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New EPA Lead Standard Significantly Improved to Protect Kids' Health
Date:10/16/2008

s chosen lead in Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) as the main indicator and the highest three month rolling average over three years as the form of the standard for monitoring and compliance. Because TSP captures more of the total available lead in the air than the alternative indicator under consideration, Particulate Matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10), it provides greater protection for a given level of the standard.

While lead concentrations in the air have declined, scientific studies have demonstrated that children's neurological development is harmed by much lower levels of lead exposure than previously understood. Low level lead exposure has been clearly linked to loss of IQ in performance testing. Even an average IQ loss of 1-2 points in children has a meaningful impact for the nation as a whole, as it would result in an increase in children classified as mentally challenged, as well as a proportional decrease in the number of children considered "gifted."

Since 1978, regulations and advances in technology have nearly eliminated the use of lead in fuels and paints, resulting in significant decreases in ambient concentrations of lead in air. For many children, lead that is still present in house paints and urban dusts from the time when lead was widely used is the main source of lead exposure. The current standard will only partially address this problem of "legacy" lead; other EPA programs need to address ongoing children's exposure from house paint and urban dusts.

At present, lead smelters, especially the nation's sole primary lead smelter in Jefferson County, Missouri, are the largest sources of lead emissions in communities. Other significant sources include airplane fuels, military installations, mining and metal smelting, iron and steel manufacturing, industrial boilers and process heaters, hazardous waste incineration, and battery manufacture.

Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organizati
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SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund
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