The Man Who Accidentally Killed The Most People In History 

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One scientist caused two environmental disasters and the deaths of millions. A part of this video is sponsored by Wren. Offset your carbon footprint on Wren: ​www.wren.co/start/veritasium. For the first 100 people who sign up, I will personally pay for the first month of your subscription!
Massive thanks to Prof. Francois Tissot for suggesting we make a video on the topic of isotope geochemistry. Huge thanks to Prof. Bruce Lanphear for consulting with us on lead and cardiovascular diseases. Thanks to the Caltech Archives for the audio of Patterson’s interview. Thanks to Vincent Mai for lending us your Snatoms kit. Thanks to Rayner Moss for the help with the fire-piston.
Patterson’s 1995 interview audio courtesy of the Archives, California Institute of Technology.
Other great resources you should check out:
Bill Bryson has a chapter in his fantastic “A Short History of Nearly Everything”
Radiolab have a wonderful podcast: www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/...
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey has a wonderful episode - S1E7 which does a great job of telling the story of Clair Patterson
A fantastic Mental floss article - www.mentalfloss.com/article/9...
Much of the lead-crime hypothesis data is from Rick Nevin’s work - ricknevin.com/
WHO factsheet on lead poisoning - www.who.int/news-room/fact-sh...
WHO press release about the end of leaded gasoline news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/...
UNICEF report - ve42.co/UNICEF
Needleman, H. (2004). Lead poisoning. Annu. Rev. Med., 55, 209-222. ve42.co/Needleman1
Needleman, H. L. (1991). Human lead exposure. CRC Press. ve42.co/Needleman2
Needleman, H. L. et al. (1979). Deficits in psychologic and classroom performance of children with elevated dentine lead levels. New England journal of medicine, 300(13), 689-695. - ve42.co/Needleman3
Needleman, H. L. et al. (1996). Bone lead levels and delinquent behavior. Jama, 275(5), 363-369. ve42.co/Needleman4
Kovarik, W. J. (1993). The ethyl controversy: the news media and the public health debate over leaded gasoline, 1924-1926 ve42.co/Kovarik2
Edelmann, F. T. (2016). The life and legacy of Thomas Midgley Jr. In Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania ve42.co/Edelmann
More, A. F. et al. (2017). Next‐generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: Insights from the Black Death. GeoHealth, 1(4), 211-219. ve42.co/More1
McFarland, M. J., et al. (2022). PNAS 119(11), e2118631119. ve42.co/McFarland
Kovarik, W. (2005). Ethyl-leaded gasoline. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 11(4), 384-397. ve42.co/Kovarik3
Nevin, R. (2007). Understanding international crime trends: the legacy of preschool lead exposure. Environmental research, 104(3), 315-336. - ve42.co/Nevin2007
Ericson, J. E., et al. (1979). Skeletal concentrations of lead in ancient Peruvians. New England Journal of Medicine, 300(17), 946-951. - ve42.co/Ericson1
Patterson, Claire. The Isotopic Composition of Trace Quantities of Lead and Calcium ve42.co/Patterson1
Boutron, C. F., & Patterson, C. C. (1986). Lead concentration changes in Antarctic ice during the Wisconsin/Holocene transition. Nature, 323(6085), 222-225. - ve42.co/Boulton1
Patterson, C. (1956). Age of meteorites and the earth. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 10(4), 230-237. - ve42.co/Patterson2
Lanphear, B. P. et al (2018). Low-level lead exposure and mortality in US adults: a population-based cohort study. The Lancet Public Health, 3(4), e177-e184. - ve42.co/Lanphear1
Schaule, B. K., & Patterson, C. C. (1981). Lead concentrations in the northeast Pacific: evidence for global anthropogenic perturbations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 54(1), 97-116. - ve42.co/Schaule1
Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Inconcision, Kelly Snook, TTST, Ross McCawley, Balkrishna Heroor, Chris LaClair, Avi Yashchin, John H. Austin, Jr., OnlineBookClub.org, Dmitry Kuzmichev, Matthew Gonzalez, Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Anton Ragin, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Josh Hibschman, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, jim buckmaster, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal
Written by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, Chris Stewart, and Katie Barnshaw
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Filmed by Petr Lebedev
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Ivy Tello, Mike Radjabov, and Caleb Worcester
SFX by Shaun Clifford
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang









Veritasium 年 前
Happy Earth Day! If you want to offset your carbon emissions I will personally cover the first month of your subscription at ve42.co/wren (for the first 100 people to sign up)
ᙏɾ Uടടყ ಠ ͜ ಠ
Why am I being recommended these videos by YT. Some stoopid guy made an error like really old time ago and we have to learn about it??? Why !!!!!!
ᙏɾ Uടടყ ಠ ͜ ಠ
PS: I hate earth !!!
Pinuela, James Mezack
3rd comment lol
FļüFf ŰpP
FļüFf ŰpP 年 前
Do the lead pencils we use have the same lead? ✏️✏️✏️
Taniha 年 前
Bro I am waiting for the new n updated video on electricity
Ben Eater
Ben Eater 年 前
The FAA has been dragging their feet on approving unleaded aviation fuel for years even though a fleet-wide replacement (G100UL) has passed all of the necessary certification tests multiple times. Naturally, approving it would create economic winners and losers, so I guess that's the holdup?
Konrad P
Konrad P 年 前
The timing of infrastructure changes always coincides with keeping money in the same pockets.
Peer reviewed data proves that decay is accelerated by other materials.
Joan 年 前
At least the aviation version is "low lead" (100LL). I think that's about half of the normal lead level.
