World in Our Hands


Artist Paulette Richards‘ sculpture links people worldwide. QR codes on the back link to scientist Valerie Thomas’ research on environmental exposure to lead. This work developed from an Atlanta ScienceArtWonder collaboration in spring 2018.

Lead in Gasoline

Tetra-ethyl lead was used as a gasoline additive in the 1920s. With the increased use of motor vehicles throughout the 20th century, use of tetra-ethyl lead increased as well.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. Lead also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage.

With increased understanding of the health impacts of lead exposure, the use of lead in gasoline began to be phased out in some countries in the late 1970s, but its use remained widespread throughout the 2oth century.

This site, linked to an installation by artist Paulette Richards, is dedicated to telling the story.