Leaded Gasoline Becomes a Thing of the Past

Lead - at one time it was added to gasoline to make car engines run more smoothly. It raised the octane levels of the gasoline and made car engines purr - with none of those annoying engine knock sounds.

Lead is also a poison. Maybe you have heard of lead paint and the hazards it poses for young children. Lead in gasoline was also hazardous. It polluted the air and led to serious health problems. Breathing air polluted by leaded gasoline has been linked to many specific medical conditions including brain and nerve damage, mental retardation, and behavior problems. The consequences of breathing air polluted by leaded gasoline are especially hazardous to children.

That is why people protested the use of lead in gasoline almost from the time it was introduced in the 1920s. Eventually, the use of lead in gasoline was banned in the United States. Beginning in 1973, it was gradually phased out and then banned by 1986. Since leaded gasoline was banned, studies of the levels of lead in children's blood have shown it to be down seventy percent from the time when leaded gasoline was being used.

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