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study. Below, I have included comments from the many letters sent to Carnegie-Mellon, the New York Times, and Science magazine, among them ones from California Air Resources Board (the agency responsible for the 2% ZEV mandate), Union of Concerned Scientists, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (a leader in EV usage), and other watchdog groups. Look for an article in HP next issue. Michael Hackleman


"One of the study's major flaws was the fact its numerical analysis focused on the total amount of lead that might be discharged into the environment, without distinguishing between airborne particles—the most toxic form—and solid waste at smelting plants, called slag, which can easily be managed so there is little danger of human exposure. Simply looking at the pounds or tons of lead put into the environment strikes me as an incredibly blunt, if not clumsy, approach."— Don Ryan, Executive Director, Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, a national non-profit group

"Lead is the most recycled material used today. About 97% of the lead-acid batteries currently in use will be recycled to make new batteries. Studies show that recycling of lead is an environmentally safe procedure and poses no threat to the surrounding community."—Ruth McDougall, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

"In new battery manufacturing plants, lead emissions...will be limited by US Environmental Protection Agency regulations to an amount one-hundredth as great as the study assumed." — The Boston Globe

"The conclusions (of the Carnegie-Mellon piece) are misleading and overstated. Human exposure to lead, even if you had a substantial increase in use of batteries, is not going to be a problem."—Daniel Sperling, Director, Institute for Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis

"They (the Carnegie-Mellon authors) have really gone out of their way, for whatever reason, to really make electric cars look bad. For example, figures given in the study for an 'available technology' car overstate the weight of the batteries by a factor of three, and underestimate the energy those batteries can store by half."—Ronald Hwang, a Senior Analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists

"The study grossly overestimates the number of EVs expected to be on the road in the next decade. One of the study's key findings is premised on EVs making up 5% of the national car fleet (10 million EVs). California, Massachusetts and New York's zero-emission vehicle programs will put approximately 50,000 vehicles on the road in 1998 and just 500,000 by the year 2003. Cleaner, more efficient battery technologies, nickel-metal hydride, lithium polymer, i and composite flywheels, are already favored by some manufacturers and are likely to enter the I market by the year 2000. The bigger the market for EVs, the bigger the incentive for improved batteries."—Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists' Transportation Program

"Carnegie Mellon University has received money from petroleum and auto interests to support a consortium that funded the controversial study regarding the potential environmental effects of lead-acid batteries".—Science: Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

"The Carnegie Mellon study overestimates lead emission rates by a factor of 44 for primary smelting, 400 for battery manufacturing, and 1000 for secondary smelting."—Tom Cackette, Chief Deputy Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board

"As illustrated by this small sampling of reactions, the Carnegie-Mellon study was based on bad assumptions, old data, and biased representations. Therefore, the conclusions reached are highly suspect. It is unfortunate that a document ripe with mathematical errors and inconsistencies was given such a national forum and attention."—Patrick Kennedy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

"A gasoline vehicle with a flooded lead-acid battery would never be allowed to be commercialized in today's strict regulatory environment. Yet there are 49 million gasoline cars, each with a lead-acid battery." [There are an additional 139 million vehicles (trucks, buses, motorcycles, etc.) in the U.S., each with a lead-acid battery.]—Ruth McDougall, Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

(Quotes compiled by Ruth McDougall & Donna Worden)

3182, contractor to EPA on lead emission data.

•Lead & plastic: Johnson Controls and GNB Battery. •Lead only: Crown Battery and Douglas Battery. •Plastic only: Ford Products.


Steve McCrae, Editor, Why Wait For Detroit? Drive An Electric Car Today! 2314 Desota Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-1567 • 305-463-0158 • Fax 305-462-4423

EH Pechan & Associates, 3500 Westgate Dr. # 103, Durham NC 27707 • 919-493-3144 • Fax 919-493-

3182, contractor to EPA on lead emission data.

Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors, Volume I: Stationary Point and Area Sources, AP-42, published by the EPA. Special thanks to Randy Strait and T. Allan Dean.

National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report, 1991, EPA

USA Today, Nov. 13, 1991, "Used Motor Oil Called Key Lead Source" ®

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