HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Yes, lead poisoning could...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:35 AM

Yes, lead poisoning could really be a cause of violent crime

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/violent-crime-lead-poisoning-british-export?intcmp=122


The Innospec factory at Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire, Britain, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. Photograph: Colin Mcpherson

At first it seemed preposterous. The hypothesis was so exotic that I laughed. The rise and fall of violent crime during the second half of the 20th century and first years of the 21st were caused, it proposed, not by changes in policing or imprisonment, single parenthood, recession, crack cocaine or the legalisation of abortion, but mainly by … lead.

I don't mean bullets. The crime waves that afflicted many parts of the world and then, against all predictions, collapsed, were ascribed, in an article published by Mother Jones last week, to the rise and fall in the use of lead-based paint and leaded petrol.

It's ridiculous – until you see the evidence. Studies between cities, states and nations show that the rise and fall in crime follows, with a roughly 20-year lag, the rise and fall in the exposure of infants to trace quantities of lead. But all that gives us is correlation: an association that could be coincidental. The Mother Jones article, which is based on several scientific papers, claimed causation.

I began by reading the papers. Do they say what the article claims? They do. Then I looked up the citations: the discussion of those papers in the scientific literature. The three whose citations I checked have been mentioned, between them, 301 times. I went through all these papers (except the handful in foreign languages), as well as dozens of others. To my astonishment, I could find just one study attacking the thesis, and this was sponsored by the Ethyl Corporation, which happens to have been a major manufacturer of the petrol additive tetraethyl lead. I found many more supporting it. Crazy as this seems, it really does look as if lead poisoning could be the major cause of the rise and fall of violent crime.

123 replies, 8199 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 123 replies Author Time Post
Reply Yes, lead poisoning could really be a cause of violent crime (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
leveymg Jan 2013 #1
truebluegreen Jan 2013 #2
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2013 #28
Orrex Jan 2013 #29
leveymg Jan 2013 #72
Orrex Jan 2013 #75
leveymg Jan 2013 #76
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #51
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #3
Ptah Jan 2013 #4
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #5
Ptah Jan 2013 #6
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #7
Ptah Jan 2013 #9
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #10
Ptah Jan 2013 #14
jeff47 Jan 2013 #32
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #52
jeff47 Jan 2013 #59
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2013 #34
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #39
zeemike Jan 2013 #35
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #37
AllyCat Jan 2013 #38
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #43
AllyCat Jan 2013 #47
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #48
happyslug Jan 2013 #69
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #98
happyslug Jan 2013 #62
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #79
happyslug Jan 2013 #83
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #86
MADem Jan 2013 #103
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #111
MADem Jan 2013 #113
KT2000 Jan 2013 #105
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #108
KT2000 Jan 2013 #112
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #114
KT2000 Jan 2013 #120
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #122
SharonAnn Jan 2013 #66
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #74
happyslug Jan 2013 #82
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #87
happyslug Jan 2013 #96
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #97
krispos42 Jan 2013 #88
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #89
krispos42 Jan 2013 #90
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #99
krispos42 Jan 2013 #106
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #107
MADem Jan 2013 #102
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #110
MADem Jan 2013 #115
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #116
MADem Jan 2013 #117
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #119
MADem Jan 2013 #121
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #123
WCGreen Jan 2013 #8
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #11
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #41
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #46
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #53
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #54
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #63
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #70
happyslug Jan 2013 #68
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #71
happyslug Jan 2013 #77
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #78
happyslug Jan 2013 #65
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #73
Sunlei Jan 2013 #56
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #12
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #15
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #17
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #19
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #21
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #26
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #27
Ptah Jan 2013 #22
fasttense Jan 2013 #24
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #33
Sunlei Jan 2013 #55
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #57
Sunlei Jan 2013 #58
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #100
Recursion Jan 2013 #31
Maraya1969 Jan 2013 #13
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #16
Hestia Jan 2013 #67
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #18
ancianita Jan 2013 #20
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #36
ancianita Jan 2013 #81
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #101
ancianita Jan 2013 #104
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #109
Sunlei Jan 2013 #30
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2013 #42
AllyCat Jan 2013 #44
morningfog Jan 2013 #84
Maraya1969 Jan 2013 #93
morningfog Jan 2013 #94
Fuddnik Jan 2013 #23
xchrom Jan 2013 #25
Sunlei Jan 2013 #40
AllyCat Jan 2013 #45
Sunlei Jan 2013 #50
dotymed Jan 2013 #49
dmallind Jan 2013 #60
Remmah2 Jan 2013 #61
No Compromise Jan 2013 #64
happyslug Jan 2013 #80
cthulu2016 Jan 2013 #91
morningfog Jan 2013 #85
ancianita Jan 2013 #92
noamnety Jan 2013 #95
jmowreader Jan 2013 #118

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:46 AM

1. It was hypothesized 80 years ago that the fall of the Roman Empire was due to lead plates, goblets

and eating utensils. This isn't really news.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:14 AM

2. Proving it, for the current era, is news.

And gives me a little bit of hope.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:10 AM

28. Maybe it is "news" to others who do not already have that information.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:11 AM

29. Great point! Do me a favor

Can you post a link to the scholarly article you've read about the 20 year differential between environmental lead and the rise in violent crime in the Roman Empire? That would be fascinating.

