Phase Out of Leaded Gasoline

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

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.

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Leo McReynolds, research director for Phillips. The Los Angeles Times.

[Removing lead from gasoline] threatens the jobs of the 14 million Americans directly dependent and the 29 million Americans indirectly dependent on the petrochemical industry for employment.

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Statement by the petrochemical industry--led by Du Pont, Monsanto and Dow, The Nation.

There is no evidence that lead in the atmosphere, from autos or any other source, poses a health hazard.

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John L. Kimberley, executive director of the Lead Industries Association, Testimony, New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. The New York Times.

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.

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Dr Jerome F. Cole, director of environmental health for the Lead Industries Association. The Los Angeles Times.

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

The Secret History of Lead

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.

The Removal of Lead From Gasoline: Historical and Personal Reflections

First-person historical analysis of the leaded gasoline fight.