LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 12 Number 2, December 2011, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor: Anne Roberts

Search this site
Search tips 
What's New

About Us
bell system lead poisoning
Contact Us
Council Lead Project
Library-Fact Sheets
Home Page
Media Releases
Referral Lists
Site Map
Slide Shows-Films
Useful Links

Visitor Number


PDF of this file

Chronology of Leaded Gasoline / Leaded Petrol History –

Knowledge of the dangers of lead in petrol / gasoline;

Steps taken and not taken, to phase out leaded petrol;

Steps remaining to achieve global leaded petrol phase-out.

2005 - 2011

By Elizabeth O'Brien, Manager, Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) run by The LEAD Group Inc. Australia. Partner, UNEP Partnership for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) and Zac Gethin-Damon, LEAD Group Campaigner for the End of Leaded Petrol Globally by the End of 2011, edited by Anne Roberts for The LEAD Group Inc.

2005 – “At a 2005 [PCFV] Partnership meeting held in Kenya, it was agreed that the partnership was on course to “phase out leaded gasoline by the end of 2008 worldwide.” (IFCS and US 2008)  The LEAD Group first to publish a tally of countries still selling leaded petrol: 67 countries as at International Lead Poisoning Awareness Day, Oct 20. (O’Brien and Aitken 2005) - see graph for progress towards phase-out. NB Dec 31st  2011 is The LEAD Group’s target date for the end of the sale of leaded gasoline globally. See LEAD Group graph below.

Total Population (in Millions) In Number Of Countries Still Selling Leaded Petrol, By Date

(Data Sources: O’Brien and Aitken 2005, O’Brien 2007, Taylor 2008, Taylor 2009, Taylor 2010c, Taylor 2011)

2006 Jan – only remaining manufacturer of TEL changes its name from Octel to Innospec – “The name change was meant to emphasize that the firm, which had sales of $528 million last year, now gets two-thirds of its sales from non-lead fuel additives and other specialty chemical businesses it has built over the years. "Lead is a declining product" that was associated with the Octel name, Jennings [Innospec's President and Chief Executive Officer] says.” (Reisch 2006)

2006 Jun 6 - SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management) releases Global Plan of Action: including: “Work areas addressing risk reduction (objective 1) Activit[y]: Eliminate lead in gasoline. Actors: National Governments, IOMC (UNEP, WHO, UNIDO, UNDP, World Bank), GEF, Industry. Targets/Timeframes: 2006-2010. Indicators of Progress: Lead in gasoline is eliminated. (SAICM 2006)

2006 Aug 23-25 – correspondence between The LEAD Group and Innospec: Incoming Email: Enquiry from Innospec Inc. website re: is Australian lead used to make lead petrol? Innospec: We do not purchase our lead directly from Australia, but use a third party supplier. Outgoing email: Who? Incoming email: I understand it's Britannia [Britannia Refined Metals, BRM, a subsidiary of Xstrata]. (Sullivan and Farey 2006)

2006 Sept – US researchers propose a public health action level of 2 µg/dL replace the 1991 intervention blood lead level of 10 µg/dL for children due to “scientific, ethical, social, economic, and public health considerations” and because 2 µg/dL “represents a reasonable blend of scientific information, feasible policy alternatives, and analytical reliability.” (Gilbert and Weiss 2006)

2006 Sept 9 – The LEAD Group web-publishes Lead Mining Stewardship - Grey Lead and the Role of The LEAD Group fact sheet, proposing: “preventing lead from mining companies from being sold to the one manufacturer who uses lead to make the leaded petrol additive, that is, Innospec in the UK. If Innospec could not buy lead, hundreds of millions of children in the … countries still selling leaded petrol would not have to wait until 2010 for the SAICM … goal of a global lead petrol ban to be achieved.” (O’Brien et al 2006)

2008 – Beijing PCFV meeting acknowledges it will fail to meet its original target of a 2008 global leaded gasoline phaseout. The LEAD Group calls for a ban on Australian lead exports for TEL for road-use and asks Xstrata to stop supplying lead to Innospec via Britannia. (O’Brien et al 2008) and (O’Brien and Sara 2011)

2008 Feb 25 – Innospec state in their annual report for 2007:“We intend to manage the decrease in the sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline to maximize the cash flow through the decline” (see the resultant slowdown in the rate of progress in the graph of of leaded petrol countries above) and “The Company expects that it will cease all sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline at some time in the next several years.” (Innospec 2008)

2009 Feb 20 – Innospec reports on Market Watch Website: “We expect that we will cease all sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline in 2012." (Innospec 2009)

2009 Sep – Germany sets new reference values [action levels] for blood lead, based on the 95th percentile of results of national blood lead surveys: 3.5 µg/dL as the goal for children (up to the age of 12) and for men and women - currently 9 µg/dL and 7 µg/dL respectively (Schulz et al 2009). These new goal blood lead levels are still the most stringent in the world as at 9 Dec 2011. Such low blood lead goals could not be achieved in any country still dependent on leaded gasoline but blood lead testing results in those countries still selling leaded petrol such as Afghanistan and Yemen, promised by PCFV (UNEP 2011), have not been forthcoming as at 9 Dec 2011.

