Author Topic: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?  (Read 76 times)

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Offline SirJohn

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Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« on: January 16, 2018, 09:37:33 pm »
Maybe I just missed it. I don't remember the announcement. But according to this, the huge crime wave from the 70s-90s was due to leaded gasoline in our cars. Is this common knowledge?

www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/lead-exposure-gasoline-crime-increase-children-health/
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Offline Gorgeous Graham

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 09:49:29 pm »
This seems....a crazy theory...but is it true??
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Offline Bubbermiley

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 10:19:32 pm »
There is a demonstrable correlation between lead poisoning and violent crime and a theory that they may be related. But it can't be proven that the violent crime rate would have stayed high if there were no unleaded gasoline. You would also never be able to isolate one factor in determining why a violent crime rate is what it is.

I also see a correlation between meth use and violent crime in my city. It may also be a crazy theory, but I think they too might be related.

Offline kimmy

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 11:17:22 pm »
I believe there's been an established connection between exposure to lead and reduced cognitive ability in kids.  I remember my driving instructor talking about kids in Detroit getting brain-damage from leaded-gas smog, and that was in the late 1990s.

Is it that far fetched to suspect that brain damage from lead exposure would cause higher rates of criminality?  We see the same thing in fetal alcohol syndrome kids, don't we?

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Offline MH

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 05:15:37 am »
Anybody who believes this theory is REQUIRED to believe in climate change, since there is far more evidence for the latter using correlation and lab tests.

Offline kimmy

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 09:25:03 am »
Anybody who believes this theory is REQUIRED to believe in climate change, since there is far more evidence for the latter using correlation and lab tests.

I'm not saying I'm sold on this, but I believe the effects of lead exposure on developing minds are well established.

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Exposure to lead wreaks havoc in the brain, with consequences that include lower IQ and reduced potential for learning. But the precise mechanism by which lead alters nerve cells in the brain has largely remained unknown.
https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/what-ways-does-lead-damage-brain

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In an excellent recent summary of the research on lead exposure and academics prepared by the Expert Panel on Educational Services for Children Affected by Lead, the authors review studies on low levels of lead exposure in areas of the county as diverse as North Carolina, Connecticut, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts and Ohio, which show a consistent link between low-level lead exposure and school achievement. The Expert Panel Report concludes that "lead exposure is responsible for a significant and modifiable effect on the achievement gap...and [result in] substantial costs to local communities".
http://www.scilearn.com/blog/effects-lead-poisoning-on-brain-function

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The classic signs and symptoms in children are loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, anemia, kidney failure, irritability, lethargy, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.[40] Slow development of normal childhood behaviors, such as talking and use of words, and permanent intellectual disability are both commonly seen.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning#Effects_on_children


This part of it doesn't seem controversial at all.

As for whether leaded gasoline can be cited as an aggravating factor in "urban" crime, we would also need to show that "urban" children ingested higher levels of lead than suburban and rural kids and that "urban" kids suffered lead-related developmental problems at a greater rate than suburban and rural kids.

As I say, it seems plausible, but it's certainly not proven at this point.


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Offline SirJohn

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 11:24:38 am »
Anybody who believes this theory is REQUIRED to believe in climate change, since there is far more evidence for the latter using correlation and lab tests.

The people who wrote these papers make good points, and I can't see how this fits into anyone's ideological preconceptions. I also don't know what other reason anyone has ever developed for why crime, particularly violent crime rose so precipitously during the seventies and eighties, then began to sink so steeply n the nineties and zeros.

I tried to find a map I saw some months back, of NY precincts. Each precinct showed the number of murders last year, and then in a smaller number, the amount of murders in the eighties. For someone who used to watch NYPD Blue it was really something. Most Manhattan precincts, for example, had no more than 1 or 2 murders, some had none. Even in Harlem and Bronx precincts which had 100 murders back in the eighties, there were only a handful now. What accounts for this?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 03:29:12 pm by SirJohn »
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: Did anyone know that lead caused violent crime?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 11:54:21 am »
More than just vehicles, lead was eliminated from paints and many other products over the same period. Epidemiologists seem to believe there’s a clear link.