EPA Says Air Quality in Belding Meets Safe Lead Standards
Levels well below health standards for last four years
August 1, 2017 - Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially recognized that the air quality in Belding, Mich. meets safe levels for lead. The designation is only possible after at least three years of air sampling with results below the national health standard level.
The issue came to light in 2010 when air monitors used by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) detected high lead levels in the air. Further testing revealed high lead levels in soil in a neighborhood near Mueller Industries, a brass parts manufacture in the area.
In cooperation with the Ionia County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the MDEQ began to work with Mueller Industries to address their lead releases. A new required operating practice was initiated and Mueller Industries removed the contaminated soil and replaced it with fresh soil. Information about the situation as well as the associated health risks was provided to the community.
These actions resulted in rapidly declining lead levels detected in the air in Belding. In 2011, the levels tested below the national health standard established by the EPA and have continued to decline.
The EPA’s announcement means the Belding area now rejoins the rest of Michigan in meeting the national health standard for lead levels in the air. The MDEQ will continue to monitor levels in Belding and across the state to ensure the air quality remains safe.
To learn more about lead as an air pollutant visit www.michigan.gov/air, click the “SIP & Attainment” tab then “Lead (Pb)” under “Information by Pollutant.”