2009 Sep 22 – The LEAD Group web-publishes Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to both adults and children. (Roberts et al 2009)

2010 Mar 18 - Securities & Exchange Commission [SEC] v. Innospec, Inc., Civil Action. SEC FILES SETTLED FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT CHARGES AGAINST INNOSPEC, INC. FOR ENGAGING IN BRIBERY IN IRAQ AND INDONESIA WITH TOTAL DISGORGEMENT AND CRIMINAL FINES OF $40.2 M. (SEC 2010). The US SEC Complaint against Innospec names relevant entity Swiss-based Alcor, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Innospec” and states Alcor’s “financial results were consolidated with those of Innospec throughout the relevant period [2000-2007]”. (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 2010)

2010 July – Iraqi service station workers study finds the median (range) 14.1 (7.5-56) µg/dL lead in the blood of fuel stations workers was significantly higher [217% higher] than 6.5 (4.0-1.6) µg/dL in the controls (non-lead exposed workers). (Al-Rudainy 2010)

2010 Dec 2 – The LEAD Group updates 2009 annotated bibliography and web-publishes Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to adults (Taylor 2010a) and Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to children (Taylor 2010b).

2011 April –The estimated global annual impacts of lead in vehicle fuels found [by Hatfield and Tsai in a United Nations-commissioned report currently being peer-reviewed and expected to be published in 2011] to be significant:

  • Close to 1.1 million deaths;

  • A loss of 322 million IQ points;

  • Close to 60 million crime cases;

  • Economic loss of USD 2.4 trillion per year (4% of global GDP)

(PCFV, UNEP 2011)

2011 June 17 – The LEAD Group updated http://www.lead.org.au/fs/fst27.html to show Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar (Burma), North Korea and Yemen are the six remaining countries where leaded gasoline is possibly still being sold. (Taylor 2011)

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group publishes LEAD Action News V11N4 - Who will end the leaded petrol death trade? Newsletter includes a UTS intern’s research examining possible reasons preventing the above 6 remaining countries from phasing out leaded petrol (Roberts and Cooper 2011) and identifies 6 people who could act to end the era of leaded gasoline by the end of 2011: Ivan Glasenberg, Australia’s 2nd-most wealthy citizen, CEO of Xstrata; David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK; Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia; Barack Obama, President of the USA; Micheline Calmy Rey, President of Switzerland; and Patrick Williams, Innospec’s CEO. (O’Brien and Roberts 2011)  Patrick Williams

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group asks US President Barack Obama: “Please ask SEC to seek further reparation from Innospec by ordering the company to stop making TEL for road use, and to buy back all stocks of TEL and pay for its transport back to the UK.” (O’Brien 2011a) [No reply received as at the date of this chronology, although Elizabeth has been advised by email on 10 Dec 2011 that a response is being prepared.]

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group asks Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey to ask UK-incorporated Swiss mining giant Xstrata to stop supplying lead to Innospec and ask Alcor to make reparation by ordering them to stop supplying TEL for road use, and to buy back all stocks of TEL and pay for its transport back to the UK, (O’Brien 2011b), and was advised by her, in a letter dated Aug 2: “Switzerland is committed to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises [OECD 2011]. Your letter will therefore be forwarded to the Swiss National Contact Point (NCP).” (Calmy-Rey 2011)

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group asks Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to ban the export of lead that was destined to be made into leaded petrol. (O’Brien 2011c) Nov 15 reply received from Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, states, due to Australia’s obligations in the World Trade Organisation and its free trade agreements, imposing restrictions or conditions on the export of Australian lead “cannot be justified”. (Farrell 2011)

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group asks United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron to ban the export of TEL that was destined to be made into leaded petrol. (O’Brien 2011d) As at the date of this chronology, no reply has been received.

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group asks Innospec CEO Patrick Williams to cease the supply of TEL for petrol. (O’Brien 2011e) As at the date of this chronology, no reply has been received.