MASTER nobody
sadlife. but in order to solve this we have brilliant ad. xD makes us 20 times smarter by watching yt tutorials
RI Outboards
RI Outboards 年 前
you mean AVgas yes, but only for piston engines. Jet engines, which are responsible for 90% of the emissions, use JetA.
the one and only gebo
This man just managed to cover history, psychology, science, chemistry, math, and human studies.
BuilderMAN 6 ヶ月 前
Honestly I got really mad because at first he moved between so many subjects, but boy this is the most amazing video ever imo
Vincent Chee 文辉
Vincent Chee 文辉 4 ヶ月 前
…and animation!
Miles Loden
Miles Loden 2 ヶ月 前
A true renaissance man.
Numinous 2 ヶ月 前
Textbook pessimism. The statement is true, in part, but is definitely not the whole story and is presented in a selective manner that disregards this fact.
Harald Honk
Harald Honk ヶ月 前
And geology!
NineSun 7 ヶ月 前
Can't call it "by accident" if he activly tries to keep the truth about the toxicity away from the public. He and his boss are surely in the top ten of worst human being ever lived on this planet. It does not matter if it was intentional or not. The damage he had done is irredeemable.
Peepee Poopoo
Peepee Poopoo 4 ヶ月 前
is he worse than hitler? because he tried to make money and didn't think it would be that big a deal?
Megan J
Megan J 4 ヶ月 前
I could also add MSGs, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and other artificial things in common USA foods that are wreaking havoc on our bodies
@Megan J hormones? GMOS? Wha
Derr Shnipp
Derr Shnipp 4 ヶ月 前
@Megan J lmao
DemonAlchemist 8 ヶ月 前
I love that Michael Stevens, Tom Scott and Derek Muller have all covered Thomas Midgely Jr.'s life and inventions. And I've watched all of these videos numerous times, including this more recent one. And that's not to say they're all the same. The focus on Clair Patterson in this video is phenomenal, a true scientist who should be taught about in all schools.
Radiumbreon 7 ヶ月 前
Clair Patterson’s story is told in an episode of Cosmos too.
zues121510 5 ヶ月 前
Honestly this dude seems so cool
john beans
john beans 3 ヶ月 前
why not just say their channel names? you know them personally or you're just trying to sound cool?
DemonAlchemist 3 ヶ月 前
@johnbeans4297 Because I'm talking about the people who covered it. Michael Stevens isn't Vsauce and Derek Muller isn't Veritasium. Those are their JPvid channels, not their names. Referring to a person's actions by their name is standard, and they have never gone by those "names". They are just the names of the JPvid channels where they put their content. Also, Tom Scott's channel is called "Tom Scott", so... Your question would make some sense if those were pseudonyms, but they aren't. Even then though, it's not remotely weird to use a person's real name when referencing them. If I knew them personally, why would I say their last names?
Thomas Rosebrough
Thomas Rosebrough 2 ヶ月 前
99 Percent Invisible also did a story on it which covers less of the science but more of the political theatre and lobbying involved which delayed the ban as long as it did.
Some Undead Talent
Pretty insane if you keep in mind that a very similar problem nowadays has come up with plastic. And people don’t want to get rid of it due to the same reasons - cost effective, practical, flexible in use.
Sergmanny Rolic
Yes but you don't get poisoned to death when touching/licking plastic, unlike lead.
Elina 年 前
@Sergmanny Rolic They discovered we have plastic particles in our lungs. No one knows how that will affect us long term.
The OwO Dynasty
The OwO Dynasty 11 ヶ月 前
@Elina Well then, now what?
Linus B.
Linus B. 4 ヶ月 前
I'm a bit late, I'm afraid. But i have to say, this video and the one about Fritz Harber are two of the greatest on JPvid, as far as I know. The amount of work, the graphics, the story, the entire research and the way you and maybe your team filtered the information to keep the whole video interesting and informative is incredible. You telling a story and as you mentioned yourself in the beginning, its a show. Its an entire documentary but so fascinating or gripping, that you enjoy the entire journey. Its history, science and somehow like discovering a mystery. Absolutely great work. For me its a piece of art and to do that with that much knowledge and information speaks for itself.
FlyntofRWBY 年 前
Imagine being the person responsible for making an entire generation dumber on average. That’s a sad legacy to leave behind.
Mezznos 年 前
And now the younger ones are suffering from it
Privileguan 年 前
There seem to be a lot of groups contesting for the title, nowadays.
Nameless 年 前
have you been on truth social? Patterson's record is being challenged daily.
Charles F Konkle
Charles F Konkle 9 ヶ月 前
Thank you for all your informative episodes. 15% of all aviation fuel contains lead. Eagles fly and sore up to 20,000 ft. Air is cycled twice through the lungs of an eagle (twice that of humans) to ensure lungs are always inflated. The leading cause of eagle deaths is from environmental lead poisoning.
Tony Ko
Tony Ko 4 ヶ月 前
Its kind of nuts that lead is not regulated in aviation fuel. I live right next to a small airport in a busy large city and literally nobody knows about lead from this fuel. Nevermind the international airport. It is literally less than 100 meters away from condo buildings.
acrspeed 2 ヶ月 前
​@Tony Ko leaded fuel is used in light piston aircraft, so most major international airports won't have much, if any, increased lead in the environment.
Ernest Chadwell
Ernest Chadwell 5 日 前
Are you trying to imply that aviation exhaust is the source of the lead poisoning eagles, rather than bioaccumulation of dumped lead in the fish they catch?😂
Sebastian Acacia
Sebastian Acacia 3 ヶ月 前
I love how educational these videos are, but I can't help getting angry at the idea that we could be smarter, safer, and more advanced as a species if it weren't for these short initial moments in our history
Anthony Cekic
Anthony Cekic 3 ヶ月 前
To make it even worse, the business owners knew but saw the dollar signs. Capitalism strikes again.
