- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

GASOLINE AND HEALTH (mix like gasoline and water)

I have been learning a little about the health effects of gasoline lately, and it is not good news.

One report here discusses the dangers of ethanol. Aside from all the other issues with using ethanol as a fuel, this one sounds like a pretty nasty mew problem if ethanol becomes a popular additive.

Speaking of fuel additives, I recently also discovered the frightening story of MMT, the gasoline additive using manganese, a human neurotoxin known to cause serious illness. Brought to the world by Ethyl Corp, the company that also brought leaded-petrol (tetra-ethyl lead) to the world, and which obviously losing customers on that product, this lovely company recently leveraged the terms of the free trade agreement NAFTA to force Canada to lift its ban on MMT, despite serious concerns in that country that airborne manganese causes disabling neurological impairments in movement and speech.

It looks like car exhaust really is as nasty as it smells - that is unless of course you drive a hydrogen powered Humvee like Arnie...

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