Clair C. Patterson likely saves the world twice in the 20th Century and most folks don’t know who he was. Patterson was the scientist who fought big business in America and political allies in the 1950s and 1960s and proved that lead poisoning in the atmosphere stemmed primarily from auto fumes, i.e. Ethel or leaded gasoline.
By the 1950s Patterson had noted through his research that people on planet earth were already suffering and dying from increased atmospheric lead poisoning starting in the 1920s when the Ethel (lead) was first added regularly to fuels to reduce knocks.
Lead in U.S. gasoline was banned in the 1970s thanks to Clair Patterson’s tireless campaigning. The subsequent banning of lead in fuels in other countries around the globe in the following year and decades has saved untold thousands of lives--and possibly helped millions to avoid suffering unnecessarily due to man-made lead in the atmosphere.
In fighting for the health of millions, the brilliant scientist Patterson, who discovered the age of the earth in the 1950s, was one of the first to study glaciers to interpret climate change in the 20th century.
Interestingly, Clair Patterson’s other research also led scientists to warn of the global dangers of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were also banned in the U.S. 1970s and subsequently around the world starting in the mid 1980s. CFCs were identified as the primary culprit behind the depletion of the Ozone in the world’s atmosphere.
Until the 1970s refrigeration technologies & related industries around the planet earth had been expanding the usage of CFCs for decades.
AFTER BEING SAVED TWICE—WHAT NOW?
With the passing of Clair Patterson at the end of the last millennium, our planet has needed new scientific heroes.