EPA Requests Comments on Aircraft Lead Emissions Data

In the April 28 Federal Register, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Lead Emissions for Piston-Engine Aircraft Using Leaded Aviation Gasoline” (ANPR). The ANPR requested comment on data available for evaluating lead emissions, ambient concentrations, and potential exposure to lead from the use of leaded aviation gasoline (avgas). After considering this data and the comments received in response to the ANPR, EPA will determine whether lead emissions from leaded avgas cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare and, if so, establish standards to address lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft.

The ANPR contains information about the health and welfare effects of lead and statistics on lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft. Section IV of the ANPR summarizes available monitoring and modeling studies regarding lead concentrations in the airport vicinity. Ambient air sampling data from Santa Monica (CA), Van Nuys (CA), O’Hare (IL), Toronto Buttonville, and Destin (FL) airports is discussed. Additional data is expected to be garnered through promulgation of the 2008 lead monitoring requirements, which includes the placement of monitors where lead emissions are greater than or equal to one ton or more per year and in many urban areas. These additional monitoring sites are expected to include Van Nuys, Phoenix Deer Valley (AZ), Centennial (CO), and Daytona Beach (FL) airports.

ACI-NA provided comments on the ANPR indicating that EPA should gather additional data from existing monitoring sites and focus on research into no- or low-leaded fuel. In a supplement to those comments, ACI-NA also notified EPA of the recently funded Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) project intended to result in guidance for airports on lead emissions. The supplement encourages EPA to delay further action on this issue until the results of the project are available.

More information about this issue is available on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/aviation.htm.