After most US cities prohibited the use of lead pipes in the 1920’s, the Lead Industry Association mounted a propaganda campaign highlighting the “advantages” of lead over other materials. The LIA’s activities resulted in the proliferation of lead pipes for decades.
The reason lead levels in children’s blood have dropped 85% in the past thirty years is because of an unknown scientist who fought car companies to end leaded gasoline. He also removed it from paint, suggested its removal from pipes, and campaigned for the removal of lead solder from cans.
Tap water from ancient Rome likely contained up to 100 times more lead than local spring water. Some historians link fall of the Western Roman Empire to lead poisoning
In 1924, when Standard Oil was researching tetraethyl lead as a gasoline additive, 32 of 49 workers had to be hospitalized due to lead poisoning, and 5 of them died. A federal panel made entirely of industry scientists later concluded that there “no danger” from tetraethyl lead.