The United Nations Environmental Programme says leaded petrol will be eradicated in a year or two.
Leaded fuel, once sold at the pumps as "regular", still sells in small amounts in six nations. Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, North Korea, Burma and Yemen are expected to complete the transition by 2013.
A new independent study finds that the elimination of leaded petrol has lowered lead-in-blood levels by up to 90% and prevented the annual premature deaths of more than 1.2 million people.
Leaded petrol first appeared in the 1920s. The effort to eliminate it in the US began in the 1970s and culminated in a 1986 ban.
In 2002, the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles began a final push to eradicate leaded fuel.