Kids living near Colorado airports have slightly elevated levels of lead in their blood, new study finds

But levels were still within the range the federal government considers normal
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Posted at 10:09 AM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 17:33:22-04

Children living near small airports in Colorado had slightly higher levels of lead in their blood than the statewide average, according to a new study — though experts had diverging opinions on how significant that difference was.

The study, by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, found levels to be within the range the federal government considers normal, and didn’t prove that living near an airport caused the increase in blood lead levels, though levels declined consistently as the distance from an airport increased, reaching the state average at about two miles out.

The researchers also didn’t have enough blood samples to show whether lead levels were particularly high near any of the airports, though the data didn’t suggest any difference, said Dr. Ned Calonge, the department’s chief medical officer.

While lead can affect anyone, young children are most vulnerable. In most cases, lead doesn’t cause any immediately noticeable symptoms, though over time it lowers intelligence scores and increases the risk of hyperactivity and behavior problems. Children experiencing acute lead poisoning, which is rare, may have headaches, stomach pain and weakness.

Aircraft fuel is the largest source of new lead pollution in the country, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Certain industries, like battery recycling, also generate lead pollution, while contamination from lead paint and leaded gas still lingers.

Click here to read the full story from our partners at The Denver Post.

Denver 7+ Colorado News Latest Headlines | May 13, 8am

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