Gregory Vadnais
Gregory Vadnais 8 ヶ月 前
Watching this brought back one of the worst cases of sadistic child abuse I ever heard about. A friend many years ago adopted a brother and sister who were impaired. Their biological father had intentionally fed them powdered lead paint in their cereal for an extended period of time. I never found out whether he was charged or penalyzed. Sadly there are many American people to this day who are being poisoned because our government has neglected to repair lead piping that approximately 15-22 million people are still getting through their taps. Rarely if ever is it brought up in the media.
Ernest Chadwell
Ernest Chadwell 5 日 前
One case of abuse is bad, but Millions of babies are born impaired with FAS because their mothers drink alcohol while carrying them, knowing the damage they are causing. Women get a pass and society picks up the tab. Perhaps this father just needed "education" too😑
SuperThunderGoodGuy 🏳️‍🌈
I first learned about Clare Patterson watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Definitely an amazing man. Using science and fighting against oil companies who cared more about profit than public health.
Skiddy Trippy
Skiddy Trippy 25 日 前
who still cares more about profit than really anything else.
ROLtheWolf 年 前
The moment that Midgley pretended that Ethyl wasn't dangerous (especially after HE, HIMSELF, had just recovered from lead poisoning) was the moment that it was no longer an "ACCIDENT" that he poisoned the world.
Chez Bubulle - Lore & LoL
The amount of times this kind of disregard for human safety has happened disgusts me.
Chez Bubulle - Lore & LoL
@Jim Werther quite the monologue just to disagree with literally every scientist in the world saying that lead is dangerous. Your proof being "trust me bro, my dad is smart"
Kent Slocum
Kent Slocum 年 前
The moment we failed to listen to Ben Franklin was when it stopped being an accident.
Gaia's Guardian
In all reality, the companies, banks, and other companies involved would have simply hired someone else to advertise the product anyway. Most likely a worker, I mean - they used the radium girls. The advertising point was safety, and "nothing says safe better than breathing it!"
Aline Das
Aline Das 10 ヶ月 前
My ex-husband was a senior executive at ExxonMobil. When he retired, he said that his biggest regret was not to have pushed for the unleaded solutions in fuels much earlier.
Amanita Muscaria
Amanita Muscaria 3 ヶ月 前
My late brother worked as a logistics manager for many oil companies around the world. The stories he told of death and corruption were awful.
stefevr 2 ヶ月 前
you did well to divorce him
Brandon Borgerding
Brandon Borgerding 2 ヶ月 前
you gotta love doing something evil and then planning an apology down the road so you can get the best of both worlds
david shaffer
david shaffer 10 ヶ月 前
This answers a question I had as a child.why did Fred Flintstone call the dinosaur that filled his car eythel.honestly,a great and very informative history lesson.thank you.
Ali AlHawary
Ali AlHawary 7 ヶ月 前
That's why they taught us in school that "ethics comes first before knowledge." Even if he did it unknownly of its dangers, its ethical to study all its effects, and lesen to people when they try to warn you.
Michael Wade
Michael Wade 8 ヶ月 前
Lead poisoning is no joke, I work in the metal recycling industry and have been exposed to large amount of lead, my last lead blood test was 26.7μg/dL with the lab results saying levels should be
spungbop toastpants
spungbop toastpants 7 ヶ月 前
i hope you get better soon, lead poisoning is awful.
Emily 7 ヶ月 前
That's terrible! Would you leave the industry to avoid further exposure? 😥
Reaper500 6 ヶ月 前
I know how it feels, I live where the groundwater(drinking water) are polluted with lead and many other chemicals since the industries basically have no oversight and dump everything everywhere they can. Especially the river, I have hard time remembering anything, hands always jittery, and many other health problems. And sadly, even today, nothing is done to prevent this pollutions. Eventually profits are always more important than lives.
Richard Payne
Richard Payne 6 ヶ月 前
I'm sorry to hear about the issues you have and hope you're able to alleviate the effects they have on you. The answer to your question is money. In the end it's always money.
Smokeykiller51 5 ヶ月 前
I worked at a smelter. Cadmium and the like tis no joke. Wear and clean your respirator properly.
Tk Yt Tala
Tk Yt Tala 10 ヶ月 前
I was given a homework to write a presentation about an invention. I chose cars. I was wondering what i should add to my text but then i remembered this video existed. I wrote a short summary of this story and the teacher liked it. Thanks so much.
R. E. Loyola
R. E. Loyola 7 ヶ月 前
Good thing you remembered this video. Bet you didn't get much lead exposure then😅
Alexis Speed105
Alexis Speed105 6 ヶ月 前
​@ThatDroneGuy Wow... That's a lot of negativity.
Sofia 6 ヶ月 前
@ThatDroneGuy maybe instead of crying in a comment section you could idk.. go and enjoy your life? No need to be so negative about a kid lol
𝘮𝘪𝘢𝘶 5 ヶ月 前
​@Sofia what did this drone guy wrote?
Fun Times
Fun Times 2 ヶ月 前
This was well done! I’m growing to enjoy your content. Keep it up and thank you for the work you and the team put into it.
Jeff Zakraysek
Clair Patterson was a big part of getting lead out of gasoline. He didn't just do the research, he testified to lawmakers as well. He's one of those true heroes that we shamefully never get told about in school.
Tyragon 年 前
gioyu comi I would say he grossly underestimated how bad they were rather, given he expected 10 times less lead in bones today as opposed to thousands of years ago. Who can say though if he was trying to be optimistic and ignore "skepticism" from others or were completely ignorant, he's still terrible for knowingly exposing himself to the chemicals just to fool others and make a profit. I think greed can make many go far even to risk their own life than risk being honest and losing everything, but I'm not sure he might've risked as much if he knew what he know today, especially since he did a lot of the studies himself on lead to find out, whether out of conscience or to save his invention's reputation.
