Aviation Remains a Holdout in the Long-Running U.S. Effort to Eliminate Lead Emissions

General aviation fleet of 167,000 piston-fired aircraft is the nation’s top source of airborne lead. Leaded gasoline is such a well-known scourge that automobile fuel made with the brain-damaging additive is still sold in only six countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea and Yemen. Shifting to unleaded fuel in the U.S. — the last drop of leaded gas was sold here in 1995 — has paid huge dividends in reducing concentrations of the toxic metal in children. But the general aviation industry remains a holdout in the decades-long push for a lead-free America. Piston-engine aircraft, which take off from airports large and small in every state, still run on leaded aviation fuel known as avgas. Federal figures show that the aircraft emit nearly 500 tons a year of lead. Chicago Tribune

General Motors recalls 2.4 million more vehicles. The move brings GM’s total number of recalls in the U.S. this year to more than 13 million. The announcement was the latest in a string of disastrous news coming from the company, which began in February with the recall of millions of older-model small cars for defective ignition switches. The defect has been linked to 13 deaths, and since then, GM has announced a series of repairs affecting some of its most popular products. The largest of the four recalls announced today involve the 2009 through 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, as well as the 2009 and 2010 Saturn Outlook. The automaker said it was not aware of any deaths related to any of the recalls, which were spurred by problems with seatbelt cables, automatic transmissions and fuse boxes. The New York Times

Study finds e-cigarettes are more effective than other options for helping smokers quit. In the biggest study ever of smokers who chose e-cigarettes to kick the habit, British researchers found that people who used the devices were about 60 percent more likely to stop smoking than those who relied on their own willpower or nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum. Among the 5,863 people polled, about one-fifth who said they tried to quit tobacco using e-cigarettes indicated at the time of the survey that they were succeeding in staying away from traditional cigarettes. But the study isn’t likely to do much to resolve the controversy over whether e-cigarettes provide more public health help than harm. And the news comes soon after another study suggested e-cigarette vapor might promote growth of a strain of the sometimes deadly superbug MRSA. Bloomberg, BBC, The Daily Beast, U.S. News & World Report

Chipotle Mexican Grill asks customers not to bring guns into stores. The move came after gun-rights activists carried assault-style rifles in one of the burrito chain’s Texas restaurants, making Chipotle the latest big consumer name to be drawn into the debate over firearms. The announcement came after a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a national petition calling on Chipotle Chief Executive Steve Ells to bar firearms in its restaurants. The group said the petition was triggered by a weekend gun-rights demonstration. Chipotle’s request echoes a similar plea made by in September by Starbucks to patrons of its more than 11,600 U.S. cafes. As Starbucks did, Chipotle stopped short of instituting an outright ban on guns at its more than 1,600 U.S. restaurants. The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times

Railroad ordered to pay $526,000 to two workers who were fired after reporting injuries. The ruling against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration also requires the company to rehire the two workers, who were dismissed in 2010 and 2011 after reporting injuries that occurred at a Havre, Mont., terminal. The award of roughly $526,000 covers back pay, interest, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees. An OSHA official said the agency “recognizes that employers can legitimately have, and apply, policies to require prompt injury reporting; however, that is not what happened here. When employers mask their retaliatory intent through application of a policy or rule, they violate the law.”  BNSF said it will appeal the ruling. OSHA, The Denver Post

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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One comment to “Aviation Remains a Holdout in the Long-Running U.S. Effort to Eliminate Lead Emissions”

  1. Lew A. Welge

    New York Times Best-selling author and 1980 University of Florida Journalism graduate Michael Connelly was one of your earliest supporters and i believe he’s a worthy hero whom I’d follow most anywhere; here into your readership. Thank you for maintaining the high journalistic standards which Michael Connelly endorses and which “we the people” partake of in rising numbers here in cyberspace.

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