Utah News
3:05 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

EPA to Weigh in on Health Concerns of Leaded Aviation Fuel

The EPA has until this Friday to respond in a federal court case asking the agency to to crack down on the use of leaded fuel. Attorney Marianne Engleman Lado with EarthJustice says the reason for concern is the health effects, especially on children.

"There are 20,000 airports around the country where lead is still used and studies have shown that people who live near these airports -- their kids are more likely to have heightened blood lead levels."

More than 6,400 aircraft are registered in Utah. Rob Hackman with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says that there's no reason for  concern when small planes fly overhead. Altitude and wind are thought to disperse the harmful emissions.

"Unless you're standing right behind an aircraft engine with your nose right at the exhaust, you're talking about something that I think would be even difficult to measure from a bloodstream -- that type of thing."

Hackman says the group is working with the EPA and the FAA to establish a realistic standard to reduce lead emissions for general aviation aircraft.

"It's not just a matter of 'we want fuel with a higher octane so we can go faster.' It's safety of flight so that our engines don't detonate and prematurely tear themselves apart at critical phases of flight."