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Catalytic converterThe rapid adoption by the car industry of catalytic converters for petrol engines to reduce NOx and other pollutants has significantly improved the quality of air in busy towns and cities. However, Italian scientists says this improvement has comes at a significant price as they are finding rapidly rising levels of heavy metal fallout that could have serious implications for health.

Cool cats make heavy metal fall out

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News coverage from the BBC today points out an additional downside to the use of noble metals in catalytic converters – the pollution of Arctic Siberia generated by palladium smelting plants, for instance.