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EPA: benefits to ban on leaded gas outweigh costs

The benefits of banning or severely restricting leaded gasoline ''substantially exceed the costs,'' says a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday.

The study comes at a critical time in the government's debate over further restrictions on lead pollutants, emitted mainly by the burning of gasoline in motor vehicles.

EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus said March 12 he is considering accelerating the nationwide phase-down in leaded gasoline. He noted growing concern among policymakers because of surveys showing about one-fifth of US motorists illegally misfuel their cars with leaded gas, which increases the amount of lead contamination in the atmosphere.

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