A California Mom May Tip The Fuel Battle Scales

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In all the teeth-gnashing about the rocky road to a universal unleaded aviation gasoline, there’s a background theme that I’ve been trying to get across that tends to be drowned out by the technical issues and politics of the issue.

The dizzyingly complex details of gasoline chemistry and the puzzling political battle over the dark horse, GAMI’s G100UL, that theoretically is the runaway leader in the race for a universal replacement for 100LL, consume us. Even though it’s been approved for use in virtually every gasoline propeller-driven airplane on the U.S. registry (helicopters are coming soon) via STC, GAMI’s refusal to submit the fuel to ASTM International for testing and the fuel transportation and dispensing industry’s apparent refusal to consider putting the fuel in its tanks, pipes and trucks without ASTM blessing has led to a frustrating impasse.

The FAA and EPA have cut a deal that gives aviation until 2030 to come up with a new fuel, and it just seems like most of the players are perfectly comfortable stretching that deadline to the final minute. It seems to me that we could beat that deadline by a few years if something gave in the impasse over G100UL. I have tried, with varying degrees of success depending on who you talk to, to unravel the business, regulatory and personal issues that are in the way, but it seems to be just the way it is for now.

The two other fuels in the running, Swift Fuels 100R and VP Aviation’s entry, are going through painstaking testing and approvals by both the FAA and ASTM and it would appear that will take at least 18 months. Meanwhile, there are more than a million gallons of G100UL sitting at a Vitol Aviation refinery that the company says is ready to start the process of eliminating lead emissions from aircraft.

We in aviation tend to view this as an interesting bun fight between the fuel establishment and some newcomers to the industry that has no consequences since 100LL continues to be plentiful at all the places we’re used to finding it. Indeed, that’s a fundamental tenet of the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions group, maintaining a ready supply of 100LL while all the issues surrounding the transition are sorted out.

And that’s where Lori Shepler enters the picture. A couple of years ago, she dropped her now 7-year-old twins off at a school next to Long Beach Airport with more than the usual trepidation of the parental jitters that go along with that milestone. When her daughter (the other twin is a boy) was a baby, she had cancer surgery and underwent chemotherapy. The family just celebrated her five years in remission.

Meanwhile, the flight schools that line the ramps at Long Beach were responding to a massive increase in flight training demand, and she says on an average day there’s a landing and takeoff about every minute during school hours. Not long after that first day of school, Shepler was horrified to find out that lead was coming out of their exhaust pipes.

The attitude of some in aviation is that the amount of lead being released by GA is so small, relatively speaking, that there’s no real health hazard. That’s not to say there isn’t support for getting lead out of avgas, but we’re more concerned with the effect on valve seats and other engine components than the known effects of lead on human health.

For Shepler, the airplanes ceased to be a mere annoyance. They became spewers of poison that were unleashing toxins on a little girl who had already been through so much. Getting to school was such a victory and now it became, in Shepler’s mind, an existential threat.

At this point, it’s fair to ask why she didn’t just switch schools, but there’s an ex and a family court judge involved who agree that the lead emissions are not a threat that justifies moving schools. Shepler will be fighting that position in court in June.

Meanwhile, as Shepler researched more and called up the principal players in the current impasse, she grew more frustrated and is now infuriated since the solution to her problem is at the Vitol refinery instead of flowing from the pumps at Long Beach.

“It’s concerning that it’s being stopped,” said Shepler, whose quiet and respectful manner has already caused some to underestimate her. One of the fuel leaders she spoke with at first dismissed her as a “housewife” but he doesn’t do that anymore. Shepler is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times and she’s using all her skills and contacts to fight this battle.

To that end, she’s helping organize a protest this coming Thursday (May 16) to raise awareness about the lead issue. Other groups who are more concerned about noise will also be there. Shepler has had some success in getting the local media interested in the issue in the past couple of years. Ironically the LA Times has yet to bite but the opposition Orange County Register did a major feature as have smaller publications in the immediate area.

But among the media expected to attend the Thursday protest is the local CBS affiliate. Depending on what kind of news day Thursday turns out to be the story might have legs beyond LA (and might wake up the Times, too).

Shepler has witnessed the amazement that many people express when they learn that there is still lead being used in fuel. The knowledge is being used by groups who are less concerned about the health effects of lead than the noise they are enduring or the profits they are missing because of their local airports. Lead emissions are now a standard part of the argument for anti-airport groups and that is helping to spread the knowledge. Shepler is trying to get one of the national news magazine shows interested in the story.

Meanwhile, she continues to attack her part of the battle with calm logic. She’s taken soil samples near the airport and all have lead. A few are right on the threshold where the EPA starts taking notice. She continues to liase with other groups that have formed in other areas of California that are fighting their own regional efforts, and that has resulted in a bill moving through the legislature that would ban leaded avgas.

But the real kingpin in what happens in California rests with the Center for Environmental Health. As we’ve reported, CEH has a consent agreement that compels the several dozen FBOs that are signatories to begin offering a lower lead alternative to 100LL as soon as it becomes “commercially available.” CEH can have a major influence on whether G100UL is defined in that manner, but so far it has not commented publicly on what, if anything, it intends to do. By the way, I’m a little ticked that Shepler can call and talk to CEH and their lawyers at will but they’ve so far ignored me. She offered to put in a word for me. Housewife, huh?

Shepler of course, doesn’t care who wins the fuel battle, who makes money or how it all shakes out. She just knows that when some kind of unleaded fuel gets into the tanks at Long Beach, one of her big worries and a source of family strife just disappears. But she also doesn’t want others to have those worries when the solution seems so simple.

“I just want the lead to end,” she said. “I think this is an important thing.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

123 COMMENTS

  1. Besides the 805k pilots, there are 340 million other citizens in the US. Governance is not about individual rights, but the balancing of competing, often conflicting, equally valid individual rights in the society we all live in. Clearly in the case of leaded fuel, the science is firmly on the side of the citizens most affected by the effects of lead poisoning.

    • That’s inappropriate here. I’ll tell you why. The amount of aircraft training in that one spot is completely the fault of airport closures. The airport closures are mostly the fault of various government institutions. The fact the lead is still in the fuel is the fault of the FAA. The fact that almost all training aircraft still use Lycosaur engingines is the fault of the FAA and tort law (Congress).
      A small minority has been being abused by government institutions for decades because they desire to use their rightful access to the sky for business, travel, and enjoyment for decades.
      The majority has been in the wrong, and further attacks cannot be allowed. I don’t know what should be done about Long Beach, but I do know that kicking GA in the teeth again is simply rewarding the party who has been the abuser.

    • I think you make a good point but I think there is also a few other things. One is that people that don’t like airports and don’t like general aviation can rally around any of their grievances. They don’t care if it’s leaded fuel, aircraft noise or perceived safety issues, they just don’t want airports or airplanes near their neighborhoods and don’t care which issue will ultimately help accomplish their goals. Just reading the posted comments here you can see that the GA haters are much more united than the pilot community that’s trying to fight them. Another issue is money. I ran an FBO for fours years and if we hadn’t sold JetA we wouldn’t have stayed in business. The CEO of Exxon is not losing any sleep worrying about leaded or unleaded AvGas. The economics of leaded versus unleaded AvGas doesn’t carry any weight with oil companies or corporate America in general. There’s not enough money in it for them to be that interested in the problem or the solution If we don’t come together on issues like this we are going to lose.

