|Stage 1 -
||Stage 2 -
social and health impacts of the loads
|At the first stage
of a life cycle assessment, the environmental loads of the product (tetra ethyl lead - the
anti-knock lead additive in petrol) are identified (and usually more thoroughly
quantified) - ie 1a) the energy used, 1b) the raw materials used, and 1c) the emissions
and wastes consequently released.
||At the second
stage of life cycle assessment the potential environmental impacts of the above loads are
a) assessed and b) evaluated. In my view the potential health and social impacts must also
be assessed and evaluated.
|1a) To produce
and use lead additive in petrol you need or you previously needed energy for:
||2 a) The
environmental, social and health impacts of the energy use include:
a media and political campaign to ensure the early (1920’s) ban on
lead additive was lifted and to cover up the deaths and suicides due
to insanity caused by exposure of workers to tetra ethyl lead
||citizen cynicism when it is realised that
health recommendations of pre-eminent occupational physicians can be ignored when
political pressure is brought to bear
|manufacture of the lead additive (tetra-ethyl
||lost opportunities for making the MTBE
(methyl tertiary butyl ether) or other non-lead additives which can replace the
tetra-ethyl lead in petrol.
|safety precautions during shipping / storage
including: making protective clothing and breathing apparatus, fire safety precautions and
||while contact with tetra-ethyl lead is fatal,
by comparison, contact with MTBE causes headaches. All petroleum products need energy
expended on fire safety precautions so, reducing petrol use, reduces this cost.
|safety precautions (include space suits) to
ensure no human contact with lead additive until it reaches the service station
suits can be isolating! But petrol bowser operators don’t get this
luxury. One $220,000 compensation claim in Australia says they might
|repeated million dollar media campaigns to
advise those people who can use unleaded petrol (ULP) in their cars to stop using leaded
petrol. More taxpayers money has to be spent to counter the lead additive manufacturers
media campaigns which try to persuade people that leaded petrol is safer than unleaded,
when in Australia the opposite is true.
taxes have paid for education campaigns when government legislation could be
forcing petrol companies to use non-lead additives like MTBE. People
become cynical about government’s ability to make cost-effective
decisions and to fight vested interests on behalf of the people.
|making and maintaining storage tanks and
equipment to measure the additive out
||this contaminated storage equipment must be
dumped when tetra-ethyl lead is phased out and new equipment with resulting energy
expenditure will be required to replace it.
|transport of lead additive throughout the
globe - including shipping from the only 2 places in the world where it is made
||lost opportunities to transport other more
environmentally friendly products
|building and maintaining service stations,
including underground storage tanks
||storage tanks often leak (see LEAD Action
News v3n2 "Leakage of Underground Petrol Storage Tanks"), and sometimes they
leak dramatically causing an explosion hazard such as in Newcastle on 26 February 1997.
|manufacturing particulate masks for cyclists
and runners who exercise in heavily trafficked areas
|health system to deal with miscarriages,
strokes, heart attacks in adults, and blood lead testing and treatment
money is wasted treating preventable illness, less money is available
for prevention programs which already get less than 3% of health
expenditure. Children’s blood lead levels rise 1 µg/dL for every
10,000 cars per day going past their homes (see Cowie study, Sydney
1996). A US Centers for Disease Control document estimated the average
benefits in 1991 of preventing blood lead levels from rising above 24
µg/dL in avoided medical costs, as being US$1,300 per child.
|remedial education. Lead poisoned children
need special consideration at school (see LEAD Action News v2n3 "The Early Lead
Poisoned Child in the Classroom: Symptomatology and Intervention for School Psychologists
and School-based Personnel") and generally require remedial maths, reading and
blood lead levels rise 1 µg/dL for every 10,000 cars per day going
past their homes (Cowie study, Sydney 1996). A US Centers for Disease
Control document estimated the average benefits in 1991 of preventing
blood lead levels from rising above 24 µg/dL in avoided special
education costs as US$3,331 per child.
|exhaust and engine repairs due to the
build-up of lead from petrol, in the engine. Using ULP (unleaded petrol) reduces the
damage to engines.
||see "A Heavy Responsibility" on
page 13 in this newsletter
|manufacturing brominated and chlorinated
additives ("lead scavengers" intended to reduce this lead build-up in engines,
and to reduce therefore the contamination of used engine oil)
||see LEAD Action News v2n4 "Unleaded
Petrol Reduces Dioxin Levels in Air"
|the getting of raw materials to make lead
|dealing with chemical spills
|cleaning up fallout from petrol emissions
||housekeepers need to spend several hours
twice a week cleaning leaded dust from every surface their young child might touch. Leaded
ceiling dust removal costs around $1000 per house (payable by the householder with no
government subsidies yet available).
||IMPACTS of RAW
|1b) For the
lead additive to be in petrol you need the following raw materials:
||2 a) The
environmental, social and health impacts of the raw materials consumption include:
|lead. who knows whether it is Australian lead
that poisons children through leaded petrol emissions all over the world?
||While lead is left in the ground it is safe
and there remains the possibility of it being put to good use by future generations. With
the current lack of cradle to grave management, whenever lead is mined, smelted and
incorporated into consumer products, second class citizens are being created, people
(especially children) are being poisoned and the environment is being contaminated
|tetra ethyl lead precursor
|lead scavenger raw materials - bromine,
chlorine, ethylene, what else?
|Iron ore etc to make dedicated tetra-ethyl
lead transport containers and feeder pipes at the refinery
|healthy workers; mostly males, sterile
||see "Lead - From the Boolaroo Smelter to
Your Car" on p4 of this newsletter.
