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Lead Scavengers

Lead scavengers, such as Ethylene dibromide (EDB) and 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA), were additives to leaded gasoline until the late 1980s. Recent study has shown that these compounds may persist in the environment and affect drinking water supplies. The regulations for lead scavengers may be evolving and environmental professionals performing Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments should beware.

Lead scavengers have had uses other than gasoline. For examples, the common lead scavenger, EDB, was used as a soil fumigant. EDB was widely used as an agricultural fumigant and was banned in 1983 and 1,2-DCA is still used as an industrial solvent. Both of these lead scavengers have federal Maximum Concentration Limits (MCLs) in drinking water; for EDB the MCL is 0.05 parts per billion (ppb), and for 1,2-DCA it is 5.0 ppb.

Leaded fuel with lead scavengers is still used in some fuels—auto racing fuel and aviation fuel. The EPA is currently working with states to determine the size of the lead scavengers problem.

Phase 2 Environmental Reports and soil and groundwater testing at fuel storage or underground storage tank sites should include testing for lead scavengers.
After lead scavengers were phased out of leaded gasoline, the hope was that that lead scavengers present in the ground and groundwater as a result of leaking underground storage tanks would degrade and dissipate or degrade. Recent data indicates that lead scavengers may persist for long periods of time in the groundwater.

Posted in Environmental Due Diligence, Environmental Soil Testing, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments.

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