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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.

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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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