2011 June 28 – The LEAD Group asks Xstrata CEO Ivan Glasenberg to cease the supply of Lead for TEL for petrol (by email and letter). (O’Brien 2011f). On 2 Aug 2011 the letter is returned from Mount Isa QLD with [handwritten] RTS on it. The LEAD Group phones Mt Isa Mine and is advised: “anyone who would know the correct address has gone home.” A further phonecall to Xstrata’s Swiss Zug HQ results in the letter being posted to Switzerland. As at the date of this chronology, no reply has been received.

2011 Aug 25 – The LEAD Group sends a formal complaint and a solution involving Innospec within 6 weeks phasing out the sale of TEL for MOGAS, buying back unblended TEL sold for MOGAS, and “Remaining stocks should only be supplied to those OECD and non-OECD countries which have made exemptions under the Rotterdam Convention, to allow the use of TEL in aviation fuel (AvGas) in their country” (O’Brien 2011g) to the OECD NCPs of Switzerland, Australia, US and UK re: non-compliance of Innospec and Xstrata with the OECD Guidelines for MNE (OECD 2011). The US NCP requests a detailed complaint (which was sent Oct 25).

2011 Oct 5 to 12 – the PCFV Clearinghouse Secretariat refuses to engage with Innospec, due to their proven bribery of Indonesian and Iraq officials, or invite them to the next PCFV meeting to answer questions on which countries they still supply with TEL for automotive fuel (O’Brien and De Jong 2011).

2011 Oct 25 - Paragraph 6 of the OECD MNE Guidelines (OECD 2011) states that an enterprise should "Continually seek to improve corporate environmental performance, at the level of the enterprise and, where appropriate, of its supply chain". Accordingly The LEAD Group asks "That the OECD act urgently to mediate the cessation of supply of TEL for leaded petrol, and failing immediate success with that, that the OECD act urgently to mediate the cessation of supply of lead by Xstrata / BRM to Innospec for TEL for MOGAS, since Innospec is not abiding by the MNE Environmental Guidelines, then Xstrata / BRM is also not abiding by the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE)" (Gethin-Damon and O’Brien 2011).

2011 Oct 26 & 27 – The LEAD Group presents its strategy to the Global Partnership Meeting of the PCFV in Nairobi and seeks to award Patrick Williams, CEO of Innospec as “Lead-Safe World Champion” for his hoped-for announcement of cessation of sale of petrol lead additive (Gethin-Damon et al 2011). The PCFV Clearing House report on when leaded gasoline will cease being sold in the six remaining countries is full of question marks but includes acceptance that “Innospec expects TEL sales to end 2012”. (UNEP 2011) This dead-stop to PCFV progress / action on global phase-out before the end of 2011 creates an opening for others to act.

2011 Oct 27 – Associated Press reports in the Washington Post that “[leaded gasoline] is expected to be eradicated globally within two years [in 2013], the United Nations Environment Program announced Thursday [presumably Thu 27 Oct 2011]”. (Associated Octel 2011)

2011 Nov 17 – “Based on its conclusions that blood lead levels below 10 µg/dL harm children, the [US] Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (ACCLPP) recommends elimination of the use of the term 'blood lead level of concern.' It recommends the use of a reference value based on the 97.5th percentile of the NHANES-generated blood lead distribution in children age 1-5 years (currently 5 µg/dL) to identify children with elevated blood lead levels.” (Malone 2011)

2011 Nov 17 – The LEAD Group asks Australian delegate Dr Barry Reville, Branch Head, Environment Protection Branch, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) and US delegate Dr Ana Corado, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Assistance Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, US EPA, who were both attending a SAICM meeting today in Belgrade, Serbia, to take action to inspire Innospec to buy back all stocks of tetra ethyl lead (TEL) used to make leaded petrol, as a way of marking the planned Side Event of the meeting, for planning the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Day of Action. (ICCM 2011)

2011 Nov 24 – The LEAD Group asks US NCP to OECD to ask Innospec when in 2012 they are planning to phase out sales of TEL for leaded gasoline for road-use (Yu 2011a).

