Skip Navigation LinksAviationGas

childhood lead poisoning prevention branch

Lead in Aviation Gas

What is aviation gas?

Aviation gas (also known as 'avgas') is a fuel commonly used by small piston-engine (propeller or rotary) aircraft and is the most widely used transportation fuel containing lead in the U.S. Lead from aviation gas emissions is an air pollutant that threatens the health of children. When lead air pollutants settle, they contaminate the neighborhoods around airports and can create soil and dust with levels of lead that are unsafe for children.

Why is this a concern?

There is no known safe level of lead childhood lead exposure. Lead is a toxic metal and can be especially harmful to children as their bodies are still rapidly growing. Lead poisoning can lead to lifelong learning, behavioral, reproductive, heart, and other health problems.

How can I keep my family safe?

  • If you live near a general aviation airport, have your child tested for lead​​
  • Use a high efficiency air particulate (HEPA) filter in your home to remove lead particles in the air​​​
  • ​Cover exposed soil with grass, plants, or another ground cover like bark or gravel​
  • Wet-wipe surfaces when cleaning
  • Wash your child's hands often; especially before eating and sleeping and after playing and using the bathroom
  • Remove shoes before entering the home​

Where can I get more information?

Screen shot of aviation gas flyerView/download the infographic – Bilingual (English/Spanish) (PDF) with information about aviation gas and tips for keeping your family safe.

1 The California Department of Public Health provided data and technical assistance for this study. Other California local health jurisdictions interested in conducting a local aviation gasoline study may contact for support. For questions about the Santa Clara County aviation gasoline study and blood lead testing for children, contact the Santa Clara County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at or 408-992-4900.

2 Leaded aviation gasoline may not be used at all airports.​​

Page Last Updated :