Torin 年 前
So that's why millions of kids were uninterested in school in the late 50s and 60s 17:10 And we pay tax es., it should be re versed for poi son ing the pub lic !!
Greyraes 年 前
@Tyragon no. You've mixed it up, it was PATTERSON that measured and expected 10 times less, and found his predictions blown out of the water. Rewatch at 16:04 Midgley spent months recovering from lead poisoning in Florida and avoiding his own product. If anyone was to know about the effects of lead first hand it would have been him.
Michael Paulus
Michael Paulus 10 ヶ月 前
In 7th grade science class the teacher passed around samples of various elements. The lead sample was in a glass bottle with thoroughly taped on lid. The guy sitting next to me, James, took the tape off, removed the lid, and took a big whiff. He went into a coughing fit, unable to breathe, pounding on his own chest. The teacher came over, took the bottle and said "Lead is poisonous."
Carl Hocker
Carl Hocker 10 ヶ月 前
Teacher is based
SpaceDoritos 10 ヶ月 前
M Tarık
M Tarık 9 ヶ月 前
So ducktape is a terrible safety measure againist lead? Shocker
superNB1334 9 ヶ月 前
Today in things that didnt happen
Doug Smith
Doug Smith 年 前
As a car guy I have to point out that lead is still used in many high octane race fuel blends, they’re intended to be used with cars on track that no longer have emissions systems because I guess lead and catalytic converters don’t mix. Once you’re getting to octane levels of 100 or higher it’s pretty much standard to find TEL still in use, some drag strips and gas pumps near racetracks will even have it on the pumps as an option
Derek 9 ヶ月 前
in england it's still sold at a few stations for ordinary use and i sometimes use a real TEL additive but usually a synthetic replacement
Bio Emiliano
Bio Emiliano 2 日 前
As someone who works with solder, this worries me, I knew lead is harmful, but I didnt know that ANY amount of lead was harmful. Thanks for this piece of excellent periodism.
SaintPandaXXIII 3 ヶ月 前
Havent learned much since school, fell into addiction. First thing i been able to watch on my own device in awhile. Thanks and bless everybody here trying to learn.
Philip Fletcher
Just as a point of order: he didn't 'accidentally' harm or kill millions of people. He (and others) knew the consequences of their actions but was prepared for others to py the (ultimate) price for his pieces of silver. Greed is, and will continue to be, the downfall of mankind.
Sheila Marie
Sheila Marie 年 前
Bingo baby.
Noah R.
Noah R. 年 前
It is not innate human greed that is the problem, it is the current economic system that makes, encourages and celebrates greed.
Stream Young Loud 😈
Simon 年 前
@Noah R. And that's why we need a more social economic system aimed fulfilling people's needs and the needs of our environment, instead of maximising private profit.
ThaJay 年 前
@Simon Indeed, EAT THE RICH and replace the system.
Trafy Knits
Trafy Knits 10 ヶ月 前
My dad was born in 1913 and grew up around these "crank" cars. He turned a crank, the engine started the the crank hit my dad's arm and broke it. The auto has killed millions but no one would dare suggest that it had never been invented. When humans want something badly enough, they'll put up with massive fatality counts that result from it.
Nigralurker 3 ヶ月 前
Its the very reason why we're here and not still sitting in the fields hunting with sticks and stones.
jason200912 6 日 前
All they had to do was implement a ratchet into the thing
Yllaño Jay Valido
Yllaño Jay Valido 10 ヶ月 前
I strangely feel happy of his strangulation of the device that he also made. He is actually that guy in the Zombie movies that frequently survived in the first scenes by brilliant strategies and putting lives of others to death but dies horribly at the end.
Rubiconnn 10 ヶ月 前
He died a hero, inventing the device that ended the life of the man who poisoned the world and destroyed the ozone layer.
JerseyMetalMike 3 ヶ月 前
@veritasium You described one of the effects of lead poisoning was that it strips the mylenin off of nerve cells. This is exactly the description of what the disease Multiple Sclerosis does! I'd be curious of your source, since my wife suffers from MS, and I've not come across this fact in my research thus far.
Ant Brown
Ant Brown 10 ヶ月 前
This is a super informative and revealing piece of important history. Thanks Derek for bring this to the attention of many!
Brandon Bloch
Brandon Bloch 29 日 前
This was super well done. Thanks for making quality content that actually matters 👍
ross m
ross m 年 前
It's interesting that the person who caused the harm in this case did so much of it and did it with a huge amount of support. Meanwhile, the person who tried to undo it had to go to great lengths to prove there was a problem and was still seen as extreme at the time.
Stalemate 年 前
Hmm reminds me of Pfizer 🤣
Michal G
Michal G 年 前
@Sean Hubbard 🤣 You mean gene therapy?
Shadow Dragon
People who fight against power structures are always labelled as extreme by those who want to hold on to their power
juan hernandez
juan hernandez 10 ヶ月 前
This guy does a great job. Thank you for this work!
Kalasag 10 日 前
Learned a lot about lead! The amount of work done here is priceless. Thanks
Grid Free or Die
Grid Free or Die 7 ヶ月 前
Thank you. Excellent video and great history as usual. Learned a lot. The only thing I'd add to your explanation is that the freed chlorine atom not only bonds to ozone, but then it subsequently reacts with atomic oxygen and eventually separates into free chlorine again and again and again. 1 chlorine atom is said to/(measured?) breakdown 100,000 ozone molecules. That's why is so bad in trace amounts.
pradeep ap
pradeep ap 11 ヶ月 前
Man !!! Mind blowing... What an immeasurable effort to put these in just one video. Everything you said is newer to me and you covered everything about lead in all the aspects. Respect bro🙏😯
Dave Hart
Dave Hart 10 ヶ月 前
they just went down the guy's wikipedia page almost line for line...