WASTES and EMISSIONS
|1c) During the
manufacture of the lead additive and the addition of it to petrol, its transport and its
use as an auto fuel the following emissions and wastes are produced:
||2 a) The
environmental, social and health impacts of the production of wastes and emissions
|waste and emissions from manufacturing
processes for lead additive and lead scavenger
|emissions from transport vehicles - ships,
trucks transporting leaded petrol
|vehicle emissions of dioxins (from the lead
||dioxins are carcinogenic
|Air lead levels inside the vehicle can be
markedly raised as a result of leaks in the petrol inlet or exhaust outlet of the car.
with parents who drive cars and don’t use unleaded petrol, have a
statistically significant higher blood lead level than children
travelling on public transport or in ULP cars
|greater emissions of hydrocarbons due to lack
of opportunity to use a catalytic converter (which would be poisoned by the lead). In some
developing countries, catalytic converter technology is precluded even in new imported
cars, because ULP is not yet available.
||Political questions are raised about the
ethics of developed countries manufacturing and exporting cars to developing countries,
which run on leaded petrol and could not legally be sold at home. Is Australia one of
|vehicle emissions of lead.
in air in road tunnels is a major concern of the residents who live
near the portals, the vents such as those in the Sydney Harbour Bridge
pylons, or the proposed 6 storey high stacks for the Eastern
Distributor tunnels in Sydney’s south east. None of the tunnels in
Sydney has filters or scrubbers (even in the proposed stacks) to
remove the lead from the tunnel emissions
|due to interchangeable use of fuel and
transport facilities - all ULP has some lead contamination
||here is as good a place as any to mention
that although sniffing any petrol is harmful to health, its the lead in petrol that
kills or leaves sniffers with permanent brain damage.
|some catalytic converters die young due to
lead poisoning (either from misfuelling or from lead in air in heavy traffic being taken
into the catalytic converter)
||lack of confidence in Australian made
catalytic converters. Disposal problems for dead catalytic converters.
|leaded street dusts, ceiling void dusts and
sediments in urban areas with heavy traffic from historical and current leaded petrol
emissions from cars.
blood lead levels in populations exposed to heavy traffic leading to a
wide range of adverse health effects; including increased tooth decay,
heart attack and stroke from increased blood pressure, also reduced
fertility, decreased growth in foetuses and children, decreased
hearing acuity, greater aggression and delinquency rates. Decreased
bio-diversity in urban communities through lead’s effect on
endocrine and reproductive systems in soil microbial and sediment
|Lead-contaminated soil alongside busy roads
||such soil is an enormous urban waste problem
because of its bulk. House prices are reduced when the contamination is realised - social
impact that poorer people are forced to live in the cheaper properties on busy roads or to
go to outer car-dependent suburbs to get their children away from pollution.
|lead in urban run-off
||raised heavy metal content of fish and
shellfish in waterways suffering pollution from mines, smelters and urban run-off, and
increased heavy metals in humans eating them
|leaded exhaust systems of old cars and leaded
engines of old cars
||auto mechanics get lead poisoned and also
take the dust home on their clothes to unwittingly poison their children.
||lead poisoning and dioxin-induced cancers
contribute to unhealthy workers being thrown on the scrap heap
|contamination from the recycling of cars -
the whole car is placed in a high friction crusher which becomes so hot that seating and
interior materials are burned up, leaving only a pot-pourri of metals including lead
|emission of lead and dioxins when cars are
burned eg by vandals or in crashes
|25% of the lead in petrol remains in the
vehicle, much of it in the (now) leaded engine oil
||used oil is said (on the transport trucks) to
be "recycled" but in NSW it is not actually filtered before re-use as industrial
fuel, at, for example, dairy food manufacturing facilities.
|emission of lead when reuse engine oil is
burned as a fuel in industrial processes
|lead in soil when reuse engine oil is applied
to soil to damp down the dust
|lead vapour is emitted when reuse engine oil
is painted onto fences and lead is emitted when the timber is later burned. The timber so
treated is leaded waste and the ash from burning is leaded.
|leaded fuel sludge is a waste product of
leaded fuel storage. Storage tanks require disposal as do feeder pipes
||the only Australian "standards" for
cleaning of tanks and disposal of this sludge are written by Associated
manufacture the lead additive.
|dusty products in shops alongside busy roads
become a waste product if not sold
developing countries, milk can be refused at market (and becomes a
waste product) because cows graze alongside busy roads
produce which is not tested is presumably consumed
of this file