With alarming evidence emerging on toxic emissions from petroleum and catalytic converters, surely it's time we seriously considered some new energy alternatives.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Compiled by Catherine Simons, B.Sc.

From NEXUS Magazine, Volume 2, #27 (August-September '95).
PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia. editor@nexusmagazine.com
Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381
From our web page at: www.nexusmagazine.com

In regard to additives in our petrol, the main question that needs to be asked is: "Why was all the fuss made about one toxic substance-lead-in our petrol, when the substances that have replaced it-benzene, other aromatics and olefines-appear to be more toxic?' It seems to me that if the genuine reason for taking lead out of petrol was for health reasons, efforts would have been made to ensure that what was used as a substitute was safer. There was little, if any, coverage at the time about what would be used instead of lead. In fact, petroleum companies, in Australia at least, don't even have to disclose the formulae they use to make up the petrol. Note that catalytic converters would quickly become useless if lead were in the petrol.

Benzene is a well-known carcinogen. Many medical studies have proved this to be the case. For example, Prof. Bill McCarthy, Executive Director of the Sydney Melanoma Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, is extremely concerned about the benzene levels in Sydney's centre and under aeroplane flight paths.1 Dr Michael Dawson and Noel Child have taken benzene levels in Sydney and shown they are extremely high. Average levels were at 4.1 parts per billion (ppb) in summer and 7.6 ppb in winter, peaking at 12 ppb and 25 ppb respectively. Toluene levels were much higher.2 Other cities around the world also show high levels. Britain has adopted a maximum of 5 ppb, with a national target to decrease levels below 1 ppb.

Benzene levels in fuels are around 2-3% (see tables in Part 2), but total aromatics are between 20-40%. It is important to realise that when these aromatics are combusted, a large percentage comes out in the exhaust as benzene-so the levels of benzene would be much higher than first expected. Many other aromatic substances also exist in exhaust gases, but all their effects, as well as human tolerance levels, have not been fully researched. Prof. Maltoni of Italy has directed studies researching the biological effects of benzene and many other substances from vehicle emissions. No studies have been done in Australia even to try to determine the total composition of exhausts.

One study, directed by Peter Anyon of the Federal Office of Road Safety3, is analysing exhausts from 600 cars in order to find quick, cheap exhaust-monitoring methods and to determine whether subsequent appropriate mechanical work will reduce emissions. Initially the study was testing only for substances that are well known as problematic, i.e., listed in the Australian Design Rules as dangerous. These are total hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, and carbon monoxide. But last year, when it became more well-known that benzene was a problem, an extension was added to the study to measure seven speciated hydrocarbon levels in 50 of the vehicles being tested. These include benzene, xylenes (three species), toluene, and 1,3-butadiene. It's a start.43

Dr Hans Nieper reports on a new exhaust substance apparently produced in the catalytic converter, the consequences of which are quite shocking. What other reactions are occurring in catalytic converters that we don't know about? Are there any other dangerous exhaust gases whose effects we are yet to discover or fully realise?

An important product of the combustion of olefines is 1,3-butadiene, another substance that scientists have only recently discovered to be highly toxic. Much more research is needed here.

One other key aspect of all this is that the lead levels in leaded petrol have also been reduced. In fact, the benzene and total aromatics levels in leaded and standard unleaded petrol are virtually the same in many countries. The additional lead content is the only major difference between standard ULP and leaded petrol. The levels of benzene and other aromatics in premium unleaded fuel are extremely high-so I would urge people never to use this fuel.

Lead itself is undeniably a toxic substance. Much research has been done around the world to show its toxicity and effects. However, studies have failed to show the correlation between lead in petrol and lead in blood.4 It seems that the lead from petrol exhausts has low bioavailability. Proper studies in these areas urgently need to be carried out.

There are many other sources of lead in our environment, such as lead water pipes, lead solder used in canned foods, lead paint, etc. From his research, environmental health consultant Dr Alan Bell says we should be looking at trying to get rid of flaking lead paint in old houses. He says studies have shown this to be a major source of lead in blood.5 It does seem strange to me to replace a brain toxin that falls to the ground straight after coming out of the exhaust, with a gas that is released into our atmosphere and is well known as a highly toxic carcinogen.

I've received three letters telling me that the National Society for Clean Air in the UK has not withdrawn support for ULP. An extract from the society's letter to members states: "NSCA members may have seen an article in The Sunday Times of 12/12/93, claiming that the society has 'withdrawn its approval' for unleaded petrol because of concern about benzene emissions. This is untrue; the article quoted selectively from a long briefing given to the journalist in question and seriously misrepresented the society's position."6

Next is a letter I thought was worth reprinting, as it offers another perspective on some parts of our previous articles and suggests some interesting alternatives.

I read with interest the above article compiled by Catherine Simons. [See ULP Pt 1, vol. 2#25.]

