Thursday, May. 27, 2010

Leaded Gasoline

Pull in to the local gas station and every pump has something in common. "Unleaded" is the new craze. For nearly six decades, gasoline companies ignored the known dangers associated with lead to get rich. Tetraethyl lead boosted the octane levels in auto fuel, but there was speculation surrounding the safety of that decision from Day One. In the Nov. 10, 1924, issue of TIME, a report showed that 35 men at the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey had come down with an "occupational disease." Symptoms ranged from insomnia to low blood pressure, all at the hands of lead poisoning. The EPA completed a full phaseout of lead gasoline in 1986, ending the quest to trade steady health for steady sales.