The Kehoe Files: Part 1 of The Lead Papers


Over the next few weeks, Toxic Docs will unveil 70,000+ documents (or about half a million pages) on the lead industry.

This first batch is something we're calling The Kehoe Files.

Leaded gasoline was hailed by some in the 1920s as a dangerous, deadly additive that would, over time, pollute the nation. Others, however, hailed it as a “Gift of God” that would assure the future of industrial society.

Robert Kehoe was a young environmental scientist at the University of Cincinnati who became a major defender of leaded gsoline. From the 1920s to the 1970s, he provided the scientific evidence that General Motors, Standard Oil, DuPont and the Ethyl Corporation used to justify the introduction of this deadly poison into the gas tanks of virtually every car in the world.

For nearly half a century Kehoe claimed that leaded gasoline was safe to use. He was supported by General Motors and became head of the Kettering Institute at the University of Cincinatti. Of course, we have now learned the terrible price generations have paid for accepting Kehoe and General Motors advice.

Besides corresponding with company executives and scientific personnel, Kehoe also made a number of site visits to local communities thought to suffer from excess lead poisoning, reporting back to the Ethyl Corporation each time.

You can read the Kehoe files with a simple click here. Or go to Advanced Search and select "Kehoe Files" from Special Collections.

We'll be writing more about them over the next few days.