The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it will expand the nation’s air quality monitoring network to better measure exposure to lead.
Even at low levels, the EPA says that exposure to lead can impair a child’s IQ, learning capabilities and memory.
EPA is strengthening lead monitoring requirements to ensure that air quality is measured near industrial facilities that emit a half ton or more of lead per year. Previously, the agency required monitoring near facilities emitting at least one ton of lead per year. EPA is also requiring monitoring at a network of multi-pollutant air quality monitoring sites in large urban areas.
Monitors will continue to be placed at airports emitting at least one ton of lead per year. EPA will also require the states to conduct a year-long monitoring study at 15 airports that emit less than one ton to determine how these sources impact air quality in the surrounding area.
According to EPA, this rule will help it implement a 2008 requirement to lower the amount of lead allowed in air. States have one year from the publication date of this rule to have the new monitors in place.