It is not correct to say that early cars ran on exceptionally clean fuel; the quality was variable to say the least... The emissions of early cars were anything but clean, as the combustion process was a very hit-and-miss affair...

An engine cannot and never could produce only carbon dioxide and water vapour as the exhaust gas components; this works only in theory when complete combustion (or oxidation) takes place. There are a number of reasons for this which include:
(1) the speed of the engine limiting the time available to burn the fuel;
(2) the type and design of the combustion chamber;
(3) the valve timing of the engine;
(4) fuel retention around the piston ring lands;
(5) fuel separation in the inlet manifold.

Power increases in motor vehicle engines were brought about not so much by increased compression ratios, but by the bore-to-stroke ratio. A short-stroke engine would be faster than a long-stroke. In this country [England] we suffered the setback of the Treasury rating for engines which, by the nature of the formula used, made the short-stroke engine prohibitively expensive to use from an owner's point of view, and consequently the only alternative was the long-stroke-good for torque output, but poor for high-speed running. Bugatti used to tease Bentley about his "racing lorries"...

Nitrogen, of which there is about 79% in the atmosphere, was never a problem, as, being inert, it was unaffected by combustion. Only when combustion temperatures reach figures of 2,500°ree;C and above is the nitrogen oxidised, and it then produces four oxides which, in combination with hydrocarbons in the presence of sunlight, produces a smog. The worst of these oxides is nitrogen dioxide, which is a reddish-brown gas, an irritant, a supposed carcinogen, and which causes respiratory inflammation.

The catalytic converter was the worst possible answer to the problem of emissions. The solution was obvious-at least to British engineers: the way forward was by lean-burn technology. Not for the first time we led the rest of the world in this field, but a political decision opted for the use of converters.

From a logical point of view, using two very precious metals as catalysts is a crazy idea: platinum is obvious; less obvious is rhodium, until you realise that 99% of all rhodium mined comes from South Africa. If, at any future time, problems arose whereby it would not be possible to trade with South Africa, then the consequences would be obvious.

Having watched America at work with catalytic converters for a number of years, it was obvious even to the meanest intelligence-including bureaucrats-that the system was not an effective remedy; so, naturally, the thing to do was then adopt the American (Californian) system in total and apply it to Europe, taking care to ignore the fact that the conditions in the two locations were completely different, and therefore the figures were meaningless.

Catalytic converters take time to warm up, and until they do so they are every bit as 'dirty' as a vehicle without one. In fact, the 'bad egg' smell which emanates from the exhaust is hydrogen sulphide, a gas which is thought by some experts to be highly carcinogenic.

Unfortunately big money/business is involved, and this almost always clouds the facts and the truth. For some inexplicable reason, vested interests always seem to be mutually exclusive to the truth.

With lead in fuel, although it was by no means ideal, at least we knew where it was going. Now, with the emission gases being lighter, they may well be collecting but at a higher point off the ground, and it may be years before we see what the results of this will be.
The picture is not entirely gloomy, however; there are very positive aspects to all of this, and to the way forward in the short, medium and long term.The informed thinking for the future is:
1. Lean-burn technology.
2. A lean-burn catalyst. This is very different to the present idea, in that it seeks to remove oxygen from an oxygen-rich environment, so that the nitrogen will once again emerge from the exhaust pipe as nitrogen-but without the oxides.
3. The use of specialised upper-cylinder lubricants. These are already available, and everyday motorists can add these to a tank of fuel, safe in the knowledge that they can do something to improve the air quality and reduce the pollutants emitted from their exhausts.

Other options are also available to use a fuel with a reduced carbon content. One possibility in this field is methane, which has only one carbon atom (compared to octane, for example, which has eight). This will have the immediate effect of reducing carbon dioxide.

The idea of the battery car, when examined for a moment, is really a non-starter (no pun intended!). Although, when it is running, it is indeed almost pollution-free, the power consumed to make the batteries is considerable. The power-to-weight factor is as yet unacceptable, the fuel consumed at the power station to recharge the batteries is high, and, lastly, lead-acid batteries are difficult to dispose of when their useful life is over.

One idea which I am actively working on is steam. It has every possible advantage (and none of the disadvantages mentioned above): maximum power and torque at standstill, recycled exhaust, therefore zero emissions (if there were any emissions they would be only water vapour). The engine would only need to be a three-cylinder two-stroke, equivalent to a six-cylinder four-stroke: very few moving parts ensures reliability and performance. The heat source: a hydrogen catalyst, providing motive power within 10 seconds of starting.

The problem with this design? Apathy/animosity from the 'vested interests'. There is no doubt that this design will not meet with their approval as it is contrary to their thinking at this time. It requires people with vision and commitment to back this idea in order that it may work...

