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Lead Air Pollution

Setting and Reviewing Standards to Control Lead (Pb) Pollution

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What are lead air quality standards?

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for lead (Pb) pollution, specify a maximum amount of lead to be present in outdoor air. Limiting lead pollution in the air protects human health and the environment.

  • See NAAQS for Lead (Pb) for an in-depth explanation of the lead standards, including Federal Register citations and fact sheets.

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How are the standards developed and reviewed?

The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to periodically review all of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to ensure that they provide adequate health and environmental protection, and to update those standards as necessary.

As part of the lead standards review process, EPA publishes a detailed plan. The review plan describes all the scientific assessments and other documents that help EPA decide whether or not the current air quality standards for lead are still protecting human health and the environment from harmful exposure. Based on this, EPA either changes the standards or keeps them the same.

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What scientific and technical information supports review of the lead air quality standards?

The various documents published during the review process include multiple drafts of plans and assessments, reports from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and Federal Register notices.

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How else does the EPA regulate emissions of lead into the air?

The EPA regulates emissions of lead into air under the NAAQS and several other Clean Air Act programs, including National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) and New Source Review (NSR) permitting. Other EPA programs regulate lead in other environmental media.

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