The end of leaded gasoline marks a milestone in global development


Pollution update

After Algeria’s last supply was finally exhausted, the world officially got rid of leaded gasoline and put this toxic fuel into history.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, ending the use of leaded gasoline, which damages children’s mental development, will help prevent an estimated 1.2 million premature deaths each year.

Just two decades ago, most countries in the world were still using leaded gasoline.

Rich countries including the United States and Germany banned the use of this fuel in the 1990s, but until recently it has been widely used in parts of developing countries because its production cost is lower than unleaded gasoline.

By 2016, Algeria, Yemen, and Iraq were the only countries still using leaded gasoline, and Algeria ran out of supplies last month.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson said this is “a huge milestone in global health and our environment” and marks the end of “a century of death and disease affecting hundreds of millions of people.”

this Use of lead In the late 1920s and 1930s it began to be used as an additive in gasoline to help fuel burn more efficiently. Due to its health effects and the emergence of catalytic converters that are incompatible with leaded fuels, it began to be phased out in the 1970s.

“One of the most toxic and polluting substances in the world has now been completely eliminated. There are no more gas stations in the world, and you can buy leaded gasoline there,” said Rob De Jong, the Transport Director of the Environment Agency.

Leaded gasoline releases its particles into car exhaust, and when humans inhale it, it enters the bloodstream through the lungs.

Lead has been shown to impair mental development, cause lower IQ, and is related to criminal behavior, mental illness, and negative personality traits. It also has a universal effect on almost every organ of the body.

Some remaining sources of lead pollution are still worrying, including lead in paint and batteries. But activists say that leaded fuel is one of the deadliest fuels because particles in the exhaust gas may enter the bloodstream.

According to a 2011 study, taking into account the impact of higher IQ levels, reduced criminal behavior and other health benefits, the annual economic benefit of discontinuing leaded gasoline is estimated to be approximately US$2.4 trillion.

Some countries, such as Algeria, take longer to phase out leaded gasoline because their refineries have purchased a large amount of lead additives.

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