Since you stated that this isn't news, I'm sure that you have a whole bunch of material describing the correlation/causation.

I mean, everybody knows that the use of lead in water pipes and utensils contributed to the downfall of the Empire due to a sort of general neurological degradation, but I'm looking forward to reading the more specific findings that you cite re: lead intake and violent crime.

Can't wait for the link! Thanks!



Incidentally, people get shot all the time, but it's still news when any one particular person gets gunned down. Why would you rush to be the first reply, simply so that you can cry "bah! humbug!" about this interesting and significant discovery?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Orrex (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:30 PM

72. I stand corrected. People have known for at least 1900 years that ingesting lead is dangerous

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_the_Roman_Empire: Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius recognised the toxicity of lead. Vitruvius, who flourished during Augustus' time, writes that the Romans knew very well of the dangers.

^ (Historia Naturalis1 xxxiv.50.167): Water conducted through earthen pipes is more wholesome than that through lead; indeed that conveyed in lead must be injurious, because from it white lead is obtained, and this is said to be injurious to the human system. This may be verified by observing the workers in lead, who are of a pallid colour; water should therefore on no account be conducted in leaden pipes if we are desirous that it should be wholesome (VIII.6.10-11).

^ a b c Milton A. Lessler. "Lead and Lead Poisoning from Antiquity to Modern Times". Retrieved 11 JAN 2009.
^ a b Nriagu JO (March 1983). "Saturnine gout among Roman aristocrats. Did lead poisoning contribute to the fall of the Empire?". N. Engl. J. Med. 308 (11): 660–3. doi:10.1056/NEJM198303173081123. PMID 6338384.
^ Director: Chris Warren (2004). Tales of the Living Dead: Poisoned Roman Babies (television). Brighton TV for National Geographic.
^ Mark E. Anderson MD FAAP (22 AUG 2007). "Children’s Environmental Health: Tribal Nations CEH Summit". Retrieved 11 JAN 2009.
^ "Metabolism of Lead". Retrieved 11 JAN 2009.
^ a b c "A Clue to the Decline of Rome". The New York Times. 31 MAY 1983. Retrieved 11 JAN 2009.
^ Drasch 1982:199-231




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #72)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:26 PM

75. Thanks--that's a nice summary of the part about general ill health due to lead

Of course, the current article--the news part of the story--speaks specifically of the link between environmental lead and an increase in violent behavior. Pliny's and Vetruvius' writings don't appear to address this link, though Vitruvius does seem concerned about the workers' pallor.

Your link didn't work, either.


Regardless, I don't see why the current article and findings should be dismissed as non-news. People have been running for millions of years, but if someone suddenly ran a three minute mile it would be news. A new development is news even if the subject as a whole is well-established.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Orrex (Reply #75)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:10 PM

76. I think too much is being made about this story. I don't view it as news or even as original

scientific findings. Sorry to be such a sour puss.



Wait, do you suppose that old folk term has the same derivation as lead mouth? Inquiring minds . . .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:44 AM

51. Also lead pipes for water supplies.

As a matter of fact, that's where the term "plumbing" comes from.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:26 AM

3. I don't buy it. what is the mechanism through which increased exposure to lead increases

 

violent crime specifically?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:35 AM

4. From Wikipedia:

Lead exposure in children is also correlated with neuropsychiatric disorders such
as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and antisocial behavior. Elevated lead
levels in children are correlated with higher scores on aggression and delinquency
measures. A correlation has also been found between prenatal and early childhood
lead exposure and violent crime in adulthood
. Countries with the highest air lead
levels have also been found to have the highest murder rates, after adjusting for
confounding factors. A May 2000 study by economic consultant Rick Nevin theorizes
that lead exposure explains 65% to 90% of the variation in violent crime rates in the
US. A 2007 paper by the same author claims to show a strong association between
preschool blood lead and subsequent crime rate trends over several decades across
nine countries. It is believed that the U.S. ban on lead paint in buildings in the late
1970s, as well as the phaseout of leaded gasoline in the 1970s and 1980s, partially
helped contribute to the decline of violent crime in the United States since the early 1990s.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning#Nervous_system

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ptah (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:37 AM

5. i remember when similar studies were done in the 70s. there were problems with them then, &

 

there are problems with them now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:49 AM

6. Well, absent any other information, I'll go with Wikiedia's summary.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ptah (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:51 AM

7. here's some information:

