LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 14 Number 1, October  2013, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Elizabeth O’Brien, Editorial Team: Hitesh Lohani, Anne Roberts and David Ratcliffe

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The Public Eye Awards EvB Greenpeace

Innospec Nomination by The LEAD Group for Public Eye Awards 2014 

- By Elizabeth O’Brien, BSc (Sydney), Graduate Diploma of Health Education 

Name of the nominated company - Innospec Inc

Short description of the company

  1. "Crime scene“ (region, country where damage was done): global 1953-2013
  2. Chairman of the Board: (President) Patrick Williams
  3. CEO/director: Patrick Williams
  4. Owner/major shareholder: Gendell, Jeffrey L (2011)
  5. Industry/type of business activity: chemicals manufacture
  6. Company headquarters: Address of principal executive offices: 8375 South Willow Street, Littleton, Colorado, USA
  7. Net sales/net income (for the last documented year): Net sales $776,400,000; Net income: $68,300,000 (2012 Calendar year)
  8. Number of employees: “Our global team of over 900 employees spans 20 countries” [ http://www.innospecinc.com/ Accessed 31 August 2013]

Information relating to the conduct of the company

  1. Human rights violations
  2. Environmental destruction    
  3. Labor law violations
  4. Breaches of tax laws/corruption
  5. Other: Profits before people: contamination of the entire planet with lead via leaded gasoline, lead poisoning of billions of people – everyone alive since 1953.

Cause of nomination

Offence committed / facts of the case in detail (max 8,000 keystrokes): Innospec Inc (and its precursors Octel Starreon, Octel and Associated Octel) has been directly responsible for the last 60 years, for the totally preventable lead poisoning via the use of leaded gasoline, of my children, my entire family and every other organism on the planet, via manufacturing, fraudulently marketing and bribing officials in order to sell the lead additive for petrol/gasoline. The company continues to manufacture tetraethyl lead (the essential ingredient to turn unleaded petrol/gasoline into leaded gasoline/motor fuel) up to the present day, and to fraudulently market the product by not revealing:

  • the hazardous nature of it or
  • that it was totally replaceable with non-lead additives or
  • that use of the product would stop or delay millions of car buyers from updating to a car with a catalytic converter, by which action drivers can reduce their vehicle emissions by 50 - 90% ( www.unep.org/transport/pcfv/PDF/pcfv_leadflyer.pdf ).

Artist: Zac Gethin-Damon. Title: Lead kills catalytic converters.

Graphic: Entry in Volcano Art Prize 2013. Artist: Zac Gethin-Damon. Title: Lead kills catalytic converters. Lead-Safety Message: Catalytic converters reduce auto-emissions by 50-90% and when leaded petrol is no longer sold in a country, catalytic converters can be made mandatory in new vehicles. 

In defiance of the truth, Innospec claims: „Our fuel additives... reduce harmful emissions“ 

(http://innospec.ir.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingCONVPDF1?SessionID=n-kl6Q15KiV7f1v&ID=8422270 ). The lost opportunity for cars and whole countries to switch to using unleaded petrol and thus catalytic converters to reduce emissions, has not been costed. 

In 1968, British CLEAR Campaign for Lead Free Air campaign leader, Des Wilson, described the UK producer of lead additives, Associated Octel [now Innospec] – at the time owned by Shell, BP, Chevron, Mobil and Texaco – as “the biggest mass child poisoners in the world today”. “Decreases in blood lead concentrations in the United States closely followed the downward trend of leaded fuel sales [once unleaded fuel (enabling use of catalytic converters) was introduced in the early 1970s]. Between 1976 and 1994, the mean blood lead concentration in children dropped by 75%, in direct proportion to the amount of TEL [used]. As late as 1980, Octel’s company medical director, claimed at lead conferences that a causal relation between lead from car exhausts and adverse effects had not yet been proven. The facility earned UK Friends of the Earth’s 1996 award as Britain’s filthiest factory as it continued to produce toxic lead compounds. (Ref BOOK “Only One Chance: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development -- and How to Protect the Brains of the Next Generation” by Prof Philippe Grandjean, published by Oxford University Press 2013 - not web-published) 

In April 2011, the estimated global annual impacts of human lead poisoning from the lead in vehicle fuels were found (by Hatfield and Tsai in a United Nations-commissioned report published in 2011) to be significant:

At the beginning of 2013, Kevin Drum wrote: “Gasoline lead may explain as much as 90 percent of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century” and the cost benefit of lead abatement? Invest US$20bn annually in lead abatement and the return is US$210bn annually [in the USA].
( http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

Even after every chemicals policy forum on earth has declared lead from petrol to be the greatest cause of universal lead poisoning of children and adults, Innospec continues to make (in the United Kingdom) and fraudulently market (via its website) tetraethyl lead (TEL) for motor gasoline (MOGAS). For example, the OECD wrote in 1990:

OECD’s work on lead began shortly after Member governments [including UK and USA] approved a Decision-Recommendation on the Co-operative Investigation and Risk Reduction of Existing Chemicals in 1990… From the beginning, the work on lead has focused on priority products/uses of concern (e.g., lead in gasoline,…) …. Member countries, industry and NGOs were active partners in every step in the process
( http://www.oecd.org/env/ehs/risk-management/1944727.pdf

