Ethyl - Really? Drain bamage?

Look at these happy squares - Mister and Missus Dandy, out for an afternoon's shopping and general consumption. First stop, a new suit. Then, some sparklies for her, then a tank full of Ethyl, with delicious, smooth-running lead. Mmmmmm, yummy in my engine. Feeling antisocial?
I love ads like this. In 1941, nobody understood that lead caused brain damage, right? Well, not so right. The Wikipedia article on the subject is well-referenced and smells not a bit of fabrication. Tetraethyl (a lead-based fuel additive that's good for engines but not good for pretty much everything else), had been identified as a public health threat in 1924, after "refinery accidents left workers dying from violent insanity". Holy wow. Don't worry, the U.S. Public Health Service swooped in and convened a meeting (a year later) about the whole argy-bargy of lead toxicity. It lasted a day. Their conclusion was that lead did not pose an immediate threat, also there were no alternatives, even though private memos discussed ethanol as an alternative, although it was more expensive than lead. The U.S. Public Health Service concluded that the matter deserved further study and called for lunch. Thanks guys.

Here are some effects of lead poisoning:

-Lowered I.Q.
-High blood pressure
-Hearing problems
-Angry violent behavior
-Stunted growth

"Git 'r dumb!"
Leaded fuel was still used in Nascar as recently as 2008 when they switched to unleaded fuel. This explains the popularity of Larry the Cable Guy among Nascar loyalists and their acceptance of driving in a circle as "sport".

So who was the Ethyl company? General Motors trade marked the name Ethyl in 1924, because even then, "lead" was a dirty word and would make the product harder to market.

Everything's fine now, though. The EPA's phase-out of leaded fuels began just thirty years later, in 1972. But the process was interrupted when Ethyl Inc. sued the EPA. It took four years for the EPA to win the case and the actual phase-out began in 1976. A 1994 study showed that concentrations of lead in the blood of Americans had dropped by 78%.

Here's DuPont (makers of Styrofoam and Teflon) mentioning how awful lead is for your brain.

I'd probably be smarter if I hadn't gotten into Dungeons and Dragons when I was ten. The little miniature dudes we used for the game were still made of lead back then. Now I think they switched to some other metal. Sure I never breathed my miniatures, but I spent lots of time re-carving them to exactly match my character, to impress my big brothers. That may have had some kind of effect thingy on my brainular region or something. What, was I supposed to use a figure holding a longsword when my character sheet clearly stated he had a scimitar? Maybe you're the one with brain damage? Heh. Good one, Phil.


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