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Lead Designations


November 8, 2011 - EPA completes area designations for the 2008 lead air quality standards.
- List of nonattainment areas (PDF) (1pg, 54k)
- Learn more

November 16, 2010 - The EPA designates 16 areas in 11 states as nonattainment for the 2008 lead standards.
- List of areas designated nonattainment
- Learn more

June 15, 2010 - The EPA responds to state recommendations on areas meeting and not meeting the 2008 lead standards.
Learn more

This web site provides information on the process EPA, the states, and the tribes follow to determine whether or not an area is meeting the revised national air quality standards for lead established in 2008. After EPA establishes or revises a primary and/or secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), the Clean Air Act requires EPA to designate areas as “attainment” (meeting), “nonattainment” (not meeting), or “unclassifiable” (insufficient data) after monitoring data is collected by state, local and tribal governments.

Lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects, most notably in children. Exposures to low levels of lead early in life have been linked to effects on IQ, learning, memory and behavior. Reducing levels of lead pollution is an important part of EPA’s commitment to a clean, healthy environment.

A designation is the term EPA uses to describe the air quality in a given area for any of six common air pollutants known as criteria pollutants. One of these pollutants is lead. (The other criteria pollutants are particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone.)

Once nonattainment designations take effect, the state and local governments have eighteen months to develop implementation plans outlining how areas will attain and maintain the standards by reducing air pollutant emissions contributing to lead concentrations.

EPA strengthened the air quality standards for lead in 2008.
Learn more about the 2008 standards

This Web site contains the following information:

Area Designations for the 2008 Lead Standards: The status of this effort is summarized here.

Frequent Questions: Answers to common questions regarding lead in air and the designations process.

Related Links: Related sites offering further information and assistance.

Glossary: Explanations of the technical terms and acronyms used throughout the site.

EPA has similar sets of web pages for ozone designations, fine particle (PM2.5) designations, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) designations, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) designations.


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