Eric Whitney
Eric Whitney ヶ月 前
This was one of the most informative videos I have ever seen on JPvid. This is a must-watch video.
Being able to correlate historical events related to human civilization like the rise and fall of empires and the Black Death by observing lead levels in the ice cores in Greenland is so crazy.
LeLe 年 前
@Cewla it was both the poles and greenland
Ø 年 前
Earth is a closed system 🤷‍♂️
Stream Young Loud. 😈
BHBalast 年 前
@Ø It is not, it gets sun energy
Senan Kannangara
@BHBalast Earth is a closed system, but not an Isolated system. Closed systems absorb/release energy with outside, but isolated systems do not.
Gujakis 10 ヶ月 前
That was so interesting to hear and in the same time shocking. Amazing what chain of reactions one "small" change/discovery can produce 🙄 But in their defense for both events, both inventions, it would actually take years and years of study for them to realize that the "discovery" is not so good.
Rishabh Agarwal
Rishabh Agarwal 10 ヶ月 前
But it was mentioned that all of them knew that lead wasn't good for general public yet they went ahead with their sales
henforge 3 ヶ月 前
An interesting thing to note, that was briefly touched on in this presentation, was the accumulation of lead in the bones. I would like to know what research has been done identifying neonatal lead poisoning caused by the feeding of mothers milk. The second child of my cousin was diagnosed with lead poisoning, although there was no lead paint to be found in their house (a trace on a window sill in an unused room). My theory has always been that she ingested lead through nursing.
jason200912 6 日 前
Fede Vargas
Fede Vargas 28 日 前
In Argentina, the water pipes for homes were made of lead and even today there are still millions of homes in this condition. I can still remember the unpleasant taste of the water in my grandmother's house, which I later learned was due to lead.
Eliad Buchnik
Eliad Buchnik 4 ヶ月 前
I think that he is reflection of the time he lived in. People back then had less to almost no awareness to environmental and health effects of stuff they invent or use daily. Inverters like him, usually thought on the single goal of improving performance, or certain characteristics with almost no regards to other aspects. Only later after we've witnessed the effects those inventions, we became more aware, and also regulations have changed accordingly.
Heather Steed
Heather Steed 7 ヶ月 前
Can you do an episode on glyphosate and another on industrial seed oils? I think humans are having similar problems due to use of these chemicals which are incompatible with human biology/microbiomes.
Simulacra In The Shell
He did NOT "accidentally" kill the most people in history, he had PLENTY of chances to make things better at ANY point.
Chris Langtiw
Indeed. Willfully downplaying and ignoring the hazards, real and potential, can hardly be called accidental. All in the name of making money. Unfortunately that time period in particular has many examples of that kind of behavior, the consequences and results of which the world continues to deal with today. And don't forget industrial lobbying.
The Caynuck
The Caynuck 年 前
Would've been hard for him to undo all of that. Sad, because he was a great scientist and even helped find the age of the Earth and helped nuclear technology, but one innovation had more problems than he could've ever imagined.
FerdEdits 年 前
The title is just as much of an "accident"
Russell 年 前
Yeah, he KNEW from the very beginning that his product was harmful and he chose greed and self-interest over the good of his fellow man, that's just plain evil, smh.
pramod k
pramod k 11 ヶ月 前
One of the best video, I have ever seen, you are truly genius and humane. I hope your work will make people more conscious and will lead to a better world. A world which is not driven by greed of few but by the well-being of humanity.
Li 6 ヶ月 前
Agreed, very well said. ❤
Kirti Sawant
Kirti Sawant 10 ヶ月 前
Patterson is such an amazingly analytical researcher!
PorkPieJR 2 ヶ月 前
Love the animations! Helps a lot to visualise and take the information in
Veerabhadraiah A S
Veerabhadraiah A S 10 ヶ月 前
Wow. The amount of research in this video is overwhelming. More power to you.
Mark Lindgren
Mark Lindgren ヶ月 前
And I still worry about one of my sons. When he was with his mom for a weekend he got shot with a pellet gun. But kept it secret for a few days. When I discovered it I took him to the doctor. But the doctor said it's fine if it stays in his body. But it's a lead pellet.
Aaron Helsby
Aaron Helsby 7 日 前
They don’t use lead anymore
Mark Lindgren
Mark Lindgren 7 日 前
@Aaron Helsby really, well that's that's good to know. Thank you for the info.
Aaron Helsby
Aaron Helsby 6 日 前
@Mark Lindgren normally Tin and bismuth
I love how whenever some horrible chemical is introduced that screws with humanity, dupont always has a hand in it.
marcia sloan
marcia sloan 年 前
Timothy Driscoll
[sarcasm alert] Saginaw bay and surrounding despoiled lands and people loves the Dupont family.....
AnM Weather
AnM Weather 年 前
Ever see the csb videos Dupont is there lmao
Ayush Kumar Singh
@AnM Weather csb full form
Mark 年 前
I imagine Veritasium could easily make far more money in advertising by catering to more convenient "truths". For that, a world of respect.
Grand Moff Porkins
Grand Moff Porkins 2 ヶ月 前
I’ve been wondering for years who would do a longer-form covering of Midgely. It’s almost unfathomable that someone so seemingly mundane could do so much harm but… there it is
Amjad Abdallah
Amjad Abdallah 8 ヶ月 前
It definitely wasn't accidental. Also, can you imagine how different things would be if Byron Carter never stopped to help the lady with her car?
Donovan Lavinder
Donovan Lavinder 4 ヶ月 前
It's kinda ironic for an inventor to be killed by his own invention - yet on the other side of the coin, some people could say that it's a karmic justice given that he messed up the environment in more than one way. Yet thanks to him we now know better at the same time.
ziper101 1
ziper101 1 4 ヶ月 前
this episode seems heavily inspired by an episode of Cosmos, many new information for me and amazing to watch, great job 👍
Joshua Jansen
Man, this episode has it all! A hero, a villain, a tragic back story, a shocking plot twist. It's got my vote on Sundance.
