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  QUESTION: Has there been any animals lead poisoned by sump oil? 29 Nov 2003, Tasmania Australia

Does sump oil from lead free petrol engines contain any lead? What about diesel engines? (Farm animals tend to like to consume old sump oil and used to get lead poisoning)

ANSWER: 08 Jan 2004

Dear Madam,

As up to one quarter of the lead from leaded petrol remains in the engine, it is inevitable that a car that has ever run on leaded petrol will have lead in the sump oil, even during the years when it is running on unleaded petrol. There is also a small contamination level of lead in unleaded petrol so sump oil is highly likely to have at least a contamination level of lead even in post 1986 vehicles. There is apparently no lead in diesel so sump oil from diesel engines may not be lead-contaminated.

Has there been an animal lead poisoned by sump oil? My own child may well have been a victim of sump oil-origin lead poisoning although the lead in the garden soil generally was elevated, as was the dust in the carpet.

Elizabeth O'Brien

Update 2011:

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