Highly polluting leaded petrol now eradicated from the world, says UN

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Getty Images Algeria, the last country to still sell leaded petrol, ran out of its last supplies in July There is now no country in the world that uses leaded petrol for cars and lorries, the UN Environment Programme has announced. The toxic fuel has contaminated air, soil and water for almost a century. It can cause heart disease, cancer and stroke, and has been linked to problems with brain development in children. Most high-income countries had banned the fuel by the 1980s, but it was only in July that Algeria – the last country still to use leaded petrol – ran out. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the eradication of leaded petrol an “international success story”. “Ending the use of leaded petrol will prevent more than one million premature deaths each year from heart disease, strokes and cancer, and it will protect children whose IQs are damaged by exposure to lead,” he said. Lead started being added to petrol in the early 1920s in order to improve engine performance . Getty Images image captionLead was used in all petrol globally from the 1920s The alarm was raised as early as 1924, when five workers were declared dead and […]

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