EPA could require more lead monitoring in Missouri - KMOV.com

EPA could require more lead monitoring in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The number of lead monitors checking air quality in Missouri could nearly double under a new proposal by federal environmental regulators.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed Wednesday to require monitoring at sites that emit half a ton or more of lead per year. Now, monitoring is done only at places where at least 1 ton of lead is released into the air.

The rule would require four new lead monitors in Missouri -- at two power plants, a cement plant and an ore mill, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

"I think the significant thing here is that we're starting to include sources outside lead producers, lead ores and lead smelting," said David Bryan, a spokesman for EPA's regional offices in Kansas City, Kan.

Tougher federal air quality rules for lead imposed last year have already resulted in five new air monitors in Missouri.

Demands from citizens and groups such as the Missouri Coalition for the Environment to make standards more stringent prompted Wednesday's proposal from the EPA.

Herculaneum residents Jack and Leslie Warden filed a successful lawsuit in 2004 that forced the EPA to revise its air quality standards for lead. At that time, Missouri was one of two places in the U.S. unable to meet the existing lead air standard.

The lawsuit asked EPA to tighten the standard, citing research showing children were harmed by the levels of lead allowed by the standard set in the 1970s.

Exposure to lead is associated with a broad range of health problems affecting the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, the kidneys and the immune system. Children are especially vulnerable. Exposure can affect IQ, learning, memory and behavior. Some studies have found a link to criminal behavior.

The EPA said it will accept comments on the proposal for 45 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

Missouri has until Jan. 1 to have lead monitors in operation around sources emitting at least 1 ton of lead a year.

Air monitors for sources of lead above the half-ton threshold must be in place a year after finalization of the rule.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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