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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Leaded gas lowered America's IQ, and we're still using it

There have been dozens of silver-bullet solutions to the automotive industry's problems over the years. However, once manufacturers, the public, and the government realize that some solutions not only fail but perpetrate the same toxic phenomenon, they take swift action. Just kidding. Regulatory bodies are infamous for moving at an ambulatory pace when it comes to managing toxins.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/leaded-gas-lowered-americas-iq-and-were-still-usi...
247 REPLIES 247
petersalt
Advanced Driver

The airport tarmac pic with the fuel truck shows a turbine powered twin-engine aircraft which burns kerosene (or JP-6) .. which has never contained a tetraethyl lead additive.
[Incidentally, the "definitive" IQ correlation studies of blood lead levels were politically influenced by the medical associations and insurance industries; while some consider them to be of 1st magnitude importance, others consider them hoaxed up to produced a predetermined result... (I did research for the Feds on environmental issues many decades ago .. just saying.)]
Tim
Technician

I'm guessing the photo has since been replaced, because I clearly see a 100LL fuel truck in the photo.

There's no need to try to debunk studies showing lead exposure leads to IQ loss because THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL of human exposure to lead. Lead poisoning has many adverse health effects and substantial public and private costs as a result. There's no need for lead in aviation fuel.
Gary6
Intermediate Driver

I believe the Franklin expedition taught us about the effects of lead on the body.
Even comparatively minute levels are additive, like mercury in some fish species.
Too late for me,
I sure don’t want lead or any other toxic metal accumulating in my grandchildren.
Smilodon
Instructor

I wonder how many gearheads under 50 will even know about the Franklin expedition tragedy? Was a rippin' good example, though, Gary6.
Inline8OD
Technician

Truer words never written. Thank you.
oldcardoc
Intermediate Driver

Yea low lead , not lead free. Were still talking lead here . The engines need it to run without burning the valves up .
oldcardoc
Intermediate Driver

By the way you body takes in lead weather you know it or not ever so slightly but nevertheless it takes on lead and arsenic and man other minerals and in some sort of degree you need them to survive and they do preform some body chemistry that you need and your body can tolerate them as long as they are not too high of levels. I grew up with lead paint and lead additives in gas and it has had no affect on me and I also worked in the industry around these poisons and chemicals and I'm still around. Some people are more prone to contamination than others Mercury for one and to name a few more Beryllium and Nickle to name a few and all of which I have either worked with or used in my life time . Common sence has more to do with these thing and how they are used . Just like Asbestos . They call it poison but it's not poisonous it's an irritant and has been used for over a century and if used correctly is totally harmless . It's a ground up rock material which breaks up in fish hook like manners and gets caught in your lungs and causes damage due to it being an irritant only just like silica sand it cuts your lungs up and that's cause for infection and lung damage. It's not poisonous either . Speaking of poisons' when you take Chemo therapy your taking poisons for sure and that's ok LOL .












Inline8OD
Technician

So what are you trying to say? That a little lead is somehow okay? Your spelling screams credibility.
Smilodon
Instructor

No, lack of credibility. I survived cancer and took chemo. oldcardoc has no clue. It saved my life, but was FAR from ok. Ten years later, I can't tolerate Tylenol because of the chemo caused liver damage. None of the misspelled elements and chemicals in his ramble have any use in the human body. I find the: "I grew up with lead paint and lead additives in gas and it has had no affect(sic) on me..." to be telling. Oh, oldcardoc, in this sentence the word "effect" is correct. The half informed opinion is always more dangerous than speculation. I'll bet he's not Covid vacced, either.
Inline8OD
Technician

Then how do you explain tens if millions of cars from the late '20s through '80s running on Amoco, which was always unleaded?
Smilodon
Instructor

No, they don't.
tbm3fan
Pit Crew

Hmm, I see and I assume you are also referring to the very recent March 2022 study. Another hoax or another pseudo-scientist here commenting?
hyperv6
Collector

To be honest the fall of IQ can be tied to many things including the failure of the family unit and poor parenting.

 

Look at the children with the best grades and better work ethics often had a solid family unit. 

Each generation then is like a Xerox copy and it gets worse with each reproduction in too many cases.

Roomer
Pit Crew

Just like inbreeding, you will not get better results the further you go.
MattK
Advanced Driver

Although I agree with you on the Family unit and parenting issue, IQ has nothing to do with it. You are born with a certain IQ that can be measured correctly at a certain age. That basically does not change. Education and learning can go on for your lifetime but your IQ will not change only your knowledge, wisdom and learned experience.
Inline8OD
Technician

Right, and shifting blame from a known vile toxin to further second-tiering of the poor gets old.
Smilodon
Instructor

Thank you.
Oldroad1
Gearhead

The family unit and parenting have everything to do with the IQ number of a child's intellectual prowess. The fore mentioned instills the ability learn which is a teachable skill and begins at infanthood.
MattK
Advanced Driver

And it has nothing to do with IQ. That child is given the best chances of success for the gifts he/she already has, but no matter how hard they try, may still not possess the necsasarry intelligence to be that heart surgeon or rocket scientist.

cestor01
Intermediate Driver

That is untrue. IQ can change based upon many factors, and is a poor measure of intelligence.
MattK
Advanced Driver

No, IQ changes little. A stable enviroment from birth and proper upbringing will give a child no matter his gifts the best chances in life. And there is the rub. Look at how many broken families there are and the chances ruined for so many children because of it. Look at society around you right now. There are to many examples to give you here. 

