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5 Areas to Develop Plans for Excessive Lead in Air

WASHINGTON (CN) - Five more areas in the United States and Puerto Rico violate National Ambient Air Quality Standards on airborne lead particles, according to Environmental Protection Agency.

Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Chicago, Ill.; Belding, Mich.; Saline, Kan.; and Pottawattamie, Iowa join 16 other areas the EPA designated as "nonattainment areas" earlier this year.

The EPA had postponed designating the five areas while it reviewed data from new air quality monitors.

Lead particles can be ingested through the air, soil and water and is quickly absorbed by the bloodstream. In high concentrations it can damage the central nervous system, heart-lung function, the immune system and red blood cells.

Children are particularly susceptible to the damage caused by lead ingestion. Long term studies have shown that children exposed to lead can suffer loss of IQ, poor academic achievement and increased risk of delinquent behavior.

Under the Clean Air Act, states with nonattainment areas must develop implementation plans to reduce airborne lead by June 30, 2013, or the agency will implement a federal plan.

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