2011 Nov 30 – Email from the PCFV Clearing House to The LEAD Group states: “UNEP and the PCFV Clearing House have been the major force in eliminating leaded petrol world wide, are actively working on this right now and will not stop until this is completed. Independent evaluations of the EU, US and UNEP have shown that 80+ countries having gone unleaded over the past years is a direct result of the work of the PCFV.” (De Jong 2011)

2011 Dec 1 – Tsai and Hatfield publish peer-reviewed assessment of the global benefits from the phase-out of leaded fuel: best estimate is a global benefit of $2.45 trillion/year [4.27% of global GDP per year], within a range of $2.05–$2.83 trillion, including: child and adult health costs / discounted life earnings for children, $1.07 trillion/year; global cost for children through IQ decrement, $1.03 trillion/year; and $275 billion/year on taxes forgone, ADHD, and leadlinked crime. (Tsai and Hatfield, 2011)

2011 Dec 2 – Despite all of the evidence of the harmful effects of TEL, a UK website exists promoting bottled TEL in a product called TetraBOOST. According to the ‘TetraBOOST’ Website accessed today states:

TetraBOOST“TetraBOOST is genuine tetraethyl lead in a solution of aromatic hydrocarbons, with its associated chemical scrubbers. TetraBOOST enables you to make genuine leaded fuel from the unleaded pump, wherever and whenever you need it” (TetraBOOST 2000-2011a);

“Malicious rumours have been circulating around the race paddocks and some clubs that TetraBOOST has been banned in Europe and is now illegal!. THIS IS NONSENSE. The directors of TetraBOOST would like to make it perfectly clear that no such ban exists, or is in preparation. We intend to continue to manufacture TetraBOOST as usual… “ (TetraBOOST 2000-2011b);

“Tetraethyl lead waste leaves the exhaust system as tetraethyl lead salts which dissolve harmlessly in the rain” (TetraBOOST 2000-2011c);

TetraBOOST leaded octane additive containing TEL can be purchased online and delivered throughout Europe and is still being distributed in the United Kingdom Belgium, The Channel Islands, Denmark, France, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands (Holland) and Sweden (TetraBOOST 2000-2011d);

“TetraBOOST is now available for a number of international distributors. These include Jersey, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, France and Australia” (TetraBOOST 2000-2011b);

“TetraBOOST is the only practical way to motor throughout the UK and Europe on leaded fuel - all the way there and all the way back. Indeed, a number of cars in the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge are running the entire distance on TetraBOOST leaded petrol (TetraBOOST 2010)“

“We are the future of leaded fuel” (TetraBOOST 2000-2011b)

2011 Dec 2- According to the Innospec (undated) website accessed today despite the IPIECA Position noted above (IPIECA 2003) “...the economies of some countries continue to depend on this product [TEL]. They do not have cars with catalytic converters capable of running on unleaded fuel so TEL remains by far the most cost-effective octane enhancer available.” (Innospec Website accessed 2 Dec 2011).

2011 Dec 15 - US NCP for the OECD, phoned Elizabeth O’Brien to say that Innospec refuses to engage in the OECD mediation process to deal with The LEAD Group’s complaint against them “with obvious reputational risk for Innospec.” Elizabeth replies: “if the OECD or UK or US governments had ordered Innospec to make a non-lead octane additive for gasoline instead of TEL for MOGAS in 1993, every person born since then could have been saved from exposure to lead from petrol ie every child.” (Yu 2011b)

Steps remaining to achieve global leaded petrol phase-out:

  • Innospec announces plan for completion of global leaded gasoline phase-out and advises all its TEL-for-MOGAS customers, including non-petroleum refinery customers, of the date of their final supply of TEL

  • Innospec stops making TEL for MOGAS

  • TetraBOOST stops adding TEL to TetraBOOST in Europe, for blending into petrol at the vehicle fuel-tank – the same applies if there are any other suppliers of TEL-containing products designed for blending with gasoline during automotive refuelling

  • Innospec buys back all unblended TEL for MOGAS (for use in AVGAS) and pays for its shipment to countries where leaded AVGAS is permitted for use

  • Innospec assists all 6 of the final leaded gasoline countries (and any countries that have ongoing issues of lead contamination from the past use of TEL in MOGAS) to safely dispose of toxic leaded fuel storage tank residues, TEL-contaminated infrastructure as well as lead-contaminated soil and groundwater used for drinking, caused by leaking leaded petrol storage tanks and fuel spills.

  • Innospec stops making TEL altogether so that it is not possible for TEL for AVGAS to be diverted as TEL for MOGAS by unscrupulous dealers.

PDF of this file

Contents | Previous Item | Next Item | Disclaimer

About Us | bell system lead poisoning | Contact Us | Council LEAD Project | egroups | Library - Fact Sheets | Home Page | Media Releases
| Q & A | Referral lists | Reports | Site Map | Slide Shows - Films | Subscription | Useful Links |  Search this Site
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
Last Updated 19 January 2012
Copyright © The LEAD Group Inc. 1991- 2012
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014