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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:23 AM

One BIG thing most people forget....

Is that the eradication of lead from pipes and paints and gasoline has reduced the violent tendencies of people and so we have a drop off of violent crime.

Lead poisoning is what many believe made the Romans so aggressive and so brutal. They used lead, because it was a metal they could work with, because it was pliable in almost every aspect of their lives.

Here in this country, one could look a NYC, which was undoubtedly shown as one of the most violent city in the USA. Most sociologists claimed that the crime rate was due to poverty and loss of hope while being surrounded by the riches of a capitalistic society. Of course that is one major part of the puzzle. But it was the removal of lead from so many things we used on a daily basis that scientist now look as a major cause for that drop in crime.

And then there was Giuliano who just happened to be there at the right time as the age of people who are most likely to turn to violent crime, men between te ages of 15-25, was the first generation to have most of the lead taken out of their environment.

Add to that the legalization of abortion and the pill both allowed women to make a choice concerning how and when they would become mothers made for a lot less kids who where shunned because they were not wanted.

It's fascinating to me all the different tangible reasons for the drop in crime rates. To me, this proves that we are all a product of our environment.

This is a link about what caused the steady drop n crime that started in the late 1990's and continues till this day...


In the 1990s, after decades of relatively steady increase, crime rates in the United States
began a sharp and surprising decline. Researchers have investigated many possible explanations
for this decline. Most recently, Levitt argues that the decline in crime in the 1990s is
primarily explained by increases in the number of police, the size of the prison population, the
waning crack epidemic, and the legalization of abortion in the 1970s. This paper argues that the
removal of lead from gasoline in the late 1970s under the Clean Air Act is an additional important
factor in explaining the decline in crime in the 1990s. The main result of the paper is that changes
in childhood lead exposure are responsible for a 56% drop in violent crime in the 1990s.

http://www3.amherst.edu/~jwreyes/papers/LeadCrimeNBERWP13097.pdf

There was a NYT article that I posted some time back in the 00's that first brought this to my attention.

Anyway, it just gives us another way how environment can really have profound effects on us all in ways we never see.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:28 AM

1. Yes, getting the lead out was really important.

We don't always put two and two together, and so these results can surprise us.

Great post, Chris...

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:05 AM

2. I thought that lead in the aquifers and outsourcing the military were the causes of the downfall

of the Roman Empire.

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:09 AM

6. The Romans also used lead containers to sweeten wine

There's a sweet lead compound once known as sugar of lead, the Romans prepared some wines in lead containers in order to make them sweeter by reacting with the lead to make sugar of lead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead(II)_acetate

Lead(II) acetate (Pb(CH3COO)2), also known as lead acetate, lead diacetate, plumbous acetate, sugar of lead, lead sugar, salt of Saturn, and Goulard's powder, is a white crystalline chemical compound with a sweetish taste. It is made by treating lead(II) oxide with acetic acid. Like other lead compounds, it is toxic.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Rome_and_wine

Columella was 1st-century AD writer whose 12-volume De Re Rustica is considered one of the most important works on Roman agriculture. Eleven volumes written in prose are augmented by Volume 10, a book on gardens in hexameter verse. Volumes 3 and 4 delve into the technical aspects of Roman viticulture, including advice on which soil types yield the best wine, while Volume 12 concerns various aspects of winemaking.

Columella describes the boiling of grape must in a lead vessel to concentrate sugars and at the same time allow the lead to impart sweetness and desirable texture to the wine.


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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:49 AM

3. Lead was also taken out of ordinary housepaint. I'm not sure just how long ago,

but I think possibly back in the 1960's. I'm not even doing a quick Google search on this, but apparently all wall paint contained lead through the 1950's. It was phased out starting around 1960 or so.

Apparently, very young children tended to eat the paint chips that fall off walls (although I've NEVER seen such paint chips in any place I've lived in) and ingesting such things is Very Bad. Leads to lower IQ, among other things.

Maybe the old lead-based paints simply tended to chip in a way other paints don't.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:46 AM

4. 1978 in the USA. 1909 in parts of Europe. 1922 by the League of Nations.

Jeez, we can be backward.

Lead makes paint more durable, including the colors. But it is sweetish, so children who live in decaying houses with peeling paint -- or just houses built before 1978 -- can find paint chips and put them in their mouths. Lead-poisoning in children causes neurological disorders (behavioral, cognitive) and even death, and it is still a particular problem of inner city poverty. It is very harmful, even deadly, to adults as well.

If you have an old house, say a charming Victorian that you are rehabbing, get it tested. And for Gods' sake don't go sanding the paint off, as that just spreads it finely into the air where you can breathe it.

Beware of kiddie jewelry and trinkets, especially from Mexico: they often have high lead content.

The Romans not only used lead for piping water, but as an additive in wine that was shipped all over Europe.

Here's a link to Toxipedia: http://toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/History+of+Lead+Use

Hekate

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Response to Hekate (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:25 AM

9. The 70 year difference between Europe & US could explain A LOT.

That has been my theory ever since I heard about this history a few years ago.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:56 PM

13. The tick down in crime under Rudy G. was the result of the first teenagers who

were lead free and so less violent. Young men commit most crimes and these youngsters under Rudy were docile compared with the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's...

The media went along with Rudy's claim that getting rid of the squeegee guys were banned.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:32 AM

11. They can also pick it up from the air inside the house.

I've taught lots of kids who come from families where nearly all of the children have lead poisoning. it's a very common factor leading to cognitive deficits. We see it so often we have the kids in our school tested for lead poisoning.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:57 AM

5. I think you're right about that

Getting lead out of gasoline was the biggie. Lead abatement in buildings also helped.

Even meth hasn't managed to ramp those statistics back up.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:24 AM

8. It's peculiar how many people just completely ignore the violence causing tendencies of alcohol

The language is replete with phrases about violence and alcohol but people always point to something like meth or cocaine when talking about recreational drugs and violence.

Barroom brawl, drunken brawl, ten feet tall and bulletproof, mean drunk, don't listen to him it's the liquor talking.

I always think of the honky tonk bar scene with chicken wire in front of the stage in The Blue Brothers when this conversation gets going.

If you want to talk domestic violence about three to four times as many DV cases are linked to alcohol as to other drugs.

http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/abuse/a/aa990331.htm

Another study shows that the percentage of batterers who are under the influence of alcohol when they assault their partners ranges from 48 percent to 87 percent, with most research indicating a 60 to 70 percent rate of alcohol abuse and a 13 to 20 percent rate of drug abuse.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:52 PM

12. Oh for sure....

But it would be impossible to ban alcohol. I am a recovering Alcoholic, 26+ so I know of what you speak.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:35 PM

15. I cited meth because it's quicker than alcohol

The meth "epidemic" is a new one that coincided with the drop in serum lead levels nationwide. If anything had a chance of ramping the violence back up, it would have been meth.

Violence from alcohol stays level.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:12 AM

7. Interesting Idea

Thanks for the post

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:29 AM

10. Once pointed out the link is easy to see and even easier to believe.

Thanks for the info. Very interesting.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:41 PM

14. Very interesting post.

There's some current evidence that pesticides are causing similar problems.

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