A recent study conducted in California found that children living near airports had at least 21% higher blood lead levels.It was published in the magazine PNAS Nexusresearchers emphasized that aviation gasoline is the leading cause of lead emissions in the United States.
Over the past 40 years, the implementation of several policies to remove lead from paint, food cans, plumbing, and automobile gas has resulted in significant reductions in children’s lead exposure. It is still used as an additive. Lead in aviation gasoline helps prevent engine failure.
In the United States, researchers estimate that 500,000 pounds of lead are released into the lower atmosphere thanks to piston-engine aircraft, eventually reaching the soil. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it has 600 elementary schools and an airport that uses 500-meter piston-engined aircraft.
Children are particularly susceptible to lead contamination because their bodies grow and develop rapidly. Lead is notorious as a neurotoxin, especially in children under the age of 6. may cause harm. Symptoms of lead poisoning include joint pain, headache, lethargy or fatigue, stomach pain, constipation, and irritability.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, impair growth and development, and cause learning and behavior problems, hearing and speech impairment. I have.
Between 2011 and 2020, the study’s lead author, Sammy Zahran, and colleagues collected 14,000 blood lead samples from children under the age of five living half a mile from Reed Hillview Airport in Santa Clara County, California. Analyzed.
Over the years, the team observed that blood lead levels in children near airports increased where piston engine aircraft traffic increased. Blood lead levels were the highest. The California Department of Public Health has set a threshold for lead of 4.5 micrograms per deciliter. However, the closer the child lived to the airport, the farther the blood lead level exceeded that threshold.
In 2020, when air traffic was at an all-time low, they found blood lead levels in children dropped significantly. On the other hand, children who lived at least a mile or more from the airport had 21.4 percent lower blood lead levels than those who lived just half a mile or 500 meters away.
“Throughout a series of tests, we found consistent evidence that blood lead levels in children living near airports were boosted by leaded aviation petrol deposits,” Zaran said. PNAS Nexus Press release. “This indicates that policy efforts to limit aviation lead emissions should be supported to protect the welfare of at-risk children.”
In their paper, the researchers further emphasized that the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued the following statement: Compelling reasons to reduce or eliminate aviation lead emissions. ”