Michele Del Giudice
I want a movie about these events.
Vantor 年 前
And clickbait in the title.
Roby 年 前
I apologize for this comment but I am not really patient, however I am really curious to hear what the man did. Could someone (who spent 25 minutes watching this video) recap it for me?
Jason Gronn
Jason Gronn 年 前
@Roby Made fuel out of lead (causing lead pollution - lead is extremely dangerous), and also made a chemical that destroyed the ozone layer
Roby 年 前
@Jason Gronn Thanks man, I appreciate it.
Siva Silver
Siva Silver 10 ヶ月 前
This should be made required reading in grade school to teach future generations that knowledge is power and poison & integrity and honesty go a long way.
MrSpanish 11 ヶ月 前
What an amazing video. Kudos to you, informative and interesting. Time to binge your content!
Wisdom IT
Wisdom IT 3 ヶ月 前
I worked in the lab at Ethyl corporation relocated to Richmond VA. many years ago now. Charles Kettering also built the first drone for the Army back in the 20’s I believe.
Kenji Miwa
Kenji Miwa 10 ヶ月 前
This is a really well done informative video. Well done! 👏👏
Adam Hintze
Adam Hintze 3 ヶ月 前
Didnt GM have a head engineer recovering from lead poisoning and wrote a letter about how safe it was as he was in the hospital dealing w lead poisoning in the 70s? Also had hundreds of employees inside the plant were it was being developed who were sick and they just ignored it.
Kaynan Pompeu
This guy is basically Dr. Catastrophe. Absolutely everything he did went wrong, remarkable.
Matthew C
Matthew C 年 前
I dunno, for a beautiful moment in time he created a lot of value for shareholders.
Dmyra 年 前
@Matthew C rofl... almost as beautiful as the moment when you epic-ly reflected on it. sighh
Junarsh Fago
Junarsh Fago 年 前
Well he is also responsible for today success too. Without him your ears would have been rapture.
Alexi Pestov
Alexi Pestov 年 前
@Junarsh Fago We have a blend of E85, which is the ethanol solution to the knock problem. Without his input, we'd probably be in the same place today, minus some of the damage
Junarsh Fago
Junarsh Fago 年 前
@Alexi Pestov and when exactly this happen
Rob Baartwijk
Rob Baartwijk 4 ヶ月 前
Clyde Patterson is simply one of the most unsung heroes of the 20th century
PeppermintGreen 6 ヶ月 前
That was such a brilliantly concise and thorough documentary
covfefe 2 ヶ月 前
When the video started and introduced Patterson working on the Manhattan Project, it was a surprise to see that he was actually the hero of the story 😂
Austin Tate
Austin Tate 2 ヶ月 前
So nowadays the term "knocking" is more used to describe mechanical engine issues (like rod bearing knock, main bearing knock, piston knock/slap, etc.). This type of knocking is more commonly referred to now as pre-ignition or pre-detenation. Typically it's caused by the engine running too lean (not enough fuel), and it can cause catastrophic engine damage because then it burns WAY hotter than it's supposed to. I've seen pre-detenation melt pistons.
Ginger Hiser
Ginger Hiser 4 ヶ月 前
Wow. He mentions George Tilton. Dr. Tilton was my geochemistry professor at university, He was one of the better professors that I had. A really decent person without the ego of the other professors.
I Pour Milk In The Bowl First Before The Cereal
This isn't mentioned in the video, but Clair Patterson was blacklisted for speaking out against lead in gasoline. When the government finally formed a National Research Council panel to investigate it eight years after Patterson raised the alarm, he was excluded despite being the world's leading expert on the subject. Before publishing his paper in 1963, his work was largely funded by oil companies to the tune of around $20k per year. That funding was immediately rescinded, and he also lost a contract with the Public Health Service. The oil industry asked the Atomic Energy Commission to stop funding his work, and members of the board at Caltech tried to have him silenced. He spent most of his life in relative obscurity because of the efforts to blacklist him. Some of that has changed in the past decade or so, and these days, a lot of people know who he is.
Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre 年 前
Sounds very familiar.
D Lo
D Lo 年 前
Never heard of him until today. This is such a sobering video.
The Circumcised Heart Of Richard Dawkins
It was mentioned in the second version of Cosmos when Neil Tyson took over.
Bilal 11 ヶ月 前
What a video ! best way of describing whole scenario Great work
zebnemma 7 ヶ月 前
This video made me just realize the human hubris even more. The more we try to fix things, make things easier, the harder we are actually making it for ourselves. We are not fixing anything, we are currently destroying our planet and poisoning our own people and animals... How is that better exactly? We love to go against the grain and stray from what mother earth gave us, balance of nature itself. Don't fix something that isn't broken. But I realize that we can't really go back now either. We have walked this path so far now that we have to continue on it even if it lead to our own destruction. We cannot go back to tribal society right now, only if we kill ourselves off first and after earth has healed the next lifeforms can thrive once again.
MrWilson 2 ヶ月 前
Watched this once again and appreciating the production value even more
Actually I drives me speechless .. if I wasn't chemist and kew about lead's toxic effect. Great summary and I very appreciate you incredible anger reciting most ugliest truth of mankind a second time in the last minutes of your and your team's professional video article. Thank you much. What do you think about making an article about the horrifying truth of thermo-mechanical motors' exhausted particles
Lose Weight Using Keto
I know it might sound very cheesy and convenient, given the current discourse surrounding the commercial success of the critically acclaimed biographical movie Oppenheimer, but a movie/series on Clair Cameron Patterson's life will make for a very intriguing watch. That man dedicated his life to help humanity from lead poisoning and this is the least he deserves!
