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Midgely absolutely knew of the risks of lead, or at least he should have -- he had to take a leave of absence from his work to recover from a case of lead poisoning, and so many workers in the plant that made tetraethyl lead (TEL) developed inexplicable odd behaviors from their own cases that locals referred to the plant as "the loony gas building."

Worse still, Midgely worked actively to cover the risks of lead up. He even held a press conference in 1924 where, to assure reporters that TEL was safe, he washed his hands in a bowl of the stuff (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-40593353)!

Deborah Blum covered the whole story in her excellent 2011 book, The Poisoner's Handbook (https://www.amazon.com/Poisoners-Handbook-Murder-Forensic-Me...). Blum excerpted the story of TEL for a piece in Wired, which can be read here: https://www.wired.com/2013/01/looney-gas-and-lead-poisoning-...

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