Smilodon
Instructor

IQ is innate. Intelligence isn't wisdom, nor book knowledge, nor "street smarts". And modern tests based on the Stanford-Binet model are a very good way to quantify the ineffable.
TA76
Advanced Driver

Not so true you are not born with a certain IQ since test vary by country and measurement of what area of brain is being study. IQ is a very complex subject. nad not as simple as "You are born with a certain IQ . . . '
BB66Vett
Intermediate Driver

What effect does the use and easy access to marijuana have on one's IQ?
Oldroad1
Gearhead

Smoking pot is the cause of stupid.
Studenorton
Instructor

Important new tests reveal there is almost no marihuana in modern fuels!
Tom9716
Detailer

Actually, being stupid is the cause of smoking pot (or doing other drugs).
silentsod
Intermediate Driver

Yet the lead befumed are the giants whose shoulders we stand on.
Inline8OD
Technician

Nonsense. Throughout the 1930s, postwar, through the muscle car idiocy, tens of millions of cars ran just fine on Amoco, which was always unleaded.
BMD4800
Engineer

I have some cylinder heads to show you.
TA76
Advanced Driver

Their premium was but I could find no proof all of their gas all the way back was.
TingeofGinge
Advanced Driver

"Lead exposure and IQ are inversely related, so this means that over half of Americans have lost some degree of intellectual capacity."
This explains just so, so much...
audiobycarmine
Technician

GREAT article, Kyle.
Pertinent info with wry humour added.

Good use of extinct corporate names (ESSO) to avoid libel... (It's now EXXON.)
What about "Flying A", "Gulf" and "Cities' Service"?

For those of us who don't know, (that's ME,) please explain what a Lycoming Engine is.
I'm guessing that it's got all those cylinders sticking out circularly around the outside...
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Lycoming = piston-powered engine that a lot of small/not quite as small aircraft use (I seem to recall some use in helicopters as well), they've been used for decades, and are sized from reeeally small to around 400hp eight cylinders (current engines).

...if you were seriously asking.

Kyle
Moderator

@Hagerty Fan has it right. Lycoming is a manufacturer of aviation engines. It is common for one company to create an airframe (the chassis of the aircraft) and then power it with an engine sourced from a manufacturer. This allows each to do what they do best and not be spread too thin--especially since so many parts need to be certified ($$$).

Oddly enough, the early days of the automobile were similar, but mainly because those who wanted to build a car didn't possess the machining tooling or knowledge to fabricate and engine, but could fairly easily build a unique chassis.
Studenorton
Instructor

Lycoming built engines for Cord and Duesenberg.
sclin10
Instructor

I remember when the changed the "ENCO" to "ESSO" because it was too close to the Japanese word for poo-poo.
DaveP
Detailer

Really? No crap - I didn't know that.
SGL
Intermediate Driver

Lycoming is an engine manufacturer, the other common one in general aviation is Continental. Since the 50s they’ve made horizontally opposed air cooled engines for small airplanes. 4,6, and occasionally 8 cylinders. Before the 50s, they made radial and water cooled engines. If you see an old Lincoln arc welder with a radiator, it probably has a Continental industrial flathead 4. Cord automobiles famously used a Lycoming V8, optionally supercharged.
at7000ft
Pit Crew

Current recip aircraft engines are relics from the stone age and are outrageously expensive. The Marvel-Schebler one barrel carburetor on my airplane is very similar to the carburetor that came on the Model-A Ford, costs $2400 new and $1600 rebuilt. (You won't believe how much a new engine costs).

SGL
Intermediate Driver

Oh, I believe the cost… because I know what it costs just to get a radial reconditioned. The thing is that since turbines took over the commercial market, there hasn’t been a an economic driver to force improvements to in recip aircraft engines. Those “relics from the Stone Age” are tailored to turning propellers, and doing so reliably. Lots of people adapt automotive engines to experimental-registered aircraft… and they declare emergencies with alarming regularity. Even if the engine itself survives, things like gearboxes and ECUs have a hard time in the aircraft world. You probably know (but the average gearhead doesn’t) just how much R&D and how many failures it took to get the reduction gears and blower drive gears on engines like Merlins and Allisons to survive the nonstop crankshaft torsional harmonics pounding against the aerodynamic loads on the prop. The fact that the “Stone Age relics” are direct-drive and make all their power at 2500 rpm is a huge factor in why they work.
GRP_Photo
Technician

ScaryLarryPants gave you a short description of Lycoming. The other main alternative is Continental. Both manufacture four to eight cylinder horizontally opposed engines for us in light aircraft. Many of these are large bore, short stroke designs that require 100 octane fuel. Many of their other designs safely run on high-test auto gasoline. None safely run on gas containing alcohol.
My Cessna 150, with its Continental O-200 ran just fine on 93 octane mogas, but my Maule-MX7-160, with its Lycoming O-320, required 100LL.
GRP_Photo
Technician

BTW. What you are describing is called a "radial" engine. The only manufacturer of these things of which I'm aware that's still around is Pratt&Whitney. De Havilland still uses them.
MustangJim
Technician

Interesting: We may have lost IQ but we still invented the internet.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Not entirely certain we should be patting ourselves on the back for that accomplishment, even if in jest. I once received death threats for writing satire stories about Dale Earnhardt Jr...never mind they were actually pro-Junior.

BossGreg
Detailer

Alan Turing invented the internet. We are still really stupid.
Jimboriffic
Intermediate Driver

No, Alan Turing did not invent the internet. Try Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, and Tim Berners-Lee.
BossGreg
Detailer

Specifically, he invented the computer that the internet relies on. I know, I've been around a lot of leaded gas
TomP
Intermediate Driver

Tim Berners-Lee created the world wide web, not the internet. He was only 14 years old when that happened.