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Highly dangerous leaded petrol use officially eradicated across the world, says UN

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The United Nations (UN) announced that the use of leaded petrol has officially been eradicated across the world after Algeria – the last country still using it– stopped selling it at petrol stations. The UN said the end of the dangerous fuel could prevent 1.2 million premature deaths and save $2.45 trillion per year.

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UN SAYS LEADED PETROL USE ERADICATED WORLDWIDE

Leaded petrol was first used in 1922 and by the 1970s, nearly all petrol produced across the world contained the toxic metal. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) began its campaign to eliminate lead use in petrol in 2002 and described it as “one of the most serious environmental threats to human health.”

“By the 1980s, most high-income countries had prohibited the use of leaded petrol, yet as late as 2002, almost all low- and middle-income countries, including some Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, were still using leaded petrol,” said the UN.

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Service stations in Algeria stopped selling leaded petrol in July bringing the use of the fuel that contaminated air, dust, soil, drinking water and food crops for nearly a century to an end. For comparison, South Africa banned leaded petrol at the start of 2006.

The UN said leaded petrol caused heart disease stroke and cancer and affected the development of the human brain with children being most susceptible.

The eradication of leaded petrol is expected to prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths per year, increase IQ points among children, save $2.45 trillion for the global economy and decrease crime rates, according to the UN.

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The successful enforcement of the ban on leaded petrol is a huge milestone for global health and our environment,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

“Overcoming a century of deaths and illnesses that affected hundreds of millions and degraded the environment worldwide, we are invigorated to change humanity’s trajectory for the better through an accelerated transition to clean vehicles and electric mobility.”

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