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Tetraethyllead in Gasoline - Soon a problem of the past ?


About 40 countries still using leaded gasoline are situated in Sub-Saharian Africa (SSA). During a conference that took place at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess progress towards a lead-free continent in Nairobi, May 9th 2004, great progress of the  nations in Sub-Saharian Africa (SSA) has been reported.

Over half of all petrol sold in sub-Saharan Africa is now unleaded. The report also indicates that 12 countries with refineries have committed to lead phase-out. Nine countries including Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana (refiner), Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria (refiner), Rwanda, and Sudan (refiner) have already switched entirely to unleaded fuel. Ten other countries with refineries have committed to a lead phaseout: South Africa, Zambia, Madagaskar, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, Congo-Brazza, Cote d'Ivoire, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea.

The good news are important, because Kenya supplies many of the countries in the region. Currently just four per cent of the motor fuels sold in Kenya are unleaded. To meet the goal of a complete phase out by the end of 2005, Kenya will have to upgrade its state-owned refineries.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: " Removing lead from petrol in Africa is proving to be one of the great environmental and health success stories of the early 21st century. At the WSSD in Johannesburg two years ago, Governments, the private sector, civil society and intergovernmental organizations like UNEP committed themselves to action on a wide range of fronts. This project shows that a concerted effort from Governments, civil society, and the private sector assisted by international organizations can result in rapid and important improvements".

Michael Sperling

Related Information

Radford University: More about lead in gasoline. 
University of Bristol: More about petrol additives. 
CDC: National Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance Data

Bill Kovarik: How a Classic Occupational Disease Became an International Public Health Disaster

Simon Cotton, Uppingham School, Rutland: Lead TetraEthyl and MTBE - Petrol Additives
Worldatlas: Countries that still use leaded gasoline

Bill Kovarik: Charles F. Kettering and the 1921 Discovery of Tetraethyl Lead In the Context of Technological Alternatives

 Related News

 The Nation, March 2, 2000: The Secret History of Lead: Special Report
Environmental Research Foundation: Dumbing Down the Children, Part 1
Environmental Research Foundation: Dumbing Down the Children, Part 2
Environmental Research Foundation: Dumbing Down the Children, Part 3

EVISA News, July 18, 2006: Lead pollution by gasoline - a persisting problem

last time modified: March 6, 2024


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