The Man Who Changed the Earth’s Atmosphere—for the Worse

Thomas Midgley, Jr. invented two chemical technologies: leaded gasoline and chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, both of which had unexpected averse consequences on the Earth’s atmosphere and are now banned almost worldwide. The health consequences of ingesting lead were known at least 150 years before, when Benjamin Franklin wrote of his experiences with typesetters working with lead type. But that didn’t stop the adoption of leaded gasoline as an automotive and aviation fuel, spewing massive quantities of lead into the atmosphere and causing an estimated decrease in average intelligence by several IQ points in heavily polluted areas.

His second invention, the refrigerant and aerosol propellant marketed under the name Freon, was seen as a miracle: nonflammable, stable, nonreactive, and safe to inhale. Unfortunately, the gas migrated to the stratosphere where it promoted destruction of ozone that protects Earth’s surface from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation and, being stable, can last more than 100 years in the upper atmosphere.

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That is so fascnating!
While it seems hopeless for one individual to do much good for the world at large, the converse evidently doesnt hold. This guy was like a tiny drop of mercury which (ive read) can poison an entire lake….

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I wonder, if this becomes widely known, whether it will prompt a sequel to the DDT fable, Silent Spring? For a title, I propose “Vi’lent Summer”, because to mitigate the catastrophic problems du jour, no one will be able to afford running their cars or air conditioning.

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As I commented in the video as bad as TEL was it may have allowed the Allies to win the Second World Ward. The Brits used 100 octane gasoline which gave the Spitfire an almost 35 MPH boost while at altitude. The Germans were stuck using 87 octane fuel. It is quite possible this made the difference during the battle of Britain and the subsequent bomber engagements. It may not have won the war for the allies but it certainly helped.

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