      • Exxon executives et al, need to realize that without GA their bizjets and everyone else’s, will eventually run out of pilots to operate them. So, those executives really ought to start worrying about providing UL100 or an alternative, to GA.

  2. And the Colorado study that found lead around Pueblo (I think it was) to be nil? But why go with science…

    • She doesn’t live there though, where she lives apparently does have lead.
      Burning leaded gas is just not sustainable, this change-over should have been done decades ago.

      • Seriously? Would you care to declare your interests in this? If you are involved in either the aviation engines industry or the fuel industry, you’d know that you suggestion is just utter nonsense, and it’s unlikely to be achieved for a very long time yet.

  3. It’s ironic that after commenting about her “housewife” moniker, the article’s title is “mom”. How about “Pulitzer prize winner…”?

  4. I believe it was 13 wipe samples that were taken under the pattern at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport in Broomfield Colorado. Twelve samples did not show lead above the analyzing instruments measuring threshold. The one wipe sample with measurable lead had been taken from a windowsill of an extremely old building suspected of having had leaded paint.
    The town of Superior, which had commissioned the study, keep the results quiet until an open-records request brought it to light. Even with this lack of scientific evidence, Superior and Boulder County are suing the airport over lead exposure.

    • Of course, they are suing, scientific evidence has no place when it does not support the views of ultra-left wing, mentally unstable liberals. And Boulder is about as left wing as anywhere in the country. Their ultimate goal, is to close down all these airports on the front range. Unmeasurable lead is just the first shot.

        • You could drop the demands for silence unless you are going to be even handed and objective about it, and that would have you complaining to too many posts here. How about ignoring them, or attacking them on the merits instead?

          • Sorry, old Eric. The comment to which wendel.doubleday objects had zero informational content and consisted solely of unsupported (and unsupportable) assertions with quite a bit of socio-political diatribe. It’s tough to attack a comment on its merits when there are none.

          • Nobody is making “demands for silence” and you know it.

            Some of us want to discuss the merits of banning lead from avgas whereas others want to bash “mentally unstable liberals.”

            I strongly suspect that that you can tell the difference between a good faith effort to discuss the issue and a desire to denigrate people with opinions you don’t like. One approach elevates the discussion while the other approach is just dog-whistle name calling.

          • Perhaps I over stepped, and perhaps I owe Wendell an apology, but I’m afraid at the core of Mike’s post is an unfortunate truth about a common hypocrisy from people today when it comes to using science and facts to win arguments. He didn’t need to be so political about it, and if that is Wendell’s point, then I over stepped. Still, Mike is not incorrect that the attack on Rocky Mtn is WAY out of bounds, and the tactics are the usual mix of lies and “factoids” and argumentative manure.
            If the people around that airport want it closed, they ought to be offering VERY LARGE compensation.
            I would think that on this site instead of the importance of getting rid of lead, we’d have more discussion of the importance of saving airports, saving GA, and placing the blame and responsibility for leaded fuel on the FAA WHERE IT BELONGS.
            Can I get any agreement on b how this is the responsibility of the FAA? Please? From anyone who has posted here about how WE should be getting the lead out?

  5. Besides the health concerns with lead emissions from 100LL avgas there is another concern that I think most in the aviation community should be concerned with. Tetraethyl lead, TEL, is the lead used in 100LL. It is manufactured by only one company, INNOSPEC, and I believe that they only do this in the UK where TEL has been banned since 1999. So if you do not believe there are real health concerns with TEL in 100LL there has to be concerns with its supply in the future. INNOSPEC makes many other products. They probably do not need to manufacture TEL to survive.

    • If Innospec dropped it, Somebody Else would offer it. That’s the way the market works – if there is a demand for a product, there will be a supplier.

  6. I got the lead out of my fuel 3 decades ago. I used to be able to fly most max range cross country flights and get mogas for my 230 HP O470R. Cessna used to sell C152s with 80 Octane Engines. They exist even in HP aircraft. Today, I would have to fly 100 or more miles out of my way to get Mogas on field, and choices are becoming fewer and fewer. My current base airport has empty tanks that held Mogas 91 until 2007. The tanks are there, they are probably useless by now, but the FBO made a decision to discontinue mogas despite the fact that the based Exp and many Part 23 a/c held EAA STCs to burn it. They now tanker fuel into the airport to fill their airplanes or have moved to greener airports. This is progress?

    We are being offered a non-viable choice. Buy each and every STC that comes along, re-buy that same each and every STC every time we change an engine or airframe component or the vendor changes a formulation? For a broad class of fuel, STC might (I doubt it) make sense. For a proprietary fuel it does not. As for a pulitzer prize winning journalist? I’ll take a chemical engineer’s, an analytical chemist’s and an instrumentation physicist’s word any day any time over any journalist with a axe to grind.

    I personally will not buy an STC to burn a proprietary fuel. I have a blanket STC to burn any brand of mogas and my engine is good for at least one more New Limit Overhaul, which will buy me another 2700 hours or more. That should suffice.

  7. Second thought based on your poll. Does 100LL at the airport concern me. No for use in aircraft. Yes for direct handling of the fuel. Pumping, sumping and dumping as well as skin contact for those handling the fuel directly is a concern. We do need a lead free fuel. The way we are going about it is nuts.

    • There are easily available research studies that show that children who live in the vicinity of airports have higher levels of lead (Pb) in their blood. There is no level of lead in the blood that is considered to be harmless, especially to children, although there probably is some level that is low enough that it does not create health problems, that level is not known. And yes, we should really try to avoid getting leaded fuel on our skin, and the same goes for engine oil if we change our own (I do change my own oil and I wear protective nitrile gloves to avoid getting used engine oil on my skin).

      See: https://qz.com/2158594/do-you-live-near-enough-to-a-small-airport-to-have-lead-exposure#interactive-maps

      The studies were conducted by or for the EPA, whose job it is to determine what levels of human-caused contamination of the environment is harmful to public health.

      Personally, I want to be able to obtain unleaded fuel for my piston airplane to avoid problems with my engine as much as to avoid environmental contamination. I also do not want to have to buy an STC to do so. At my last annual my engine had started running rough due to lead build-up on the spark plugs. As soon as my IA cleaned the plugs, the engine ran smoother. He recommended trying a leaner mixture, but I have been running at the manufacturer’s mixture recommendation since buying the airplane 18 years ago.

      • The study that you link to was paid for by Santa Clara County, not the EPA. It’s a statistical study that has been misconstrued and distorted by the anti-airport faction. For an easy-to-comprehend and detailed engineering analysis/response to this study, read
        https://files.santaclaracounty.gov/migrated/2022%2002-28%20McDonald%20Response%20to%20EPA%20regarding%20Lead.pdf

        As McDonald states, “[B]y spreading misleading information about the impact of aviation fuel, the County
        needlessly creates unwarranted concerns for all families living near airports and undeservedly
        devalues all communities near airports. They are not helping these communities as they profess; they
        are hurting them and redirecting scarce health resources in the wrong direction.”

        The study’s author also conducted other studies in Michigan that identify other sources of lead correlating to elevated blood lead levels (without mentioning 100ll). One of the first tenets of statistical analysis is that correlation is not causation. That is the first principle to be violated when it comes to this issue.

        At the same time the Santa Clara County commissioned this statistical study, the County tried to suppress a study of air monitoring results around Reid Hillview that has been conducted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District under authority from the EPA over several years. That study showed no airborne lead concentrations near EPA’s own action levels. So, yes. The EPA’s own studies show no airborne lead levels that exceed their action levels. In fact, in the EPA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking finding that 100ll endangers human health, the EPA buries their references to studies in so many layers that it’s like Russian dolls. And, at the end, the basis for their finding is improper, invalid, and flawed data from a couple of PRELIMINARY studies that EPA ostensibly conducted in order to figure out how to PROPERLY test air around airports for lead. I watched the whole process at my home field (San Carlos). It was a sham.

        None of this has stopped the politicians or the anti-airport faction from continuing to push the false narrative that airplanes are poisoning the children.

        While I agree that pure political characterization does not advance understanding, it is difficult to have been involved in this issue and have witnessed the kind of manipulation and misrepresentations made not only by politicians, but by career bureaucrats/”scientists” at EPA and BAAQMD and not wonder what is driving their behavior.

    • It concerned me a fair bit as I flew piston planes 5 days a week for 12 years. The level of lead exposure for a piston pilot must be orders of magnitude higher than for someone living near an airport: at least 1000x higher, maybe far more. If it had any effect at all on a neighbor, any pilot on the field working with the stuff would be dead after a year.

      I asked my doctor about getting tested for lead exposure but she said the tests were pretty unreliable and I didn’t pursue it further. Happy to be away from the stuff now though.

  8. Good on her. Using leaded fuel when an alternative is already available? Our industry has drug its feet for decades. This issue should have been addressed long ago. The poster who pointed out how small our numbers are was right. The environmentalists are coming for us and we have very little clout. Our friendly lawmakers in DC cannot hold them off anymore. It’s in our best interest to clean up our engines and fuel so we can show that we are part of the solution and not the problem.

    • Robert D, I second that. All the ridiculous excuses that have been used for more than 30 years to keep 100LL have more than run their course. Continental and Lycoming should have started using whatever new materials unleaded fuel requires back in the 80’s. If they had, virtually every flying GA engine would now be totally ready for unleaded. I hope this Pulitzer Prize winning mom, who doesn’t want her daughter to have to undergo any more cancer treatments, wins that battle and we start seeing 100UL in airports all over the US very soon.

    • At the very least there would be concern over it containing Carbon Monoxide (CO). Good news is that CO tends to rise, since it is lighter than air. There may also be unburned fuel being spewed out, so I don’t think that would be healthy to breathe.

  9. Although I left Taxifornia 14 years ago, I was born and raised there. I find it amazing that noone that I know of has connected certain dots. Living in NORCAL, in the 70’s and 80’s we raced in SOCAL. MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of cars emitting lead to the extent you couldn’t even see the mountains surrounding the valley. During the summer you couldn’t even take a deep breath. Anyone check into how many cancer patients there were back then? Kids with cancer? I’m certain you would find that the cases per million were WAY lower than they are today. Then compare the number of cancer/other serious issues there were back then compared to now in a location not even close to an airport. Gee, it might not be the issue we all should be looking at. Such as big pharma.
    Anyone check to see how many Jabs the kids were getting in the 70’s and 80’s compared to now? Nope. To clarify, I’m not saying this doesn’t need to be done, just that it needs to be done for the right reasons.

    • Excellent point, partner14! We can start by citing the right reasons! The Mayo Clinic has a great rindown that you can look up online, but the long and short is that lead negatively affects mental and physical development. Peer-reviewed research published in 2022 estimated that IQ loss of as much as 7 points could be attributed to the presence of lead in gasoline.

      Lead causes other health problems as well, but cancer is not cited as a primary effect. Neither have vaccines been found to be linked to increases in cancer (I think that’s a point you were trying to make?).

      Have a great day!

    • I lived on or near Edwards AFB in the Mojave Desert (Antelope Valley) NE of LA for 27 years. The air there was always fresh and clean and the mountains were mostly always visible. But as soon as you went “over the hill” down into the San Fernando Valley and beyond, you descended into a smog filled morass of dirty LA air. During the 15 1/2 years I was at Edwards, I was a healthy dude. When I retired in 1988 and found employment near downtown LA for five years, I started getting sick more often, my eyes watered and other maladies started popping up. Transferring back to the high desert after five years, it all went away. SO … you bring up a salient point, here. This woman is blaming the airplanes — and it may well BE airplane lead she’s finding? — but how about lead from autos over all the decades prior to lead being removed? Photochemical smog portends bigger issues.

      Most folks don’t realize that 13% of the population of the US lives in California … ~40M (sic). And of that 13%, 25% or ~10M live in LA county. And the population of the surrounding metro SOCAL area is even higher for a total of 5% of the US. So over all the years of cars, et al, have been spewing there, I think it’s a bit much for ME to believe that this woman — with an unfortunate story — can be SO certain that the trace amounts of lead she found are FROM airplanes at LGB. Further, that the lead is the cause of or possible future issues with her child. Seems to me she’s choosing to fight Goliath when, in fact, all she has to do is get away from that airport. I have empathy but not sympathy for her situation. If she’s a prize winning journalist, she KNOWS how to use that skill to make noise. I’d like to see her prove to a court that the trace amounts of lead she’s finding came from LGB.
      And as for the noise complaints, same story. Those people live near an airport … what the hell do they THINK they’re gonna hear daily … quiet? Where I live now, my local airport (filled with Echo Romeo airplanes) endures daily complaints. So when the lead issue is ameliorated, the complainers will be moaning about noise. And when they manage to kill aviation, they’ll be moaning about not being able to fly to distant places commercially. I liken them to the current protesters. If they ain’t moaning about this … it’ll be that.

      • You seem to have an open mind, which is fortunate. But the remark by Ms Shepler is inappropriate in that she is misguided about airport emissions.
        Airports are good neighbors since they are large and actually emit very little in the way of emissions and particulates. A busy general aviation airport might do 30 movements per hour. A high performance single engine aircraft might burn 10 to 12 gallons per hour, and the lead emissions are minuscule. Much of the lead is retained in the oil and trapped in the filter. Some is emitted, but planes move very fast so very little emission is possible over a location.
        Reid-Hillview Arport in Santa Clara County hired a consultant who took soil samples in a three mile radius around the airport, and every sample came up with a consistent hit of lead, but left over from auto days of using leaded fuel. The airport lead samples were below readable levels (except next to the run up area).
        The hysteria over low lead aviation fuel is inappropriate and misplaced.

