LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 5 no 1  1997 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.

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The Cradle to Grave Impacts of Lead in Cars

by Elizabeth O’Brien and Adrian Hill

This LEAD Action News has been designed as something of a scenic tour through the area of Cradle to Grave Management for lead in cars. We start our journey looking at the lead mining and smelting communities, follow the lead into petrol, shoot out through the exhaust pipe and into the environment.

Cradle to Grave Management, or as it is more recently termed, Life Cycle Analysis, is the process of evaluating the effects that a product has on the environment over the entire period of its life cycle. We would really like to have written an article on the cradle to grave impacts of lead, but since there is enough material there for a whole book, we decided to concentrate on lead in cars, since around two thirds of all the lead produced on the planet goes into the cars most of us view as "a necessity of modern living".

Lead is "born" in many different mines around Australia (see LEAD Action News vol. 3 no. 3), but we look at one of the biggest - Broken Hill. And things are getting tense in the community out there as the deposits are running out. Theresa Gordon then writes about the impacts of car batteries from the point of view of an Australian lead smelter town community and Robin Mosman writes about the rather worrying lead emissions at the copper smelter in Port Kembla.

Into the "adolescent" phase of the life cycle, Elizabeth O’Brien has written an article on the impacts of lead in petrol from the cradle to the grave, we have a fascinating article on changes in transport policy in the U.K. and we have an expose on Associated Octel (who manufacture lead additive in petrol), who have been telling "nonsense" to governments in developing countries.

Talking of developing countries, Greenpeace have given us fantastic help in updating an article first published in their magazine, on exporting waste batteries to the Philippines. We have an article on lead and tooth decay for you to chew on, an update on the gold mine laboratory worker trying to sue for damages (see LEAD Action News vol. 4 no. 3) and an inspirational story from the U.S. on government grants for removing lead in homes.

As things get older they get warm and cuddly (well we like to think so) and so as we move into the later stages of the newsletter we have the letters page, which is warm and cuddly in parts and lastly we have news in brief and some warm and cuddly subscription opportunities.

Talking of solutions, a summary of one of the best studies we know of about the cradle to grave impacts of cars has already been published in LEAD Action News (vol 3 no 2 1995 "The Environmental Cost of the Car" by John Whitelegg). This German study concluded that it would cost the same amount as the government currently pays in the external costs of all pollution, accidents and noise from each car, for the State to give "each car user a free pass for the whole year for all public transport, a new bike every five years and 15,000 kilometres of first-class rail travel." And that was for a new car which ran on unleaded petrol!

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Last Updated 11 January 2013
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