How Lead Invaded Our Gasoline

| 12/21/2007 11:45:12 AM

EthylIn 1921, a “clever but chronically catastrophic” inventor named Thomas Midgley had an idea on how to increase the fuel efficiency in cars: mix lead with gasoline. Little did he know that his invention would poison the environment, make millions sick, and drive many more to the brink of madness, according to an article on the website Damn Interesting. Leaded gasoline, like ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (which Midgley also invented), Jell-o, and rollerblades, is a perfect example of a good idea gone wrong. It took nearly 50 years, numerous scientific inquiries, attempted corporate cover-ups, and the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970 for leaded gasoline finally to disappear from the market.

Brendan Mackie


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