    • Partner14 – Lori Shepler is NOT alleging that her daughter got cancer from lead in aviation fuel or from lead in anything else.

      The article clearly states that the child got cancer as a baby and has been in remission for years. The child recently (and years after getting cancer) starting to go to school located near an airport. See this section, “For Shepler, the airplanes ceased to be a mere annoyance. They became spewers of poison that were unleashing toxins on a little girl who had already been through so much. Getting to school was such a victory and now it became, in Shepler’s mind, an existential threat.”

      So, Shepler is not alleging that lead caused her child’s cancer. Rather, she does not want her child, a cancer surviver, to be exposed to lead from aircraft exhaust.

  10. This lady, and others like her, understand a simple fact that many in general aviation do not or refuse to understand. The fact is, the general public’s PERCEPTION of the issue is far more powerful than facts and statistics. As a journalist, she understands that once the general public is alerted and mobilized to the simple fact that leaded fuel, a known hazardous substance, is being burned adjacent to and above their neighborhoods, no amount of facts and figures will provide a defense. The simple fact is, she is correct. That one simple fact cannot be denied or defended no matter how many facts, figures, and statistics ARE put up against it.

    If you do not believe the above statement, one only has to look at the regulatory changes that came about after the Colgan Air crash in 2009. Despite the NTSB findings concerning fatigue, inadequate training, and the captain’s past history, politicians were pushed by emotional public opinion into passing laws making the ATP mandatory for both pilots. A rule that few, if any other countries have and have made no measurable improvements on safety.

    General aviation has known for DECADES that leaded fuel was an issue. Lead became an issue in auto fuel in the 1970s and was eliminated by 1996. So it was known at least 45 years ago that lead in aviation fuel was a problem. Even when it was made illegal in auto fuel 28 years ago, general aviation should have realized that this problem would eventually arrive at our airports. Yet we as a group are still fighting its removal and denying that it is a problem. What many do not realize is the main issue is its mere presence and continued use.

    The problem is going to get worse unless efforts are made to accept the fact that lead needs to be eliminated from aviation and move on. The public is NOT concerned with the costs or effects on our aircraft. General aviation is already seen by many in the public as a rich man’s hobby and once this is weaponized along with noise and lead issues, politicians will begin to pass legislation against general aviation and in the public’s favor. The public’s PERCEPTION of the issues will invariably win over reality every time.

    • I must have missed this woman is a journalist. I now don’t trust her samples. The minute a journalist becomes an activist, they are no longer a journalist, and given the history, deserve the highest amounts of skepticism. Kronkite lied and cried on national television and is still revered for it by the American journalist community.

      • Well said brother, where did you serve? C-130 pilot based at Clark AB here.
        BTW, you can sample dirt anywhere in the LA basin and find lead from the millions of cars burning it years ago. So the contribution of airplanes is yet to be found.

        • I said that, above, Tom … LA is a DIRTY place to live. When this woman can prove the lead came out of an airplane, THEN she has a case.

          • Hi, Larry S! Actually, the proof that lead comes out of an airplane can be found in any chemistry textbook! It’s a simple mass balance – except for the small amounts retained on the valve seats and spark plug electrodes, as much lead comes out of the exhaust stack as goes into the gas tank. The only source of lead as a product of combustion now is aircraft piston engines burning 100LL.

            Have a great day!

    • GJ, the general aviation community has begged for 92 octane unleaded fuel — it’s call auto fuel, and many thousands of light aircraft can use it (provided that it has no ethanol in it).
      But liability has deterred the engine manufacturers (Lycoming and Continental, Continental being China owned) due to higher liability premiums on new engine designs as well as “statute of repose” which limits liability beyond twenty years (the statute applies to aircraft and I think that it applies to engines and propellers – unsure about that).
      Airport fuel suppliers baulked at having dual fuel vending systems due to cost, so they were happy to have “one fuel fits all”, being 100 octane. (some airport fuel vendors did offer auto fuel but when ethanol was forced upon refiners that went away due to freezing issues with ethanol).There are other issues, however. Valves and rings might require leaded fuel (although new engines could be built compatibly by Lycoming and Continental, but they haven’t budged, have they?) and the lead does provide lubrication as well.
      Th

  11. My perception of this particular journalistic publication is that it has taken a particular side, and a lot of the most vocal commenters agree with it. That’s ok, but I don’t think of it as balanced journalism at the moment.

      • The Leftist alarmist Side….. If I wrote that story I would have suggested that California Mom, might have thought a little more before moving next to an airport and now that she has taken on her new “woke” opinions, that perhaps she should move. After all let’s weigh her unscientific opinion against the greater good of 1000’s of pilots. Most medical experts would say that cancer is mostly due to DNA not external forces. That’s why there are so many cases of lung cancer from people that have never smoked or been around it. In California in particular, it’s much easier to place blame on some boogey man. Like the “every 10 year” climate scare the left has been doing for decades. Hey, look…we’re still here. The oceans haven’t risen.

        • Every scientific/medical opinion you have offered is false. Every… single… one.

          First, medical experts are in agreement that most cancers are due to both genetic susceptibility and external exposures. Second, it is universally accepted that lung cancer in the US is overwhelmingly due to smoking and radon exposure, both external. Third, climate change is real, the data are very clear. BTW, I am a medical expert and I have been for over 40 years.

      • “Which side have we taken?”

        The one that values objectivity and integrity for starters….

  12. “To clarify, I’m not saying this doesn’t need to be done, just that it needs to be done for the right reasons.”

    Actually, you *are* saying it does not need to be done since you end with a qualifier that had no meaning. What are the right reasons? Yours? What if others feel they have the “right” reasons that differ.

    the irony for me is as I read all the comments basically against change, they most likely come from pilots that drive to the airport in their government mandated/regulated vehicle that runs on UL fuel, because the Government pushed the change starting in the late 70s. Lead is not good for people so any way to get rid of it in our environment is a good reason.

    Yet even though the Government opened the door for UL fuel in aviation, it is business ands personal road blocks (I’m not getting a damn STC) that seem to be creating the issue, not the Government (via the FAA).

    So, instead of helping to work a solution, many here posting seems to want to remain a problem, one that eventually FAA will be forced to push hard on compliance as UL fuel in aviation will happen, one way or the other.

    • Right reasons would be valid scientific ones I suspect. If you haven’t noticed, our academic, media, and government institutions have all become justifiably suspect.

      So no, the qualifier does not invalidate the sentence and never did. You are trying to steal a base in the discussion with that logic, intentionally or not.

  13. Last night I watched “Dark Waters” on NETFLIX. I strongly recommend this educational movie for all Americans of any age. It is a true story about forever chemicals (PFOA, PFOS, PFAS) and corporate greed. It is a true story about one lawyer, and a few concerned citizens, that put it all on-the -line to save us from the ilk at Dupont.

    In this movie you will see fighters like the “Mom” mentioned in Russ’s article being smothered by the corrupt system. Instead of Dupont it is ExxonMobil, NATA, ASTM.

    It is time to put 100LL in the rear view mirror. It is time for communities to take it upon themselves to replace 100LL with 100UL. Just do it.

