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Environmental Assessment

Air Quality Criteria for Lead (Second External Review Draft)

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The Clean Air Act mandates periodic review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six common air pollutants, also referred to as criteria pollutants, including lead. Under the review process, EPA's Office of Research and Development develops a criteria document -- a compilation and evaluation by U.S. EPA scientific staff and other expert authors of the latest scientific knowledge useful in assessing the health and welfare effects of the air pollutant. In this case, the Lead Criteria Document presents the latest available pertinent information on atmospheric science, air quality, exposure, dosimetry, health effects, and environmental effects of lead. In developing criteria documents, EPA must consider the advice of Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).

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Background

A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), entitled Blood Lead Levels and Death from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: Results from the NHANES III Mortality Study and authored by Schober S. E., Mirel L. B., Graubard B .I., Brody D. J. and Flegal K. M. was proposed inclusion in EPA's second external review draft document , Air Quality Criteria for Lead. This proposal was provided to the CASAC Lead Review Panel members for discussion during the CASAC Panel's teleconference review of updated Integrative Synthesis (Chpt 7) materials that incorporate revisions made by EPA staff in response to public comments and CASAC review on June 28-29.

The newly available EHP paper reports on potentially important new analyses of NHANES III data, which are reported to show associations between relatively low (less than 10 ug/dL) concurrent blood lead levels and increased risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer-related mortality among the general U.S. population. EPA staff have prepared a brief paragraph (see attachment in Downloads) describing the key findings (with appropriate caveating) for proposed insertion into the epidemiology chapter (Chpt 6) of the current draft of the Lead Criteria Document along with pertinent entries for an accompanying Annex 6 table (see attachment in Downloads); and EPA staff are also considering adding allusion to the key results in the draft Lead Criteria Document's Integrative Synthesis chapter that is to be discussed by CASAC at the August 15, 2006 public teleconference. For example. since the results of the study might allow for some estimation of increased risk of cardiovascular -related mortality, it may be appropriate to reflect the study's findings in the Integrative Synthesis chapter section discussing possible public health implications

History/Chronology

2004EPA begins the mandated periodic revision of the Lead Criteria Document.
2005CASAC and the public review and comment on the Project Work Plan for the document. (See Related Links).
2005EPA conducts peer consultative workshops in August 2005.
2005EPA releases the first external review draft of the Lead Criteria Document (see Related Links).
2006CASAC and the public review and comment on the first external review draft. Following this, EPA released this second external review draft.

Next Steps

CASAC will hold a public teleconference to review the revised chapters for the second external review draft of the Air Quality Criteria Document for Lead in August 2006. A Federal Register Notice will announce the date of the meeting and its location. EPA will then review their feedback and recommendations with plans to publish the final air quality criteria document by October 2006. In this final document, the Integrative Synthesis chapter will become the last chapter (i.e., Chapter 8) of the document, to be preceded by the Environmental Effects of Lead chapter (currently Chapter 8).

Citation

U.S. EPA. Air Quality Criteria for Lead (Second External Review Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-05/144aB-bB, 2006.

Downloads

This download(s) is distributed solely for the purpose of pre-dissemination peer review under applicable information quality guidelines. It has not been formally disseminated by EPA. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent any Agency determination or policy.

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