EPA moves to protect kids from lead


“For the first time since 1978, the EPA revised the national air ambient quality standard for lead air pollution, a toxin threatening the health of millions of children and adults. The revised standard of 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter is consistent with the advice of EPA scientific advisers and the public health community and is a big step forward toward protecting children’s health”, according to experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).child-paint1

Following is a statement from Dr. Gina Solomon, senior scientist with NRDC’s health program has said “The EPA has followed the advice of its own advisers and public health advocates to set a more stringent standard for airborne lead. However, this administration has dismantled half of the air monitoring stations across the country. With less than 200 air lead monitors nationwide, scientists don’t even know how much lead is in the air in most communities. Now that the EPA has recognized the severity of lead exposure, it must rebuild the monitoring network. Furthermore, EPA must place air monitors at the locations where they matter most – downwind of the big polluters. EPA’s plan for only 236 new or relocated monitors is not adequate to detect problems, since there are thousands of serious lead polluters nationwide.

“I am disappointed that EPA will allow averaging of lead exposures over a three-month period. That means that large but brief ‘spikes’ of lead emissions from smelters and other polluters could contaminate the soil of playgrounds and backyards even in some areas that are in attainment of the new standard.”

Excerpts from http://www.nrdc.org/media/2008/081016.asp


Image courtesy of Wikipedia encyclopedia.webarchive

“The insidious symptoms of slow lead poisoning

impaired intellect, memory loss, mood swings, infertility, nerve, joint and muscle disorders, cardiovascular, skeletal, kidney and renal problems and possibly cancer were not fully recognized until the late 20th century.

In 1973, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began phasing out leaded gasoline, a process that was to drag on until 1996. Lead was banned in household paint in 1978. As a result, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, lead levels in the blood of American children have dropped by 86 percent since the late 1970s.
Still, research by the Environmental Working Group has continued to uncover lead hazards, especially to the most vulnerable members of society. In 2000, an EWG analysis found that about 212,000 one-to-five-year-olds in California had harmful blood lead levels between 1992 and1998, but the state had identified only 14, 900 of those children. A 2004 EWG study in Ohio found that 19,000 under age six had unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Less than one-third of them had been reported to state health authorities, primarily because they had not been tested.

Environmental Working Group (EWG’s) Human Toxome Project, initiated in late 2006 in collaboration with Commonweal, a California health and environmental research group and aimed at mapping toxins in various populations, found lead in all 56 individuals tested by EWG/Commonweal and 13,641 of the 14,333 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies. Scientific testing and analysis under the Toxome Project is continuing, with a goal of mapping human body burdens globally”.   http://www.ewg.org/featured/435


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