Despite a 1990s ban, lead from gasoline is still present in the air in London, according to a new research.
According to study, although being prohibited in 1999, lead from gasoline is still present in London’s air.
Experts discovered that levels in London’s atmosphere had plummeted since lead compounds in gasoline were phased out, and that the city now meets UK air quality standards.
Despite this decrease, the city’s airborne particles are still substantially lead-enriched when compared to natural background levels.
According to the study, up to 40% of the lead in airborne particles now comes from the legacy of leaded gasoline.
They claim that this demonstrates the long-term persistence of pollutants put into the ecosystem by human activity.
Despite the ban on leaded gasoline, combusted lead is still prevalent in London’s air after more than 20 years.
“Petrol-derived lead deposited decades ago remains an important contaminant in London,” said research lead author Dr Eleonore Resongles of Imperial College London’s department of Earth science and engineering.
“More than 20 years after the leaded gasoline ban, previously combusted lead is still prevalent in London’s air.”
The composition of particulate matter in the air was compared to samples of road dust and urban soil, confirming the involvement of dust polluted by leaded gasoline in the persistence of lead in London today.
According to them, after lead from leaded gasoline has settled in the environment, it is continually resuspended into the air by wind and vehicle movement.
This provides a consistent background level as well as a method for remobilization.
The findings also highlight a possible hazard that requires additional examination into its implications on Londoners’ health, as there is no “safe” level of lead in people, despite air quality targets.
“Long-term low-level exposure to lead can be harmful to one’s health,” said Dr. Resongles. “While we don’t yet know the health consequences of our findings, they suggest that leaded gasoline may still be giving low-level exposure that can be harmful to one’s health.”
Lead has long been utilized in a range of applications, including gasoline, batteries, alloys, and solders, as well as plumbing and paint in homes and buildings.
Until 1999, leaded petrol remained the primary source of lead emissions. (This is a short article)