1998 – The World Bank reports: “the exposure of adults to atmospheric lead has been connected to elevated blood pressure causing hypertension, heart attacks and premature death. No lower threshold of exposure exists under which the adverse effects of lead on children and adults cannot be detected”… “the magnitude of benefits estimated in the United States suggests that phasing out lead from gasoline is likely to produce substantial benefits in all countries.”
( http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/1998/01/01/000009265_3980312111309/Rendered/PDF/multi_page.pdf

2000 - European Union bans leaded gasoline at the pump (http://www.thenation.com/article/timeline ) yet Innospec continues to export TEL for MOGAS from UK.

 2002 – World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) results in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) setting up the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) with the primary goal of global elimination of leaded petrol. Canada also produced TEL for MOGAS up until 2002, but Innospec went on producing it after the UNEP PCFV resolved to eliminate leaded petrol globally by 2008. Today, Innospec still claims to be the world’s only manufacturer of TEL.
( https://lead.org.au/Chronology-Making_Leaded_Petrol_History.pdf

In 2010, Innospec was found guilty but only fined $40.2 million, for bribing Indonesian and Iraqi officials to purchase TEL for MOGAS, despite the bribery netting Innospec $60 million – thus proving that even after being caught bribing, they can turn a profit from TEL for MOGAS. Innospec is an inspiration to its own staff and other corporations, to bribe foreign officials to buy their toxic products, no matter what the public health and crime increase consequences. 

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (March 18, 2010):

“From 2000 to 2007, Innospec routinely paid bribes to sell Tetra Ethyl Lead (“TEL”), a fuel additive that boosts the octane value of gasoline, to state owned refineries and oil companies in Iraq and Indonesia. TEL was a significant source of revenue for Innospec; however, TEL sales were declining due to the passage of clean air legislation in the U.S. and abroad. Innospec also paid kickbacks to Iraq to obtain contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Program (the “Program”). Innospec’s former management did nothing to stop the bribery, and in fact authorized and encouraged it. In addition, Innospec’s internal controls failed to detect the illicit conduct, which continued for nearly a decade. In all, Innospec made illicit payments of approximately $6,347,588 and promised an additional $2,870,377 in illicit payments to Iraqi ministries, Iraqi government officials, and Indonesian government officials in exchange for contracts worth approximately $176,717,341 in revenues and profits of $60,071,613.“ ( http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2010/lr21454.htm

In Innospec’s Sustainable Development Report 2011 – (their most recent and only online Sustainability report as at 23 September 2013), “Sustainable Development” apparently means only Innospec’s financial sustainable development:

“Octane Additive sales in 2011Increased 5 percent to $76m

With our extensive market knowledge, built up over many years, we are in a great position to help developing countries make the transition to unleaded fuel smoothly. We ensure the continuity of tetra ethyl lead (TEL) supply during their phase-out period and provide comprehensive advice and guidance on how best to manage the changeover.”
( http://www.innospecinc.com/pdfs/sustainable_development_report.pdf

Their profit motive is clear – it’s in the heading – and they are very careful to state they are in a “position to help developing countries make the transition to unleaded fuel” without providing any evidence that they actually are helping developing countries make the transition to unleaded fuel, eg by telling their purchasers that other companies make non-lead octane additives which could, within a matter of weeks, enable the phase-out of leaded fuel in their country, thus enabling the introduction of regulations requiring all new cars to be fitted with catalytic converters, to further reduce auto emissions. 

While Innospec’s website makes claims that they are assisting countries with their plans to switch to unleaded petrol, the focus of their annual and quarterly reports is always on postponing that switch, in order to maximise Innospec’s profits, by continuing to supply as much TEL as possible, for as long as possible. 

Innospec's record of putting profits before people and proudly claiming to be the world’s only manufacturer of TEL, shows flagrant disregard for the UNEP Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) to achieve the UNEP Partnership’s major goal of global elimination of leaded gasoline, which the PCFV had planned to achieve in 2008!
( http://www.unep.org/transport/pcfv/PDF/LeadReport-Brochure.pdf )

2008 Feb 25 – Innospec state in their annual report for 2007: “We intend to manage the decrease in the sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline to maximize the cash flow through the decline” and “The Company expects that it will cease all sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline at some time in the next several years.”
( http://innospec.ir.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingCONVPDF1?SessionID=-O626VVTD_UVHhS&ID=5753365

2009 Feb 20 – Innospec reports on Market Watch Website: “We expect that we will cease all sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline in 2012." (10-K: INNOSPEC INC. - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations: "legal expenses incurred relating to Oil for Food Program" - previously at
( http://www.marketwatch.com:80/news/story/10-k-innospecinc/story.aspx?guid=%7B8AD18556-0246-4C00-B42A-2ACD1C2947B0%7D&dist=msr_1

Innospec Inc. stated in its 2009 "FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT" - "We intend to manage the decrease in the sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline to maximize the cash flow through the decline."
( http://innospec.ir.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingCONVPDF1?SessionID=5zIP6dZ2NimQqqS&ID=7066578 )

Innospec Inc. stated in its 2010 "FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT" - "The Company expects that it will cease all sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline in 2012."
( http://innospec.ir.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingCONVPDF1?SessionID=5zIP6dZ2NimQqqS&ID=7738609 )

Innospec Inc. stated in its 2011 "FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT" - "The Company expects that it will cease all sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline in 2013." ( http://innospec.ir.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingCONVPDF1?SessionID=n-kl6Q15KiV7f1v&ID=8422270 )

Further back-pedalling is evident in the 2012 "FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT" - "We expect to cease sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline in 2013, however this is dependent upon the phase out plans of the remaining countries as they transition to unleaded gasoline."

