LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 8 no 2, 2001, 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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Fully Referenced Expanded Version of
"New strategies needed to cut lead pollution",
Guest Article, Science and Technology Column, Canberra Times
Thursday 25th January 2001

Lead - From The Petrol Bowser To Blood And Bone - part 6

by Elizabeth O'Brien, National Coordinator of The LEAD Group and
Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Coordinator of the National Toxics Network

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A RESPONSE TO: "Lead may be dead but we've been had"

PDF version of this file: New strategies needed to cut lead pollution

Reduced vehicle maintenance costs with lead phase-out

One completely neglected issue is that there are economic benefits of reducing lead in petrol in terms of reduced maintenance costs for the vehicle. In 1985 the US EPA published a cost benefit analysis of a stepped phase-down of the level of lead in leaded petrol (with steps to occur by July 1985 and by January 1986) which estimated the total maintenance benefits of the phase-out as (in 1983 US$) $252 million in 1985, rising to $933 million in 1986. The analysis (Schwartz et al, 1985) included the following information on maintenance issues affected by lead or the scavengers that are always included in leaded petrol in an attempt to overcome some of these problems:

Reducing lead in gasoline can result in less frequent replacement of exhaust systems and spark plugs and less frequent oil changes…

Vehicles experience fewer exhaust system failures using unleaded gasoline than leaded because of the difference in acidity in exhaust gas concentrates…

This higher acidity accelerates corrosion in mufflers and tailpipes…

The corrosive effects of lead and its scavengers also reduce the useful life of spark plugs…

The combustion products that deposit on engine surfaces cause corrosion and rusting. Engine oil accumulates much of the debris from this corrosion, as well as some portion of the gasoline lead. According to at least one estimate, up to 10 percent of the lead in gasoline ends up in the used oil, comprising up to 50 percent of the weight of engine oil sludge….

The evidence indicates that there is a relationship between lead additives and oil change intervals shown through reduction in engine and engine-parts wear (from reduced abrasive lead particles or reduced rust), oil degradation, and general engine and engine-part cleanliness (eg lack of deposits and sludge). One indication of this relationship is the fact that manufacturers' recommended intervals between oil changes have more than doubled since the introduction of unleaded gasoline…

PDF version of this file: New strategies needed to cut lead pollution

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