Yours faithfully,
Douglas Wragg, I.Eng., L.A.E., M.I.M.I., M.I.R.T.E., F.Diag.E.,
Road Transport Consultant Engineer, Balcombe,
Sussex, England, UK.

1. Professor Bill McCarthy, Melanoma Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, "Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Aircraft Noise in Sydney", 8 May 1995
.2. Dr Alan Bell, Public Health Bulletin, March 1995; S. Corbett and C. Cowie, Public Health Bulletin, November 1993.
3. Telephone conversation between C. Simons and Peter Anyon, Director, Regulation Policy and Projects, Federal Office of Road Safety, Canberra, ACT, Australia, July 1995.
4. Simon Grose, The Canberra Times, 26 March 1994.
5. Telephone conversation between C. Simons and Dr Alan Bell, Environmental Health Consultant, Mosman, Sydney, Australia, July 1995.
6. National Society for Clean Air (UK), Briefing to Members, 1994.General reference: Telephone conversation between C. Simons and Brian Wells, Australian Automobile Association, July 1995.



by Dr Hans A. Nieper
Part 2

"Since the end of '92, beginning '93, we are constantly having increased haemoglobin [Hb] levels in many of our patients. Where the level used to be 13 or 13.5, we now have 16, sometimes 17 and more. Please check the measuring methods."

Mrs Rau, a medical technologist in my laboratory, responded, however, that all values had been checked but that the Hb levels have constantly risen since about March 1993, namely in steadily rising increments over a period of several months. I had this phenomenon of the steady increase in haemoglobin levels checked again in our independent hospital laboratory, with the same results. This Hb-level increase was mainly observed in patients who were not seriously sick and, thus, whose bone marrow was capable of regulation in a normal manner. Then Nurse Monika told me: "The leucocyte count also increased last year on average." This observation, too, proved to be correct.

Hundreds of patients which I was able to check again in '93 to compare the levels with previous years, showed this phenomenon of a rather drastic Hb increase. Some of my colleagues noted similar observations. On the occasion of a lecture at Langenhagen, where I talked about this increase of Hb levels, laymen also reported that they had been informed by their physicians in this respect. Such increases of Hb levels are, to a broad extent, typical for an oxygen deficiency; for example, in persons who constantly live at high altitudes. This is a normal adaptation of the blood formation to oxygen deficiency. Actually, the Hb-level increase in many controlled patients is very much associated with a decrease of P02 in the blood, thus with a reduction of the oxygen partial pressure in blood, even if this reduction is only slight.

Which factor is responsible for this impediment to oxygen absorption? Practically, only the abovementioned toxic gases from cat. cars come into consideration-no alternative is in sight.

In fact, this phenomenon does not occur in inhabitants of the North Sea islands (where the wind blows from the seaside). Furthermore, we did not observe this phenomenon in rechecked patients from large agricultural regions in midwestern US; however, we did find it in patients living in the east and north-west of the US and, in 1993, in persons living in California.

Why weren't we able to observe this phenomenon to such a noticeable degree in 1991 or in 1992? Well, 1993 was a very humid year, the previous years had very dry weather. Phosphoric esters (nerve gas), minor traces of which are capable, like enols, of restricting the oxygen absorption of cells, are likely to adhere to tiny drops of water and thus are readily absorbed by the biosystem. In times of dryness, these substances degrade faster and are scarcely inhaled. In '93, it was raining almost all the time in Germany, and in California there were steaming and heavy cyclical showers. An increased susceptibility to infections and irritations of the bronchial passages was observed in all patients.

This was not a particularly pleasant observation, but another serious discovery was added in the fall of '93. For about 18 years, clinical oncologists have noticed that patients having cancer, a predisposition for cancer, osteoporosis or an illness of the immunological system such as multiple sclerosis, very often showed rather low urea levels in the blood serum, while the creatinine levels did not show this drop so clearly. Then, in 1987, Amat, the Spanish biochemist and neurologist, issued a l,000-page monograph on the biochemical importance of urea. This study only exists in Spanish, but it is, however, indispensable for every oncologist and immunologist.

Amat was able to show that urea in the blood serum is not only a substance that is present as a catabolite of the protein metabolism for output through the kidneys, but that urea in the blood creates a large pool with automatic control functions of fundamental importance. Ureal metabolism has a regulative function for at least seven further metabolitic pools, or vice versa. Amat described this system as being a communicative machinery which includes the pyruvate and glutamate cycles, as well as elements of the lipido metabolism.

