Leaded petrol has officially been phased out after alarms were raised over its medical implications more than a century ago. For years, studies and reports have also shown health and environmental concerns over coal. Perhaps the phasing out of leaded petrol has lessons for coal.
Following 19 years of campaigning through a private and public partnership led by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), leaded petrol has officially been phased out and all its stocks exhausted. This followed the last of its reserves being used up in Algeria two months ago.
Leaded petrol, which contains harmful amounts of lead, caused more than one million premature deaths every year and has been linked to the contamination of dust, air, soil, water and food crops.
The fuel also led to health risks for strokes, cancer and heart disease, has links with dementia and, according to one study, may have reduced the intelligence of children who grew up in the leaded fuel era. It has also been suggested that the ban on leaded petrol has led to a decrease in violent crime. The ban has saved the global economy $2.44-trillion due to the health costs associated with leaded petrol.
When the campaigning to…