    • Jeff, it’s easy to criticize so it’s best to offer a constructive replacement, as in, “Replace with what?”
      Low Lead reduced the lead content with Toluene, but it is an unstable chemical which does provide retardant qualities but rots rubber components like O rings and fuel bladders. Going to 100 Octane Unleaded requires doubling the Toluene component which also further shortens rubber life.
      I agree that lead in the environment is undesirable, and the solution seems to be tort protection for the engine manufacturers. 75% of piston aircraft can use auto fuel without ethanol, so why not go there? (25% have either turbo chargers and/or high compression engine, all requiring 100 octane).

  14. As a chemist who understands how to determine chemical compositions of materials and also the toxic effects of human exposure to compounds, here to tell you that exposure to lead containing compounds above 3.5 micrograms/deciliter in blood leads to neural degeneration and damage to primary organs. Some people have an enzyme ALAD2 which makes them particularly sensitive to binding lead in their blood. 100 LL contains less than 0.1% tetraethyl lead and ethylene dibromide (another toxic chemical). There are sources of lead pollution that are greater than the use of 100 LL such as ore processing, lead battery production, waste incinerators. As pilots who burn 100 LL, we contribute to the problem, but given the other sources of lead emission, it’s difficult to claim that a geographic area is solely contaminated by use of Avgas alone. That being said, it’s difficult to change strongly held beliefs on the benefits of using tetraethyl lead, as such low concentrations, in Avgas, which which is essentially car gas without the addition of ethanol. These alternative chemical mixtures as new fuels have proven to provide the necessary compression and ignition energy required by aircraft engines.

    • An actual scientist commenting about “the science.” How novel!

      And thank you for your balanced reply.

    • I think you ought to add the fact that aircraft owners do not value lead in their fuel because they love toxins, to your thoughts. They are simply tired of getting kicked around, threatened, and made to pay ridiculous sums when they have been following the rules for decades. The government caused these issues, and needs to, at the minimum, stop the abuse.

      • Since you like to comment on posts here, let me clarify. The strongly held beliefs of the benefits of using TEL are that it helps on valve wear and anti-knocking during ignition. Did not suggest that pilots love toxins. Maybe you should be more specific next time and not so accusatory.

        • Which has little to nothing to do with my point. Yes, I do like to post here. I’m very passionate about GA, and this topic in particular.
          I said what I said because you, like so many others here, posted information on the dangers of lead.
          Why? I may be mistaken, but cannot think of any reason unless it’s to point out that it’s dangerous. And why would anyone think that information is at all relevant to discussions among people who all agree? It seems to me it’s a tactic, and backed by an agenda. Maybe I’m wrong. I think I, and others who love flying planes and/or worked in the industry, have EVERY reason to be paranoid.

    • BINGO. “Lead Battery Production.” In La Puente W of downtown LA, there’s one of the few lead acid battery recyclers in the western US. There’s been a long-standing suit against this company for higher-than-normal cancer rates. And that’s just ONE of hundreds of other polluters in the very dirty LA Basin. Personally, living in LA is hazardous to one’s health IMHO.

      • The company fitting the description is Exide Technologies, which operated a lead-acid battery recycling plant in Vernon, near downtown Los Angeles. Exide’s plant was one of the few lead-acid battery recyclers in the western United States. The facility faced numerous lawsuits and regulatory actions due to its environmental and health impacts, including elevated cancer rates and lead contamination in the surrounding communities. The plant was shut down in 2015, but the site remains a significant concern due to ongoing contamination and cleanup efforts.

    • For the last quarter century, the EPA’s National Emissions Inventory (NEI) data has shown that GA planes have been the largest source of lead emissions every year. On an average, that has been about 70% of all new lead. Some states, such as California, Florida, and Texas have well over 80%. Yet you state: “There are sources of lead pollution that are greater than the use of 100 LL such as ore processing, lead battery production, waste incinerators.” What is your source?

      • Since you quoted a very questionable source, did they bother to provide what counts as “emissions”. Just asking because that would seem very relevant. I personally do not think it matters, since the idea that any amount of lead exposure is dangerous no matter how small would be contrary to science. Also, I still do not believe anyone here is pro lead. People here are simply trying to keep using the sky and avoid getting abused for that desire.

    • Avgas is absolutely NOTHING like ‘car gas without the addition of ethanol’ and as a FUELS chemist since the 1980’s and in particular an AVGAS chemist, I can assure you that your statements about both composition and suitability of alternatives are not based in fact, and are in fact, far from it.

    • The lead compound emissions from burning avgas is lead-dibromide . So, an analysis of the lead bearing sample can distinguish that from lead-oxide from lead paint.
      I don’t know if leaded auto gas had any additives like the ethylene-dibromide in avgas.

      BTW, the smog in the LA area was from unburned hydrocarbons and NOx. The added requirement of the Cat. converter eliminated both emissions, but the converter is damaged by any lead in the exhaust, so it was required to be eliminated, and now unleaded auto gas .

  15. All the money and angst spent on finding a replacement for 100LL has been wasted. Instead the likes of Lycoming, Continental and the FAA should have developed a series of diesel engines to obviate the need for some “drop in” unleaded avgas.
    Then the aviation world would have one fuel–Jet A.
    The unleaded drop in fuels will become very expensive.

  16. It appears that big business always comes first, then human health and a healthy planet last. The solution is simple. There is a reason for using lead. Just find a better medium that is healthier, more profitable and works better. Then big business will change over night!

  17. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that emotions trump facts but somehow it always does. The facts are simple:

    * There is still lead in avgas in the form of tetraethyl lead.

    * Lead is a health risk for people.

    * Lead is a problem for aircraft engines, which would run better if it wasn’t present. (And, yes, we may need to adjust valve seat composition in our cylinders.)

    * We have one approved unleaded avgas already.

    This is a solved problem. Why are we arguing?

    • Price, availability, liability, and careerism in the FAA. This, unfortunately, isn’t the only straw. There’s a reason the school activity is now concentrated in a few places which is one of the reasons this is a problem. The primary problem is innovation in piston aviation being suppressed starting about the time the FAA was formed.

      • “HA!” Time for MY favorite euphemism …

        “The FAA … making simple S^%T hard since 1958.”

  18. “Too many cooks spoil the broth”…and of course every cook must have an equal say-so, the ideal society shall be equitable, you know. Perhaps it IS time for an application of the Tsar’s Finger solution.

  19. Lead is bad for people;
    Lead is bad for engines;
    Facts folks!
    Stop the ludicrous footdragging; defending the undefendable status quo!
    We all grew up with the myth that lead was a good thing; not true; never was true;
    Get over it; now!

    • No, please stop raising those points as if they are in any way relevant. That is all agreed upon. Frankly, it’s very insulting you guys keep posting that. I’m not sure what your agenda is. Virtue signaling? Greed? Trolling?

      The serious adults are discussing how to get rid of it. Please be constructive.

  20. Thank you, Russ, for another piece of good reporting that stands in particular relief to the predictable comments that followed it.

  21. When I was a kid living outside a small town of 2,000 souls, we’d take our rifles (BB to .30-06) out in the nearby fields and shoot at targets. (My favorite was dead light bulbs; if you hit one dead-on with a .22, it would leave a ring of glass connected to both sides of the base.) Over time, the town grew and our farmer neighbors developed their properties into subdivisions. We had to go further to shoot or hunt. It was a lot less convenient to drive than just cross the ditch, but we did so, just less frequently. I was back there a month ago. Everywhere we used to go “play with our toys” is covered in houses, and there are ordinances regarding the discharge of firearms within “x” feet of a structure, and justifiably so.

    I learned to fly in my uncle’s Cub, off of his neighbor’s (relatively flat) hayfield. He soon purchased a long narrow strip of bottom land along a creek so he and his flying buddies would have a place to fly. At some point, it was recognized with an FAA identifier, but nothing else changed. For fifty years it was a haven for GA, being just outside the Class Bravo. Today, you can see where it was on Google Maps because it’s the oddly-shaped “park” that is parallel to the six-lane highway, and is surrounded by houses. The creek is now buried in a culvert.

    My point is that “lead exposure” is merely a 2d nail among the 10d’s in many GA airport’s coffin. And perhaps deservedly so. Population encroachment, in one form or another, is the cause of most airport closures. There comes a time in every small GA airport’s lifetime where metastatic growth will threaten it. If it’s lucky, there will be enough commercial activity and thus funds (and thus political support) to purchase adjacent land as a buffer for a while. But eventually, the value of the land for something other than an airport will seal its coffin. Local TEL exposure is merely a merely a brad in an inexorable process.

    I’ll bet that there is nowhere around LGB that you can shoot soup-cans off of a fence post any more, either.

  22. In my opinion, lead in avgas is the wrong aviation issue. I suspect that if a study was done on the effects of aircraft emissions on the populations around airports, the exhast from jet engines would turn up as a more significant problem, i.e. a potential cause of asthma in children and suseptable adults. Recall that there was a significant effort in California several years ago to clean up deisel exhaust, the reported of negative health effects on the population. Jet enging exhaust effects have never been investigated as I recall. I know that GA and GA airports are an easy targets and Air Carriers and major air carrier airports would be a much harder target, but if health concerns are the real issue, lets take a look at the major aircarrier airports as well.

    The polititions are equally to blame for the GA lead effects problem as their plannng departments have allowed homes and schools to be built right up to the airport fence line. Of course, the politions leave office and are never held accountable. The airport suffers and often disappears.

    • The majority want their cars, pools, and airlines. Those things will not get attacked. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of sick and twisted people who care not about the happiness, welfare, or lives of others. They will constantly attack things that have no appreciable effect on them for all sorts of reasons including tribalism, virtue signaling, and greed.
      We must never give into them, and always fight them.

  23. i have a new Continental IO-550 in my airplane under warranty. An email from Mr. Cateli, CMTechnical, using G100UL in my Continental engine is not authorized & would void my warranty! Continental M-O manual Table 7-2 Authorized Fuels by Engine Model does not include G100UL.

    • 1992 Los Angeles Riots
      1994 Northridge Earthquake
      2003 Cedar Fire
      You are welcome to call the Los Angeles Times photo desk or news desk and verify these facts.

  24. I’m surprised with the current administration in office that the FAA doesn’t just come out and decree that they will not certify any new avgas burning engine or piston airplane that requires any leaded fuels.

    • Matt, I applaud your sentiment, but the major engine manufacturers are not offering new technology. They just keep selling or overhauling the sixty plus years of engine design. That intransigence is a major part of the problem.

  25. GB and GAMI don’t want to submit their formula for ASTM certification because they know the oil companies will steal it without compensation.

    How about this lady (if she has so much horsepower) convince the oil companies to buy the rights to G100UL for $Ms or a $B, and let GB walk away a rich man. They can then submit the formula for ASTM certification.

    They would easily recoup their investment in no time.

    Problem solved.

  26. WE HAVE A ZERO LEAD FUEL for the training fleet, had it for over 4 decades now (they just wont sell E-0 MoGas or unleaded AvGas). That’s why AOPA/AvWeb and all the aviation advocacy groups can go to hell. All the groups that said “it’s too expensive to have 2 pumps for GA” are now seeing that not having 91/94 unleaded alternatives is biting ALL of aviation in the ass. Give us a 2nd pump with unleaded non-100 octane NOW for small planes or even your Bonanza’s and Cirrus’s lose airports and access.

    • That’s not very complete, AJ. What fleet, where, and what does this have to do with airports that do not have large training fleets? What is your response to the engine damage issue that recently came up?

      • THIS story is about a training fleet. We’ve had recent similar stories about closing runways and limiting airports because of “training” activity causing “lead pollution”. I’m talking about getting E-0 MoGas and Unleaded AvGas at airports, not some voodo-blend more expensive 100 octane. Stop the “100 octane fits all” and you can solve a lot of the lead issues NOW.

  27. So, when are you buying the Braly STC for his G100UL?

    More than 1 million gallons of G100 UL unleaded fuel now available via STC purchase.

    Mister Mulligan became the first airplane to perform with G100UL during Sun’ n Fun.

    When the famous Howard DGA-6 replica “Mister Mulligan” performed in the air show at the 2024 SUN ’n FUN Aerospace Expo, it made another kind of history.

    It became the first airplane to fly on G100UL high octane unleaded avgas in an air show.

    Developed by General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI), G100UL was approved in September 2022 by the FAA for use in all spark ignition piston engines in the FAA’s type certificate database through the Supplemental Type Certificate process.

    This means if you want to use the fuel in your airplane, you’ll have to buy the Braly STC.

    More than 650 STC’s have been sold so far, according to company officials.

  28. Another fan of the Braly G100UL fuel is Doug Rozendaal, who flies “Mister Mulligan.”

    The Howard replica is powered by a Pratt and Whitney R-1340 engine, but Rozendaal has also flown with G100UL in his 10-1 compression Lycoming-powered TRF-1 Rocket.

    “In both aircraft there were no operational differences between G100UL and 100LL fuel,” he said. “Fuel flows were slightly lower and EGTs slightly higher, but imperceptible without modern engine monitoring. Based on my experience I believe G100UL is a suitable drop-in replacement for 100LL fuel.”

    When the FAA’s Wichita office completed its review, officials there told GAMI that the “G100UL avgas STC project is the single most thoroughly vetted and documented STC project in memory in that office.”

    Having a sophisticated engine test stand in house proved to be critical to GAMI’s success, according to Braly.

    But while GAMI officials say the fuel is commercially available, others in the general aviation industry dispute that, including the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), which says until Braly goes through the ASTM approval process with his brew of G100UL, FBOs will be hesitant to stock it and engine manufacturers will void engine warranties if it G10UL is used.

    • The whole “commercially available” argument should be ignored. It’s a bunch of lawyers arguing over terms so they can do lawsuit type things. If it’s going to be discussed, it ought to be in recognition of why it’s an issue and what the best outcome should be and why.

