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Reducing Lead in Drinking Water: A Benefit Analysis

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Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy, Planning and EvaluationAddress:
City: Washington State: DC ZIP: 20460
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The report estimates some of the benefits that could result from reducing exposure to lead in community drinking water supplies. These benefits are stated to be much greater than those attributable to just reducing the maximum contaminant level for lead, but do reflect benefits attainable with reduced exposure to lead through changes in the maximum contaminant level coupled with changes in EPA's monitoring requirements or other efforts to reduce exposure to lead from drinking water.
There are two primary categories of benefits evaluated in the report: the public health benefits of reduced lead exposure (Chapters 2 and 4) and reduced materials damages (Chapter 5) relating to the phenomenon of lead's presence in drinking water--as a corrosion by-product. In addition, because the calculation of health benefits depends on the extent of human exposure, another chapter (Chapter 2) presents available data on the occurrence of lead in public water supplies, and presents estimates of the population exposed to drinking water exceeding the proposed maximum contaminant guideline of 20 ug/l. In assessing the benefits of the proposed reduced lead standard, this analysis assumes that EPA will act to reduce lead levels in tap water, as well as to maintain the current high quality of water leaving the treatment plant. It also relies upon and is sensitive to assumptions about drinking water use and consumption patterns.
The report estimates the annual benefits for one sample year, 1988, of lowering the amount of lead permitted from 50 ug/l to 20 ug/l.

For a 35 page summary of this report see report EE-0334A

The report is organized as follows:

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Date Linked: 05/28/2009

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