A Short History of Nearly Everything - Part 3, Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Bill Bryson
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Part 3, Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

Thomas Midley, Jr. was an engineer turned inventor who, while working at General Motors Research Corporation in 1921, discovered that tetraethyl lead reduces engine knocks. Lead was already widely known to be dangerous, but it was an ingridient in many everyday products from the packaging for toothpaste to pesticides and cans. In fact, lead is a powerful neurotoxin that can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system and even lead to death.

By 1923, General Motors, DuPont and Standard Oil had formed the Ethyl Company and began to manufacture tetraethyl lead as a gasoline additive. Workers were soon becoming disabled or even dying from overexposure. Ethyl denied that lead was the cause and even suggested that one large group of workers who suffered irreversible delusions were simply working too hard. Midgley demonstrated the "safety" of the product by pouring...

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This section contains 633 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Short History of Nearly Everything Study Guide
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