Leaded petrol phased out by 2013

The United Nations Environmental Programme has announced that leaded petrol will cease to be available in the world by 2013.

The global phase-out could be complete, with the six countries that still use small amounts of what used to be called "regular" fuel - Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, North Korea, Burma and Yemen - expected to make the switch in two years' time.

Measures adopted to stop the use of leaded petrol, which was first used in the 1920s, have led to a near-90% reduction in lead-in-blood levels, as well as an over 1.2 million drop in premature deaths annually, according to new research.

The US succeeded in banning leaded petrol in 1986.

A final attempt to ban its use across the world was launched by the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles in 2002.

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