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TABLE 1 Metal Properties

Properties

Cd

Co

Cu

Hg

Ni

Pb

Zn

Biochemical activity

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

Toxicity

H

M

M

H

M

H

M

Carcinogenicity

 

H

 

 

H

 

 

Concentration in aerosols

H

L

H

H

L

H

H

Ease of spreading

H

H

L

H

L

H

L

Mobility

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

Tendency to bioconcentration

H

H

M

H

H

H

M

Ability to accumulate

H

M

H

H

M

H

H

Complex formation

M

L

H

M

L

L

H

Tendency to hydrolysis

M

L

H

M

M

M

H

Solubility

H

L

H

H

L

H

H

Persistence

L

H

H

L

H

L

H

H—high M—moderate L—low activity

Entering the atmosphere from exhaust gases of automobiles and then accumulating in the top layers of the soil, lead enters the human body through the gastro-intestinal path, as well as by inhalation. Lead is delivered by the blood and accumulates in bones, the liver, the kidneys, and the brain. Lead irreversibly affects the nervous system, impedes functioning of the reproductive system, affects the kidneys, and causes mental and physical retardation in children. Especially dangerous is the effect of lead on children, who, when inhaling dust, receive approximately five times more lead for their body weight than adults. Also, lead assimilates in children at a level several times higher than in adults.

According to the World Bank, lead pollution of the air from motor transport has become one of the three main risk factors for health in Central and Eastern Europe. The UN Committee on Sustainable Development considers a general prohibition of ethylized gasoline a primary health protection task for the global population. The plan for complete cessation of leaded gasoline production was discussed at the Conference of the European Environmental Ministers in 1998 in Denmark. The parallel reduction of lead levels in human blood in the United States and the decreased use of leaded gasoline since the middle of the 1980s is clear.

Also, it is interesting that in 1997, The Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (U.S.) issued a brochure entitled Myths and Realities of Phasing Out Lead Gasoline (see Table 2). The necessity and possibility of a complete change to unleaded gasoline are obvious.



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