The U.N. environment agency said Monday that leaded gasoline had finally reached its end after the last country to stop selling the highly toxic fuel.
The U.N. demanded that Algeria stop providing leaded gasoline last month. The Environment Agency declared the “official end to” leaded gas use in cars last month. This was a controversial decision that has been linked to a variety of health issues.
Inger Andersen (UNEP executive director), stated that “the successful enforcement of the ban sur leaded petrol was a significant milestone for global health, and our environment.”
Petroleum containing Tetraethyllead (a form of lead) was first sold nearly 100 years ago in order to improve engine performance. It was used extensively for decades before researchers realized that it could cause strokes, heart disease, and brain damage.
UNEP stated that studies had shown that leaded gas causes intellectual impairment in children, and can lead to millions of premature deaths.
Andersen stated that “the cost of environmental degradation” is real, citing a “very, very large number” of $2.45 Trillion in economic damage prevented by the ban.
Janet McCabe was the deputy administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She stated that blood lead levels had “plummeted”, literally and literally, after the fuel was banned in the United States.
In the 1970s and 1980s most rich countries began to phase out the fuel, but it was still used extensively in low- and mid-income countries up until 2002 when the U.N. launched an international campaign to ban it.
McCabe stated that leaded gas remains in small-plane aviation fuel. The EPA is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on this issue.
Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary General, stated that the success of the abolitions of leaded gas and the ban on ozone depleting chemicals showed the potential impact international treaties can have in addressing environmental problems.
He said, “We must now make the same commitment to end the triple crises climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and pollution.”