Sealeo 年 前
Telling Patterson's story in parallel with Midgley's is such a good choice, really shows that the side effects of leaded gasoline were not something unknown to the generation that implemented it. they just valued easy profit over human life. Though one thing that irks me about the way that science history (and most history for that matter) is presented by stories like these is showing Patterson alone on a boat or in the arctic gathering samples. Scientists work in teams and the research credited to Midgley or Patterson is not the work of one man but a whole bunch and the people who support them.
Demon Cloud
Demon Cloud 年 前
Midgley, an inventor with some of the best worst inventions 😅
I think this narrative is mentioned in the book the theory of everything. And it is probably the main source of this video.
Andy 年 前
I mean at the end of the day he has to keep idiots like us interested so.
Not Found
Not Found 年 前
Thank god they don't value easy profit over human life anymore... Oh wait🤔
Brave Lemonade
Go back to cleaning the lab equipment buddy
joeburly 年 前
Remember when we would see how things like this were bad and then we would make massive changes to make sure we stopped doing them? Those were good times.
MrZok 11 ヶ月 前
fun fact: when a scientist ingests his own creation to show his sincerity, there is a chance that it might come out to be one of the deadliest creations in history
Martin 3 ヶ月 前
This guy is a genius, a bit evil yes, but a genius
William Linton
William Linton 8 ヶ月 前
Love the video. I made my kids watch it.. they didn't like it at first but they really got into it and enjoyed it
Bonnie Prince Charlie
This video is informative, but I wish it was a little more clear. The initial focus on Clair Patterson seems to imply that he was the killer in question, when in fact he fought his whole life to bring exposure to the harmfulness of lead. Midgley is only revealed as the true culprit about halfway through the video. While this makes sense from a storytelling perspective, I just feel bad that thousands of people (who either clicked away earlier or watched the whole thing but confused the two) probably think Patterson was a bad guy now. Even in this section, I've found numerous comments bashing Patterson simply because of the confusion. Sad.
jason200912 6 日 前
Yeah they could have cleared it up in the comments or alternatively put up their name for an extended time when they pop up in the video. I see a bunch of comments thinking midgley saved the world because he wore glasses and looked like patterson.
A Mere Creator
Gives an entire generation lead poisoning. Rips a hole in the ozone. Refuses to elaborate, gets strangled by his own invention.
Devin McLaughlin
Greed is the worst drug known to mankind.
Loge R_2 Floofy Boogaloo
@Devin McLaughlin alcohol is a close second
Raymond Qiu
Raymond Qiu 年 前
@Devin McLaughlin wrong, everybody has a little bit of greed, capitalism that enables this greed by putting profit above any human instead of the other way around is the real problem
The Caynuck
The Caynuck 年 前
In a way though, he was a hero or anti hero as he was instrumental in making the world know the dangers of stuff with lead in it in more depth than they had before. Can't really blame him too much for greed with the refrigerant, as it actually seemed safer and better than the existing alternatives of the time, how was he supposed to know about its effect on the Ozone?
a3d 年 前
Would make a great film.
olifuge 6 ヶ月 前
It would be interesting if you could do an overall study in the recurring effect of mass harm by what seem at first as useful inventions, further to the us of lead. I would think of coal, plastic and even certain forms of electromagnetic fields across the spectrum. In fact some of these allowed the industrialisation to move forward and thus helped develop the world that we have today but at the same time killed millions and cause(d) mass destruction. I'm a researcher - thus pro-research - still I think the underlying topic that is interesting to make a video about is how we allow for research to pass to mass consumption due to the main motivator being profit and we don't double and triple check the side effects of substances and inventions prior to circulating them. Even inventions that don't cause death have huge social impact which was not studied properly prior to their release, e.g. televison, internet... I do not suggest they should have been limited or over-regulated to the detriment of freedom but maybe some more education from early age would allow people to make informed choices and realise the differences between information and knowledge.
Helio Slow
Helio Slow 年 前
As a pilot, I was waiting to hear something about Aviation Fuel(100 low lead). I was not disappointed. Fortunately a replacement has just been approved. Now the trick is distribution and cost.
Reece 7 ヶ月 前
Do you make your own animations?? Phenomenal work
David Valenzuela
David Valenzuela 2 ヶ月 前
What a well made episode 👍🏽 cheers
marcus sterling
marcus sterling 2 ヶ月 前
I most definitely would have passed chemistry if he was my teacher!!!!
sir Norton
sir Norton 年 前
His death was kind of a reflection of his life. He tried to engineer solutions to problems only for them to backfire to create an even bigger one. Rather poetic.
Artist Austrian
Mankind in general really ,well industrial countries anyways
Preston Garvey
Don't go chasing waterfalls stay with the rivers and lakes you know.
Vinsanity 年 前
who else can claim to have created more than just one environmental disaster in a single lifetime
Nacheems ヶ月 前
It's weird that a person with relatively zero malicious intent caused so many deaths and a person with pure evil intent saved so many lives.
jason200912 6 日 前
It was solely midgley that was the evil mad scientist. Patterson was simply the guy that liked rocks a d testing against lead poisoning. The video does it no justice introducing Patterson far too early and making it seem like Patterson was the villain when it was 100% midgley
Futurology 5 ヶ月 前
Wow, this is an incredibly insightful video. Top notch!
Winter 6 ヶ月 前
I'm lucky that my flight school switched exclusively to UL94 as soon as it was approved by the FAA. Unfortunately many other places still use 100LL but hopefully everyone starts to switch over to unleaded avgas soon.
