Lead Use in Gasoline

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In the early years of the auto industry the du Pont family, flush with gunpowder profits from WW I, took control of General Motors. A decade later, GM began one of the worst polluting practices of the 20th century – adding lead to gasoline.

The lead was meant to stop engine knock and give cars more power, but it wasn’t the only solution available. Ethanol (grain alcohol) would’ve worked just fine and GM knew it.

Ethanol was cheap, and, more important, it wasn’t a known neurotoxin. It also could not be patented, which meant GM and DuPont could make a lot more money off the lead. And, Jamie Lincoln Kitman says, a type corporate cabal was born: GM and DuPont brought in Standard Oil and promoted poison for profit.

They pushed the lead additive over all others – even after the scientist who’d developed the additive nearly died from the process and many workers who manufactured it died from lead poisoning.

A deadly heavy metal corporate conspiracy – in this hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Lawyer/writer Jamie Lincoln Kitman.