|dc.description.abstract||In New Zealand, as elsewhere, decision makers are currently faced with the option of abandoning the present strategy of leaded petrol in favour of the unleaded petrol alternative. There are three considerations that are relevant to this decision. The first is the nature and certainty of the evidence for the effects that lead from petrol may have on the health of young children. The second involves the financial costs of a change to the unleaded petrol option.
The third involves the evaluative framework the analytic method through which complex decisions of this kind can be approached.
It is argued that the scientific literature, generally, supports the view that lead, even at low concentrations, represents a danger to child health. It is argued, also, that lead from petrol is a substantial contributing factor to the normally found elevated body lead levels in New Zealand children and, thus, that there exists a link between leaded petrol and damage to child health. Available estimates of the monetary penalties associated with a move to unleaded petrol indicate that the cost is likely to be relatively small, if the transition is conducted efficiently.
Economics and ethics are examined as evaluative frameworks within the context of the lead in petrol decision-problem. Normative economics, in the form of cost benefit analysis, was found to be not particularly well suited to this decision-problem. However, given appears that unleaded petrol is certain assumptions, it the economically superior alternative. From the perspective of ethics, analytic moral philosophy suggests that the continued use of leaded petrol is ethically indefensible. Thus, it is concluded that a move ought to be made to the unleaded petrol option.||en