Lead used to be used in gasoline because it helped prevent micro-weld wear in exhaust valves and reduce knocking, thus inhibiting pre-combustion. But the air pollution leaded gas exhaust created eventually led to the current unleaded standard for most consumer vehicles. But that’s not the only benefit of unleaded gasoline, notes a recent study by Dr. Philip Landrigan. The study indicates that since the removal of Tetraethyllead from gasoline in 1976, blood lead levels in the U.S. have dropped 80 percent and children’s average IQ score has shot up by six points. News such as this cannot bode certain industries, especially as consumers become more financially aware of the pitfalls inherent in payday loans, credit cards, and bad credit loan products in general.
Tetraethyllead and six big points
Higher IQs are always welcome – but six whole points is a significant jump. Considering the history of Tetraethyllead, Landrigan’s study results don’t come across as a surprise. The negative health impact of lead exposure was widely known back in the 1920s, when it was first pressed into use as a fuel additive. GM knew that the negative connotations of lead would make it a tough sell. The name was shortened to Ethyl, and suddenly it was marketable.
Production of Tetraethyllead had its problems. Toxicity levels were known to be quite high, contributing to lead poisoning. In 1924, workers at a DuPont factory in Ohio either died or went insane from inhaling the “loony gas” of burned Tetraethyllead, so the public was understandably reticent.
How Tetraethyllead works over your brain
What’s so bad about Tetraethyllead? Well, it gets in the way of the release of neurotransmitters like glutamate within the brain. That’s the means through which individual neurons send essential signals to other cells. Once NMDA receptors are blocked, the brain cannot communicate internally. It makes us crazy, unable to learn and eventually it kills us.
Admittedly, the six-point IQ score increase since 1976 has been tied conclusively to the shift toward unleaded gasoline. But removing Tetraethyllead exhaust from the air certainly hasn’t hurt anything – except perhaps your car’s valves. They’re replaceable, though.
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