How leaded fuel was sold for 100 years, despite knowing its health risks

A 1960s Southern California gas station being restored.

Enlarge / A 1960s Southern California gas station being restored. (credit: FarukUlay | Getty Images)

On the frosty morning of Dec. 9, 1921, in Dayton, Ohio, researchers at a General Motors lab poured a new fuel blend into one of their test engines. Immediately, the engine began running more quietly and putting out more power.

The new fuel was tetraethyl lead. With vast profits in sight—and very few public health regulations at the time—General Motors Co. rushed gasoline diluted with tetraethyl lead to market despite the known health risks of lead. They named it “Ethyl” gas.

It has been 100 years since that pivotal day in the development of leaded gasoline. As a historian of media and the environment, I see this anniversary as a time to reflect on the role of public health advocates and environmental journalists in preventing profit-driven tragedy.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

This post has been read 20 times!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
guest
Not Optional
Optional
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments