New Standards for Lead, Air Quality

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Thousands of American smelters and metals mines plan to reduce emissions throughout the next year, and a new law from the EPA makes this possible. The amount of accepted lead pollution was reduced 90 percent earlier this week. In the first update to the standard since 1978, the EPA’s new lead standard, 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter, is a tenfold cut from the current standard.

To meet this shrinking standard, it’s expected that the EPA will embark on heavier monitoring, ensuring that companies stick to the rules. This new plan, according to CNN, “would require the 16,000 remaining sources of lead, including smelters, metal mines, and waste incinerators, to reduce their emissions,” adding that EPA will “designate areas of the country that fail to meet the new standard, requiring state and local governments to find ways to reduce lead emissions.”

The new lead limits should protect health across the country, and children are expected to benefit the most. Early exposure to lead can drastically impair a child’s development, hurting brain development in an extreme manner. In fact, some watchdogs believe that the EPA’s own research suggests even lower standards should have been imposed.

–Amy Edwards

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