Phase Out of Leaded Gasoline
The Clean Air Act of 1970 gave the government the power to better regulate gasoline. In 1973, the EPA mandated the production of unleaded gasoline as a means of protecting catalytic converters, devices used to limit the pollutant emissions of automobiles. (Leaded gasoline proved completely incompatible with the devices.) The phase out of leaded gasoline didn’t begin until 1976, with further reductions in 1985 and 1986. The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act required the complete elimination of lead from gasoline by 1996.
Cry Wolf Quotes
In summary, epidemiologic evidence supports the position that airborne lead in the concentrations found in the general ambient atmosphere is, at most, a minor contributor to lead in blood. The increment of quantity of the airborne lead contribution even if it can be deduced, is biologically meaningless.
There is no evidence that [leaded gasoline] has introduced a danger in the field of public health…lead is an inevitable element in the surface of the earth, in its vegetation, in its animal life, and that there is no way in which man has ever been able to escape the absorption of lead while living in this planet.
It would cost us more to produce high octane, unleaded fuel; it would cost the consumer more to buy it; and it would cost the country more in terms of its overall consumption of crude oil.
the essential thing necessary to safely handle [tetraethyl lead] was careful discipline of our men…[tetraethyl lead] becomes dangerous due to carelessness of the men in handling it.
Backgrounders & Briefs
This immense article is an intricately detailed history of leaded gasoline, from the industry's early cover-ups to their attempts to defeat EPA regulations.
First-person historical analysis of the leaded gasoline fight.