Poison, forensics, and how science protects us


5 Responses to “Poison, forensics, and how science protects us”

  1. microcars says:

    There are always some boneheads on car forums that I frequent that whine about how they miss the “old days” of leaded gas and how their old cars “ran better” than on today’s Obama-fuels.

    Many of these same people either believe that gasoline simply HAD lead in it already or that it was added to make engines work better. And of course it is all the fault of Liberals and Environmentalistas out to take away their freedomz.  

    There were only two real “benefits” to tetraethyl lead:
    It allowed mfgrs to make engines with cheaper valve seats as the lead prevented micro-welding of the valves to the seats under high heat and pressure. Once “unleaded” was introduced, there were some incidents of engines being wrecked because the valves would stick to their seats after they heated up.  This is always trotted out as “proof” that lead was beneficial, but they never look at it from the perspective of the manufacturer that cheaped out and did not use hardened valve seats in the first place.  

    It was also an extremely cheap method of boosting the octane rating the fuel.
    Ethanol does that now. Higher octane = less chance of pre-detonation = “less knock” It has nothing to do with performance, unless your engine is a high compression engine and needs a higher octane fuel.

  2. Alex3917 says:

    “Approximately 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.” http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/   

    Despite the dramatic declines in blood lead levels over the last 20 years, over 250,000 young children alone still have lead levels high enough to cause all sorts of permanent damage, both mental and physical.

  3. jerwin says:

    I picked it up recently. It’s an awesome book, though I wished she had included a periodic table. (The body sees Radium as a heavier form of Calcium, and incorporates it in bone; arsenic gets substituted for Phosphorus, and so on)

    The schemes used to keep Charles Norris out of the CME’s job (so that the position could be used as a sinecure for donors) were interesting.

  4. Peter says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clair_Cameron_Patterson identified the scale of the problem while over here and campaigned http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/8671336/Pollution-triumph-of-the-inconvenient-truth.html Derek
    Bryce-Smith initiated the campaign to remove it and his wikipedia page is scheduled for deletion.

  5. Camp Freddie says:

    The guy who introduced leaded petrol has an interesting story:

    Apparently he got disillusioned with petrol due to all the safety issues so he decided to look into another industry - refrigeration.  Then he discovered CFCs.

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