  29. And just as I suspected, so much obstinance in the pilot community. More focused on political ideals than the realities. Do busy GA airports contribute meaningfully to lead emissions in the air around them, DOESN’T MATTER. Probably the single most important thing in this article is the discussion of the relative lack of public awareness that aviation fuel still contains lead and how the “noise complainers” are leveraging that to drive their own agendas toward closing airports.

    But of course the GA community, who never found a regulation they couldn’t complain about, is more interested in arguing over whether or not the lead issue is an issue. Tossing out political insults and idealisms rather than focus on what is actually important, keeping our airports open so we can enjoy our past time.

    Here’s the truth. Technologically speaking, it’s beyond ridiculous that 40+ years after automobiles stopped burning lead, we’re still burning it in or aircraft. There is no reason the aviation community shouldn’t embrace fully the initiative to get rid of lead in our fuels. Through cooperation, we could shape the future, make sure our concerns are addressed and work with those who don’t seek to shut us down but just ask that we do things better/different.

    But instead we obstinately say, hell no you can’t take my lead. We find every possible excuse to keep the lead in our fuels. We only offer obstructions rather than cooperation and solutions. So what does this mean for us? We lose the ability to be part of controlling our future. We have requirements thrust upon us by governments, regulations, and groups who’d prefer we didn’t exist anymore. So all the while while we stomp our feet, try to block at every turn, etc. we’re losing ground and just shooting ourselves in the feet. This is not a good pathway we’re on here and we will lose in the end. Non-aviation people outnumber us exponentially and the haters are winning more of them to their side than we are to ours.

    • Sorry, Alyssa … no one here is DEMANDING that lead stay in our fuel. Given a choice, we’d love to have lead free fuel with its intended maintenance advantages but … we don’t have that choice just now. G100UL IS approved and does exist but we can’t get it just now for the reasons given. You need to re-read the article.
      I have cars decades old that have never had the spark plugs out. There’s no reason that airplanes couldn’t also enjoy similar advantages save for the ineptitude and intransigence of our FAA bureaucrats, et al. So given that we’re stuck with the engines we have, either the lead has to stay OR we have access to G100UL.

    • Please stop comparing car engines to airplane engines. They both have similar systems but that is all. The way they operate are completely different. Also, most Continental engines do not have hardened valve seats, so they are not a candidate for unleaded fuel.

  30. As others here have stated directly or implied, PUBLIC OPINION IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. When talented people like Lori Shepler come along to focus public opinion, nothing matters except what people think and believe. Those who oppose getting the lead out for whatever reason cannot possibly win against the tidal flow of public opinion. Watch out! That flood has only just begun, and when it reaches the tipping point, it will be unstoppable.

  31. Hey Russ, I appreciate your understanding that lead is primarily a health issue, but I wish you would stop beating around the bush. It’s us, the folks sumping fuel and overhauling Lycomings, that suffer the most from lead exposure. I’d be really interested in blood lead level tests of students before and after flight training, and especially, A&P school programs. The nature of A&P work subjects one to a lot of fuel residue and engine exhaust, and it’s personally the reason why I don’t work on small airplanes.

  32. So her soil samples taken from the footpath right next to a road that had tens of thousands of cars spewing out lead oxide for decades, are supposed to be relevant to current GA ops at the airport? Fantastic that we’ve got such a git involved on the left wing nutter side, because fighting against that sort of ‘non-evidence’ will make the court battle be over by lunchtime on the first day!

    • All she has to prove is that lead is coming out of the exhaust. Leaded fuel is going into the aircraft, so lead has to be coming out of the exhaust system in some form. This may be scarier than lead found in airport soil samples. Since the lead is being spread through the exhaust into the air while aircraft are in the pattern, it is spread over much wider areas such as homes, schools, playgrounds, parks, and shopping centers. This is much scarier than a few soil samples from around an airport where few citizens visit and kids may play. Remember, lead is considered to be toxic in ANY amount.

      Besides, as I mentioned in an earlier post this will be a battle fought mainly in the court of public opinion. Get enough people calling their elected officials demanding they pass legislation to “save the children” by restrictions on airports using 100LL and the battle is won.

      • This is WHY I left AOPA some 20 years ago. No support whatsoever for UNLEADED AvGas or E-0 MoGas for small planes. Now all this “we can’t have a 2nd pump at the airport” is coming home to roost. Honestly I’m cheering this lady on because I saw this coming for decades that TRAINING planes were forced to have 100 octane only. Even now people won’t even give us small planes the option and would rather force a new (more expensive) 100 octane on small planes.

    • “Fantastic that we’ve got such a git involved on the left wing nutter side,” Really Mr Skygypsy..? A git? Does it bring you happiness or strength to go after people who are just trying to make a positive difference in the lives of children, especially for a cancer survivor who is more vulnerable to toxins like lead? If the folks with the Long Beach airport and the city of Long Beach haven’t tested the air, the soil, or children for lead, and it’s the #2 lead emitting airport in America, then what’s wrong with trying to get more data about this serious and important issue? Who said anyone is taking those lead sample tests to court? How about if some of the lead in the soil sample tests were taken over 20 feet away from the street and right in front of the entrance to a middle school that’s near the airport and the lead levels were over 200 which is the EPA’s removal management level if children are in that area? (Ex. Trenton, NJ pottery factories story) Fyi, CA screening level of lead in soil is 80 and anything below that is considered to be safe for kids. Do you not believe that lead is coming out of the exhaust of the GA planes or falling to the ground? Do you not care about how there is no safe level of lead exposure in a child and that even a small amount of lead in a child can cause health issues? You believe that someone who is trying to get the lead out of the skies is on the left wing nutter side? Please do explain. PS, are you doing anything to make the world healthier and better for humans or animals?

  33. Looking at the labels on many consumer products you could conclude everything causes cancer in California.

    • Looking at the fact that cancer is the second largest cause of death worldwide, you could conclude that California is right.

      • I can report that an unnamed person of my acquaintance, having tested it for some hundreds of hours of routine flight operations, can confirm that an O470 runs just fine on mogas with ethanol.

        • This theoretical person must live in the high desert. Here in the gulf coast openly vented ethanol gas sucks in a lot of water in no time!

  34. Here is a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, who was asked to test for lead at an aircraft repair facility.
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2012-0115-3186.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwievO6BsI2GAxVmFjQIHb57DM4QFnoECCUQAQ&usg=AOvVaw16jxJOp-FPMAKYlILLIIRy

    They found very low levels of lead in the facility, the mechanics and their blood.
    so, the rest of us and pilots look to be at very low risk from any lead from aircraft exhaust.!

  35. Referencing the photo of Shepler gathering a soil sample alongside a highway, note what the Mayo Clinic has to say:

    “Lead particles from leaded gasoline or paint settle on soil and can last years. Lead-contaminated soil is still a major problem around highways and in some urban settings.”

    Lead in auto gasoline wasn’t banned in California until 1992. I suspect there is no way to trace the origin of the lead Shepler found alongside a roadway, so to blame it on 100LL-burning airplanes is not supported by evidence.

