Leaded gasoline was fixture in this country up until the mid 1970’s. Some of you may remember filling your car up with regular leaded gasoline. Some of you may still be adding it as an additive to cars that were built prior to 1974. The world use to run on leaded gasoline, and it was a significant contributor to smog and to killing an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide. Something good has happened this past decade regarding lead gasoline. More than 185 countries worldwide have stopped adding lead to gasoline. Right now there are only six countries that continue to do so: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and Myanmar will phase it out within the next two years. A new study, “Global Benefits of Phasing Out Leaded Fuel,” which will be published in the December edition of the Journal of Environmental Health reports that the phase out means an annual $2.4 trillion in health, social and economic benefits. The study reveals a 90 percent drop in the amount of lead levels in blood worldwide through the phase out of lead in gasoline. The worldwide effort to rid this planet of leaded gasoline was spearheaded by the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, which is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program. This is a significant accomplishment in improving the health of this planet for all of its inhabitants. There is still more work to be done in eliminating lead emissions from factories and in consumer products. Getting the world to agree to do this was significant. Now if only we can get them to agree on a global greenhouse emissions pact.
On a side note – Congratulations to Earth Friendly Products for winning this year’s 2011 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award. Awards were granted for sustainability activities completed or have shown substantial progress by December 31, 2010. A panel from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and/or outside experts judged applications.