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EPA takes on dirty leaded aviation fuel

About half of the airborne lead in the United States came from avgas, the aviation fuel used by small piston-engine planes. Friends of the Earth formally petitioned the EPA to take action in 2007, as there is no safe threshold for lead exposure, which is particularly harmful for children. However, the EPA sat on its hands for the next four years, until Friends of the Earth threatened to sue. Simultaneously, the Center for Environmental Health sued BP, Chevron, and other companies selling avgas for polluting air and drinking water around California airports.

Now the EPA finally taking action. According to the Business Aviation Law Blog:

“Later this year, air quality monitors will be installed at 15 airports to gather data on lead pollution and to aid EPA in making a determination on whether Avgas is exposing people to dangerous amounts of lead. EPA’s move comes as a result of a lawsuit from the environmental group Friends of the Earth. Scientific studies have shown that aircraft emissions contributed to lead in children’s blood, particularly those living close to airports.” (via)

The Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee is working to help the industry move away from leaded fuel.

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Photo credit: Leo Reynolds

About Anirvan Chatterjee

Anirvan Chatterjee is a bibliophile, technologist, and climate activist from Berkeley, California.

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