„...Sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline are made principally to state-owned refineries located in the Middle East and Northern Africa.“„We believe our Octane Additives segment is the world’s only producer of TEL and accordingly is the only supplier of TEL for use in automotive gasoline.“„We are continuing to responsibly manage the decrease in the sales of TEL for use in automotive gasoline in line with the remaining countries’ transition plans to unleaded gasoline“
( http://innospec.ir.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingCONVPDF1?SessionID=n-kl6Q15KiV7f1v&ID=8422270 )

On 14 January 2013, after Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace called on the UK Government to ban Innospec Ltd, from further exports of TEL; Innospec told The Independent: "We have no comment to make [on UNEP’s findings of TEL linked to death and crime]" and confirmed that it continues to provide the TEL used in motor fuel in Yemen, Algeria and Iraq.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/made-in-britain-the-toxic-tetraethyl-lead-used-in-fuel-sold-to-worlds-poorest-8449967.html )

Unabated, Innospec’s most recent web-published report to investors states:“Innospec – Summary of 2nd Quarter Performance…- Octane Additives gross margin improves to 53.1%”
( http://www.innospecinc.com/investor-relations/press-releases/2013/q2-2013-conf-call-presentation.pdf

By 2014, six years will have passed since the UN target for the global elimination of leaded petrol. In the three countries Innospec admits to still supplying TEL for MOGAS, 88 million people continue to be totally unnecessarily exposed to lead from petrol every day.
( https://lead.org.au/fs/Leaded_Petrol_Possibly_Still_Sold_for_Road_Use_20110617.pdf )

 How many more millions have to die so that Innospec can keep raking in the profits?


Is the company a member of:

  1. Global Compact (check: www.unglobalcompact.org/participants/search): No
  2. Fair Labour Association (check: www.fairlabor.org/affiliates/participating-companies): No
  3. Has the company promised to abide by other agreements, conventions, or guidelines? If yes, what are they? Answer: No. Innospec Inc’s Code of Ethics (August 2009) at http://www.innospecinc.com/corporate-governance/code-of-ethics---english.pdf only requires Innospec operatives to comply with the letter and spirit of the law, and confidentiality and other agreements they sign with the company.

Concerning the nomination

  1. Why nominate (your own motivation)? What do you hope to achieve with a nomination? Answer: if Innospec is correct in its claim that it is the only manufacturer of TEL in the world, then by focusing attention on Innospec, they may actually stop manufacturing TEL for MOGAS, which would inexorably lead to the end of leaded petrol, thus bringing about the world’s first global elimination of a toxic chemical.

  2. Has the company been confronted with the accusations raised against it? If so, what was the result? If not, why not? Answer: Yes The LEAD Group contacted them directly via dozens of emails and an online Petition. Innospec did not reply or take any action in response.

  3. What steps were taken to stop the accused company’s actions (state of your own campaign)? Answer: [The following is supplied in confidence – apparently the UK Serious Fraud Office does not tell companies WHO has alleged fraud by the company – please do not web-publish the remainder of this answer.] After they were reported to the UK Serious Fraud Office, some of Innospec’s fraudulent online statements were removed from the web, but only to be replaced by other fraudulent claims.

  4. What further steps are planned? Answer: request to the European Chemicals Agency to speed up a complete restriction on manufacturing TEL for MOGAS in Europe.

  5. Are other organizations working on the same case or watching this company? Were they invited to support the nomination? List organizations that do support the nomination. [This nomination would very likely be supported by Toxics Link, India, the National Toxics Network, Australia, the Lead Safe America Foundation and the Trust for Lead Poisoning Prevention, USA, and possibly OK International and IPEN.]

  6. What steps are you planning to implement in order to generate a maximum number of votes (mobilization) if your nominee were to be shortlisted for the people’s award? I belong to some 14 egroups with an interest in lead poisoning prevention and/or international chemicals phase-outs, so would generate votes through my network.

 Nominating Organization

  1. Contact person and his/her coordinates: Elizabeth O’Brien, Sydney, Australia
  2. Name and headquarters of the organization: The Lead Education and Abatement Design (LEAD) Group Incorporated (environment organization and health promotion charity), PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
  3. Year of founding: 1990
    Website: www.lead.org.au

Supporting documents/evidence/references

 Folder containing pieces of (hard) evidence, research findings, proposals for improvement, sources, links, etc. Folder name: Innospec PEA

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