Sussy Bakka
Sussy Bakka 4 ヶ月 前
man this stuff is crazy you guys on youtube are teaching way better than schools yesterday my chem teacher told us about anti knocking fuel and i was like wth is that and now i am here crrazzzzzyyyyy stuffff science with some history and practical use becomes damnnnn interestinig
A.N_editz 2 ヶ月 前
i love your videos like this , the editing is sick
Atomix 年 前
I feel like "accidentally" only applies to the second time that man caused a global environmental catastrophe, the one with the lead seemed like willful ignorance. It's honestly crazy how much damage to the earth a single man was able to do in his pursuit of short-term gain.
Timothy Driscoll
Not willful ignorance... Its was criminal behavior
Atomix 年 前
@Timothy Driscoll You're right, "feigned ignorance" is probably more accurate. He knew, but decided to do it anyway, downplaying the dangers every step of the way
Péter Kiss
Péter Kiss 年 前
okay, so now you watched this video and you are sooooo smart
Snuggle Muffin
I prefer to say a single generation because he definitely couldn’t have done it all alone.
Kay 年 前
@Péter Kiss You're not making a great case for your own "smartness" right now, what's your point?
baicha chen
baicha chen 年 前
Life is short. A tiny discovery or experiment could take someone a life time. Sometimes it’s a dilemma doing what’s right and what’s best for you.
Franco 11 ヶ月 前
That crime rate X lead chart could also possibly explain the absurd level of violence, brutality and madness in roman times. They literaly drank water out of lead pipe systems.
Marcus Ott
Marcus Ott 3 日 前
That has been disproved, the calcium in the water forms on the inside of the pipes very quickly, negating the transfer of lead to water. What Romans did, though, was use unfired clay vessels as cheap drinking and eating vessels, which transfered quite considerable, especially with alcohol/wine served in these cheap, unfired cups.
Kev B
Kev B 2 ヶ月 前
This story is wild. I never understood the term “unleaded gas” until now.
Praxedis Haze
Thank you for this video. Horrifying, and richly educational.
TidalWave Dan
TidalWave Dan 2 ヶ月 前
It wasn’t just him. They put it in paint, and they used lead pipes in plumbing. This problem was way bigger than cars.
mj hobo
mj hobo 年 前
I worked as an apprentice in a lead smelter back in the early 90’s, blood tests for lead contamination were carried out monthly, you would be removed from the smelter if the contamination was about 30ppm, my usual levels were around 11-15ppm. The smelter was based in a small mining town in a rural and remote part of Australia and we were sent to one of the capital cities for 6 weeks for college component required as part of our training for the apprenticeship. My accomodation was in a block of flats situated on a main road in the city, with constant traffic, this was in the early 90’s and lead additives to fuel hadn’t yet been phased out. At the completion of that block of college, and on returning to work, my first day back coincided with the blood test for lead, and it came back higher than I’d ever had, only a couple of ppm lower than the allowable threshold. I put it down to the lead additives in the fuel from the city traffic, it’s bizarre to think that it’s safer to work in a lead smelter than it was to live beside a high traffic area.
Meems A
Meems A 年 前
Horrifying. Thank you for sharing, really puts this issue into perspective.
Callum Price
Callum Price 年 前
Nice to hear an Aussie perspective on the issue too. How ironic..
Walter Bo
Walter Bo 年 前
@Callum Price a small town called Mount Isa have the highest lead concentration in Australia
John Kaplun
John Kaplun 年 前
Makes sense though. When you melt lead now one is very carefully not to reach the temperature at which it vaporized, so you can't breath it in. Not true with leaded gasoline.
George Chyz
George Chyz 11 ヶ月 前
The lead in gas being called Ethel fits with how ethanol is 109 octane. Although they may have used lead gas in the Indianapolis 500 for a promo, before and after that anomaly even today the fuel used at the Indianapolis 500 is ethanol because it has such a high octane, 109. Ethanol was a wonderful fuel that was referred to as white lightning because it had so much power in high compression high performance engines. Then during the 1920's prohibition a federal law was passed that required a federal permit to own and operate a still for refining ethanol. Many farmers used a still to turn their poor quality crops into ethanol via fermentation and distillation. The feds scoured the country to find and destroy all the stills that had become illegal without the proper permit. Of course, Rockefeller was supported the elimination of his competition. If that hadn't happened, we would still be using 109 octane in smaller more powerful engines like those used in the Indianapolis 500. Possibly even more importantly, we wouldn't have had added any CO2 to the atmosphere because the regrowing of the feed crops used to make the ethanol would have been sequestering out of the atmosphere the same amount of CO2 to grow from seed and provide the carbon that the fermentation process transforms into ethanol. and around and round the Carbon goes with no increase!!! Ethanol is the real answer. It burns clean, it's renewable, it has a long track record, only problem is that it competes directly with big oil. You still have to charge electric cars but with ethanol, oil can go away. That's the roadblock. Big Rockefeller road block.
Curtis Jackson
Curtis Jackson ヶ月 前
While I respect the ethics of using ethanol, there's a little more science to it than that. Ethanol cannot be substituted into a traditional internal combustion engine that easily. Unlike traditional gasoline, ethanol absorbs water from the atmosphere, and when that water gets into a fuel system, it will cause significant damage to a combustion engine over time.
George Chyz
George Chyz ヶ月 前
@Curtis Jackson That is an issue, however fuel stabilizers can be added to combat that problem. Also, using bladders in fuel tanks to keep the fuel separated from the atmosphere would eliminate that problem.
trombonemunroe 9 ヶ月 前
Not "accidentally"... the word is "negligently." Willfully negligent, considering he had suffered lead poisoning himself and still persisted because money overruled his certain knowledge of its toxicity.
Kairos 2 ヶ月 前
"When i first learned about Thomas Midgley and Clair, i was amazed by how much harm or good could do to the environment. Which brings me to the sponsor of this video : *Nestlé.* " - Derek Muller, before burning half of the planet.