slashing the amount of lead allowed in the nation’s air by 90 percent. Has the Environmental Protection Agency suddenly turned environmental?
Well, actually, they were under a federal court order to set a new health standard for lead by midnight Wednesday, so they had no choice.
Exposure to even low levels of lead early in life can affect learning, IQ and memory. Under this new regulation, the first lead update in thirty years (yes 30 years!), the new limit for airborne lead has been reduced by tenfold, to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter; the current standard, which was 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter.
The new standard would require the 16,000 remaining sources of lead, including smelters, metal mines, and waste incinerators, to reduce their emissions.
According to many environmentalists, the key to this program is the monitoring of these sites. “We commend EPA for taking a giant step in the right direction, but they need to greatly expand the lead monitoring network if they hope to enforce this standard,” said Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist with the Natural Resource Defense Council.
This is a positive step and one that we can hopefully see with a new administration.