October 17, 2022


Media Contact: Dorian Bonner
Phone: (562) 570-6137


Long Beach City Council Introduces Proposal to Begin Transition Process to End Use of Lead-Based Fuels at Long Beach Airport 

Reducing Leaded Fuel Use at Long Beach Airport May Lower Residents’ Blood Lead Levels—Especially Children’s, Studies Suggest 

LONG BEACH, CA — This Tuesday, the Long Beach City Council will present a new proposal directing the City Manager’s Office to establish a plan transitioning the Long Beach Airport away from the use of leaded aviation fuels. This motion, introduced by Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, follows recent reporting that suggests use of these fuels is consistent with elevated levels of lead in the blood of residents who live nearby, particularly young children.

“The wellbeing of our residents is paramount,” said Vice Mayor Richardson. “Removing lead from our aviation fuels is one important step we can take to protect the health of our children and reduce the impacts of fossil fuel consumption.”

The motion, if passed, would require city staff to return within 60 days with a transition plan.

A 2021 study by Mountain Data Group showed that, on high traffic days, children who lived nearby or downwind from the Reid-Hillview airport in San Jose, California suffered from blood lead levels on par with or even exceeding those measured during the Flint water crisis.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Reid-Hillview airport emits half of the airborne lead that the Long Beach Airport does.

On October 7th, 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a proposed endangerment finding on lead emissions from aircraft that operate using leaded fuel. Piston engine aircraft are the most common engine type in smaller aircraft and typically burn leaded fuel.

The Long Beach Airport is home to many such aircraft.

The transition away from leaded fuels could be possible thanks to a new development in September of this year. The FAA approved a new type of unleaded fuel for use in all piston-engine aircraft—the first of its kind.

As local governments lack the power to enforce restrictions on fuel types in FAA-regulated airports, Long Beach will need to proactively engage with the FAA once the study is complete to ensure that final funding and regulatory decisions at the Airport are made with the health of the city’s residents in mind.

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