UN Hails Global End of Leaded Petrol Era

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) on Monday announced the official global end of the leaded gasoline era after the last country in the world ended the sale of the highly toxic fuel.

The U.N. agency said that the era of leaded gasoline ended when Algeria stopped selling leaded fuel at stations in July. 

“The successful enforcement of the ban on leaded petrol is a huge milestone for global health and our environment,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.

UNEP said in their statement that the eradication of leaded petrol would “prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths per year, increase IQ points among children, save $2.44 trillion (2.07 trillion euros) for the global economy, and decrease crime rates.”

Petroleum containing tetraethyl lead, a form of lead, was first sold almost 100 years ago to increase engine performance. The chemical was widely used for decades until researchers discovered that it could cause heart disease, strokes, and brain damage.

Most of the richer nations started halting the consumption of leaded petrol in the 1970s and 1980s. Low- and middle-income countries continued using it until the U.N. launched a global campaign in 2002 to abolish it.

“We must now turn the same commitment to ending the triple crises of climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and pollution,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


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