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Lead in Air

Lead Air Quality Standards

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for lead and five other criteria pollutants. The Clean Air Act established two types of national air quality standards for lead.

  • Primary standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of "sensitive" populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly.
  • Secondary standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against visibility impairment, damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the latest scientific information and standards every five years. Before new standards are established, policy decisions undergo rigorous review by the scientific community, industry, public interest groups, the general public and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).

National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead

Pollutant Primary Standard Averaging Time Secondary Standard
Lead 0.15 µg/m3 (1) Rolling 3-Month Average Same as Primary
(1) Final rule signed October 15, 2008.  The 1978 lead standard (1.5 µg/m3 as a quarterly average) remains in effect until one year after an area is designated for the 2008 standard, except that in areas designated nonattainment for the 1978 standard, the 1978 standard remains in effect until implementation plans to attain or maintain the 2008 standard are approved.
Learn more about the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

Related Documents

2005-2008 Standards Review

Previous Standards Reviews

For more information

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