Experience has taught us that the urea level in blood serum should be approx. 37 mg%. [In the US, BUN ranges from 10 to 25 -TLfD Ed.] If it rises much higher, there can be kidney damage. This is a known fact. If the level, however, is lower, the organism is at great risk in the long run. The frequency of cancer increases. At levels of less than approx. 17 mg%, multiple tumours have occurred quite often. This connection is very probable in cases of predisposition for melanomatosis in patients normally having a clean skin. Very often, there is a correlation between multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, as well as illness of the immunological system and very low urea levels. Over the last 15 years, we have attempted to explore the phenomenon of low urea levels. However, this is quite impossible without having read Amat's 'fat volume'. Obviously, the cellular biologic structure has been linked to urea for millions of years as an indispensable factor for the stability of membrane and gene structures. Or, the functions of the abovementioned metabolic machinery have to be adjusted so that a 'complete' urea pool would be the result. If this is not the case, for whatever reason, the cell membranes and the gene systems tend to show instability. And this has serious consequences for keeping an organism healthy.

We have observed in many patients whose haemoglobin levels increased in 1993 that they had reduced urea levels also. This was particularly the case in patients who had relatively low levels and low blood pressure previously. Also, the triglyceride levels seem to decrease. It seems as if the abovementioned toxic substances produced by the catalytic converter have led not only to latent, very slowly developing damage to the 'Amat machinery' but also to a reduction of the urea pool. If this is the case-and I have virtually no doubts in this respect-this would be an extremely threatening development.

One more thing which we noticed was that in patients with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) we also found low urea levels. ALS, contrary to multiple sclerosis, is not a disease of the immunological system. In cases of ALS, you find a defect of the capability to inactivate viruses of the measles group and, in particular, the cellular incapacity of zymogenesis, called SOD (super-oxide-dismutase). This SOD, however, is necessary in order to prevent toxic oxidative radicals and heavy metals from damaging nerve cells. We are positive on one point: the many ALS patients observed by us frequently come from regions with cat. cars. The situation is becoming worse. However, the connection between the cat. car and ALS will have to be examined in longer term studies.

Being a well-known critic of the catalytic converter, I am frequently asked what I would recommend, in particular with respect to the threatening aspects described herein. First of all, all catalytic converters should be removed from cars as soon as possible. A parallel measure should be the removal of MTBE and, to the extent possible, of benzene, too, from gasoline. As a next step, gasoline should be slightly leaded again, but just to the necessary extent. 'Intrinsic' combustion in gasoline engines should be optimised as suggested as a preferential solution, by Peugeot and Citroen President Jacques Calvet in three letters he sent me. One way to achieve this is to lead the fuel or the gas mixture through magnetic fields. Another good procedure would be the use of high-energy ignitions of mainly non-ohmic power quality (so-called plasma ignition based on the Tesla phenomenon). These procedures allow a lean-mixture [lean-burn] operation, reducing the toxic burden from the exhaust.

The fact that ADAC [German automobile club], Stern [a German news magazine] and other organs have been discrediting this technique over the years in a most nasty manner, speaks for itself. ADAC has been aware of the problems related to the catalytic converter for more than eight years. The manner in which this problem has acquired criminal relevance, in view of latest knowledge, will have to be judged by the competent institutions.

I further recommend buying nothing but a diesel, when the purchase of a new car is being considered. German, French and Swedish companies offer diesel cars with excellent quality which, in principle, are superior to gasoline-operated cars anyway.

However, these recommendations only have a limited perspective. Many readers might not know that the end of gasoline-and diesel fuel-has been introduced as of 1st January 1998, namely by a Californian law. Two per cent of all cars sold under one brand must be exhaust-free; if not, this brand must refrain from selling cars entirely. Only three years later, this regulation will become more strict. There will be no recognition of the brand all over the world if there are no sales in the US.

As battery-operated vehicles will remain insignificant due to physics principles, only a driving mechanism with combustion water, a preliminary stage of oxyhydrogen gas, will come into consideration. It will be generated by converted vacuum-field energy in the car using only water, maybe with a low addition of gasoline, diesel or hydrogen. There is no alternative to this concept except, at best, the so-called Shoulders conversion (Toyota project).

I am very often asked the question of how to protect oneself against the cat. danger in the air. Theoretically, coenzyme Q10 (hydroquinone) should help a bit. However, we did not notice any positive effects with it. Better would be a mixture of potassium-magnesium aspartate together with a urea solution (phone +49 (511) 34 1387). This improves the supply of high-energy phosphates in cellular metabolism. I highly recommend taking vitamin Mi (colaminphosphate salts, Ca-RMg-AEP) in the form of grains in capsules. Tablets with a thick coating are not as easily absorbed by patients with membrane damage. Under this treatment with about three to five capsules a day, oxygen absorption through the lungs into the blood is improved. Nevertheless, there is no alternative: catalytic converter poison must be removed from the air, and quickly!


Dr Hans A. Nieper
Department of Medicine
The Paracelsus Silbersee Hospital
Fax: +46 (511) 31 8417.

(Reprinted from Townsend Letter for Doctors, December 1994)
911 Tyler Street Port Townsend, WA 98368-6541, USA
Phone: +1 (360) 385 6021 Fax: +1 (360) 385 0699