Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Santa Monica) on Tuesday sent a letter to Michael Huerta, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to encourage expanded use of unleaded fuels to reduce toxic lead emissions from general aviation aircraft, particularly in airports with close proximity to residential areas like Santa Monica Airport.

Although the FAA has committed to a replacement for leaded fuel by 2018, it may take 11 years or more to fully phase in a new fuel.

“General aviation fuel now accounts for half of the lead emissions in the United States,” said Waxman, who is running for re-election in the newly-created 33rd Congressional District against Independent businessman Bill Bloomfield. “It is a major concern for residents living near the Santa Monica Airport. The FAA says it has a plan for a new fuel to be available in a decade or so, but there are unleaded alternatives available now for the vast majority of small aircraft. The FAA needs to do more to promote their use. We need to get the lead out today.”