Children near airports can be exposed to dangerous levels of lead


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A new article in PNAS Nexus found that children living near an airport in California had higher blood lead levels. Since leaded gasoline is still used by piston-engined aircraft across the United States, it is likely that children are still exposed to toxic levels of lead. This is despite efforts by policymakers to reduce lead exposure since the 1970s.

In the past four decades, the blood lead level Children in the United States have dropped dramatically due to policies that remove lead from paint, plumbing, food boxes, and cars. gasoline. Scientists generally agree that phasing out lead tetraethyl from automotive gasoline under the provisions of the Clean Air Act of 1970 is the most effective of these policies.

But leaded gasoline did not completely disappear. It remains a standard part of aviation gasoline and is estimated to be used in about 170,000 piston engine aircraft nationwide. Today, the use of leaded jet fuel accounts for two-thirds of lead emissions in the United States.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that four million people reside within a half-mile radius of one airport Maintenance of piston engine aircraft. Approximately 600 primary or secondary schools are located near such facilities.

The researchers analyzed the blood lead concentration of children under the age of six for a 10-year period (2011 to 2020) who lived near one such airport, Reid-Hillview Airport in Santa Clara County, California. The researchers found that the probability that a child living near Reid-Hillview Airport had blood lead levels above the threshold determined by the California Department of Public Health of 4.5 micrograms per deciliter increased the closer the child lived. airport. The researchers also noted that blood lead levels were much higher when children lived east (downwind) of the airport, and found that children’s blood levels increased with piston-engine airplane traffic. -tons and leaded jet fuel sold at the airport.

For children living one mile or more from the airport, the probability of a blood sample exceeding the threshold was 21.4% lower than for children living within half a mile of the airport. As for the geographic direction, children residing east of the airport were 2.18 times more likely to have blood lead levels above the worrisome threshold. Adding to the evidence that exposure to jet gasoline poses a health risk to children, the researchers found that the blood lead levels of children living within a half-mile radius of a special airport particularly in response to an increase in piston engine aircraft traffic.

“Through a series of tests, we found consistent evidence that blood “This suggests we should support policy efforts to limit aviation’s lead emissions to protect the welfare of those at risk,” said Sammy Zahran, lead author of the paper. children.”

More information:
Sammy Zahran et al, Risk of exposure to leaded aviation gasoline and childhood blood lead levels, PNAS Nexus (2023). DOI: 10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac285

quote: Children near airports may have dangerous levels of lead (2023, January 10) retrieved January 10, 2023 from -airports-exposed-dangerous.html

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