    • Attached is the study performed by Dr. Zahran on children who are living near RHV airport. If children living closer and downwind of the airport showed higher blood lead levels than others, it might tend to rule out other sources of lead, such as legacy, that would have caused this increase. It may be good to note that this was the 3rd such test on children living near airports since 2008 that showed an increase in BBLs. You don’t have to believe it, but if the RHV study had not been made, most of this conversation would not be taking place. https://academic.oup.com/pnasnexus/article/2/1/pgac285/6979725?searchresult=1&mc_cid=e8f420a332&mc_eid=161e6ef1ea

    • The Mayo Clinic is spot on Steve and thanks for digging those facts up. Lead does stick around in soil for years and years.

      There actually is a way to test if the lead came from 100LL. A town commissioned 2022 USGS water study near the Morey Airport in WI found that six of two residential private drinking water wells tested positive for the lead isotope for Morey Airport’s leaded avgas.

      Fyi, some of the lead in the soil sample tests near the Long Beach airport were taken over 20 feet away from the street and right in front of the entrance to a middle school that’s near the airport and the lead levels were over 200 which is the EPA’s removal management level if children are in that area. (Ex. Trenton, NJ pottery factories story) Fyi, CA screening level of lead in soil is 80 and anything below that is considered to be safe for kids.

      Samples were taken in numerous areas, many of them were far from away from the streets.
      Clearly it wasn’t in anyway an official study.

      Are more official studies on these lead emissions in the air, soil, and in children’s blood even needed since it’s already been proven that they pose a danger to public health, especially for children since they are more vulnerable and there is no safe level of lead?
      There is a safe, fully approved by the FAA unleaded avgas and it could completely end these lead emissions in America once and for all.

  36. “no way to trace the origin of the lead…”

    Very likely true. Unfortunately, in the court of public opinion, it will not play well if the two next sentences are: “So you shouldn’t be alarmed if we add just a little bit more. You shouldn’t care, because we don’t want to pay fifteen percent more for avgas and somebody else already f**ked it up anyway!” This is “How to get an airport closed, Class 101”

  37. Tired of all this! After years of debates and discussions about the transition to unleaded aviation gasoline, it’s frustrating to see the process still mired in technical, regulatory, and political obstacles. Despite the approval of GAMI’s G100UL, the lack of ASTM certification and resistance from the fuel transportation industry have created an impasse. Meanwhile, alternative fuels are still undergoing lengthy testing. It’s disheartening to know that health concerns, particularly around lead emissions, are being sidelined. The aviation industry needs to prioritize public health and expedite the transition to unleaded fuel to eliminate these persistent and harmful lead emissions.

    • No the aviation industry doesn’t have to prioritize public health. That’s what you believe. It’s been proven that there is no harmful effect and yet you spew this garbage like fact. It is not.

      • The aviation industry never promised to keep people healthy – their sole interest is on commerce. They say safety too, but that is an easily debated issue as of late. The Health Departments across the US have committed to keeping people healthy yet none of them have recognized the largest source of new lead emissions, until 2019, for the last quarter century.

  38. All you people in CA are getting exactly what you deserved. It’s a one party commie state and well, good on you.

    • Runing for VP, DD? California’s political landscape is a mix. While it leans Democratic, especially in urban areas, there’s a significant conservative presence in rural regions. This diversity of views reflects the state’s vastness.

      Economically, California is a powerhouse. With a population of 39 million and a GDP exceeding $3.89 trillion, it would be the world’s fifth-largest economy as a standalone nation. Its leadership in tech, agriculture, entertainment, and green energy is undeniable, fueled by – sometimes debated – policies.

      For those who dismiss California as “communist,” reality offers a different picture. The state remains firmly within the U.S. While the image of a surfer and a Hollywood producer sharing a beach might be a quirky Californian stereotype, it highlights the state’s diverse and vibrant character.

      More importantly, California’s “one party commie statel” label ignores its achievements in innovation and clean energy. These advancements benefit the entire country.

      • Yes, there are diverse political views in California. The problem is that one of them sits in absolute control of the state’s government. The rural conservatives do get to vote, yes, but in essence their votes don’t count in selecting who sits in any statewide office.

        As for the rest, the innovations I assume you refer to do not spring from government policy; what does are things like my $600 summer electric bills, mogas that costs $1.50 per gallon more than the national average and a bureaucratic thicket that insures building badly needed housing at an affordable price is impossible.

        • John, I see your point about California’s politics and the frustrations for conservative voters. While many innovations in tech and green energy involve both private companies and government, high costs for energy and housing are real problems. My understanding is that these costs partly come from investing in renewable energy and complicated building rules. Back in 1980 my house electric bill run $900/mo. So, I feel your pain, especially as a retiree on a fixed income.

          Simplistically, California is a noble, and a complicated place influenced by it’s political diversity, as wellas many internal and external factors. Despite the challenges, it remains a strong economy.

          The state’s mix of industries, from tech to agriculture to entertainment, helps it stay resilient. Even with high living costs and political disagreements, California’s economic strength and innovative spirit benefit not just the state but the whole country. I would think that California needs balanced solutions and popular unity to address the issues and make sure everyone benefits from California’s success.

          • There is zero political diversity, as progressive democrats have supermajorities of both the Assembly and the Senate, and have controlled the executive branch for over a decade. I’m a California native and have witnessed the shift from a heterogeneous state with an incredibly diverse and vital economy to a one-party kleptocracy whose mission is to redistribute wealth, buy votes, indoctrinate kids into progressive ideology, and force-feed technologies and projects that no investor would ever consider (e.g., High Speed Rail to nowhere). Great weather and the legacy of an incredibly innovative and productive tech economy will continue to attract talent and capital to the State, but at some point, the government of the State of California will run out of OPM. I would never send my children to the public schools and universities that I attended in California, and I will be leaving as soon as I retire in 2 years. It has been a nice run, but the inmates are running the asylum.

      • “Economically, California is a powerhouse”

        No, they have a debt of 1.5 trillion and companies (and people) are streaming out every day. I do not think it’s “noble” to trash a previously beautiful state as what has happened in the last 15 years or so. What good is attacking an almost immeasurable health issue like aviation when the streets are full of poo and used hypodermic needles?

  39. Many well considered and researched comments to ponder. Ponder this: when there is a need someone/thing fills it. Where is the need for GA? we have airline flight schools and military flight training that fills a (perceived) need. What about the folks who want to fly out for the proverbial $100 burger with their friends? that seems to have sunk below the needed horizon for most of society as we are perceived as “rich, elite old boys (and a few girls) who contribute nothing to the “greater good” than spending a few bucks while “polluting the environment with our noisy contraptions that “fall out of the sky” injuring people. GA’s health impact is vanishingly small compared to the obesity epidemic promoted by chips and fizzy pop as well as all the fast food folks really “need” to feel happy! It’s an ugly downward spiral for health outcomes as well as tolerance for other people’s hobbies or vocations. The only solution is a good P.R. campaign that showcases the economic benefits and social/medical/societal impact our vocation/hobby can provide. That’s it, no other avenue will have any impact.

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