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
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.
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.
The people in this room have the same amount of lead in their blood as do the natives in New Guinea. If you take lead out of the air, you’ll still have it in your body.
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.
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.