One man caused environmental disasters

Sunday, 01 January, 2006

Industrial chemist, Thomas Midgley Junior from Ohio, US was responsible for the double-whammy of putting lead into petrol and inventing chlorofluorocarbons, otherwise known as CFCs, and in doing so probably caused more environmental damage than any other single human being.

Leaded petrol was the norm until the late 1980s and available until the end of the 20th century and, thanks to Midgley, we now have 625 times more lead in our bodies than people did one hundred years ago! CFCs are responsible for huge holes in the 2 mm thick ozone layer through which we are exposed to excessive UV rays.

Midgley was considered a genius in his time and died oblivious to the damage he had facilitated.

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