 



lead began being added to gas around 1925 & was banned in 1986.

so we should see rising crime beginning around 1935, steadily increasing (cumulative effect) through about 2000-2005.

we don't see that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:55 AM

9. How does that information differ from the Wikipedia citation?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ptah (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:59 AM

10. how do you explain the pre-1925 rise in murder and the drop circa 1937-1965? Lead began

 

being added to gasoline about 1925 and was banned in 1986.

http://www.thenation.com/article/secret-history-lead#

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:24 AM

14. Good point.

Looks like I have some reading to do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:19 AM

32. The relevant poisoning is on developing brains, not adult brains

Meaning children exposed to lots of tetraethyl lead are more likely to be violent criminals as adults. The studies show a 23-year lag between atmospheric lead concentration and violent crime rates. The curves of atmospheric lead and violent crime, when superimposed with that 23 year gap, line up extremely well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jeff47 (Reply #32)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:46 AM

52. yes, they line up well for the crime of aggravated assault, in the cities chosen, in the time

 

period chosen.

but when you go outside the box the researchers have limited themselves to, they don't line up as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:38 AM

59. Based on your memory.

Or did you provide a link I missed?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:20 AM

34. Prohibition ended on 12/5/1933 and professionally manufactured alcohol became more readily available

 

It's possible that lead was used in distilling equipment by some immigrants making their own hooch after 1900 and then increased on a more wide-spread basis with the adoption of Prohibition.

Some even used car radiators for their distillation efforts.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #34)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:24 AM

39. 'it's possible....' but unlikely to have had such a large effect on murder rates.

 

also, prohibition began in 1920 & crime rates were already rising.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:21 AM

35. Ever heard of a lead pipe?

Or nice white lead based paint?...all being used at the turn of the century...lead was seen then as no big deal in the environment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to zeemike (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:23 AM

37. yes, i have. presumably they existed 1937-1965 as well.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:23 AM

38. "adjusted for confounding factors"

While your graph is food for thought, it does not adjust for other causes of violent crime. I would not shout malarkey at the link between lead and violent behavior so quickly.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AllyCat (Reply #38)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:27 AM

43. why should it adjust for *any* causes? it's a graph of the murder rate, period. i'm not shouting

 

'malarkey,' i'm bringing up counter-evidence.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:33 AM

47. Because there are other sources of lead in the environment,

not just leaded gasoline.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AllyCat (Reply #47)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:36 AM

48. Did they go away between 1937 and 1965?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:36 PM

69. The rate of people being Killed in Europe in 1946 was a HUGE DROP from from 1944

Was lead involved in that drop? Or was some other factor the cause for the drop in then number of people being killed? i.e. the end of WWII. You have to control for drop in any death rate (and violent crime) if something else is clearly the cause of that increase or decrease. All studies have to do it, otherwise the results are useless.

Another factor that must be controlled for is people moving from areas of high culture of violence (The rural American South for Example) to areas of much lower rates of violence (The urban centers of the American North prior to 1960). People tend to forget that most urban areas, prior to the 1960s, had lower then average murder rates. The reason was simple, the rural South had much higher rates of murder and brought the National Average up. Thus this factor has to be controlled, i.e. compare groups with the same rates of murder and exclude groups where the change in murder rates can better be explained by massive immigration of people with a culture of different murder rates (i.e. African Americans moving from the Very Violent Rural South to the Northern Inner Cities starting in the 1920s to the 1960s).

You have to control for both of the above and any other factor that comes to light (including local crime wars such as the Crack Cocaine war of the early 1990s).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #69)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:05 PM

98. Military deaths/war deaths aren't part of the murder rate statistics. They're part of the general

 

death rate statistics.

So, no, I don't have to control them when using a *murder rate* data set.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:07 AM

62. Lead paint, and the switch from lead pipe water systems after 1900, better reporting

Most water systems used lead prior to around 1900, Around 1860s a movement started to remove these lead pipe and replaced them with copper, but took 20 years to be implemented and even then it took years for the older lead systems to be replaced by copper.

Now large pipes, in the 1800s, were made of wood (and many are still in use, as long as they never dry out they last a long time), but when it came to pipes in homes, lead was the metal of choice prior to about 1860. My mother's house, built in 1917, still has lead pipe in it (long bypassed), but lead piping was still used in some applications as late as WWI for it was more flexible then copper.

In homes built prior to 1900 lead pipes still show up every so often, if not disturbed lead pipe can last a long time, but the problems with lead were known by 1860 and a movement started to get rid of lead water pipes at that time. Newer homes, built after 1900 for example, tended to have mostly copper piping, but some retain lead in certain locations. Lead pipes were not outlawed till after WWII, and then only in urban areas with building codes.

On top of this lead paint was big prior to the 1920s. but the effect of lead paint had become known by 1900, so that after WWI an international movement occurred to ban such paint. While the US was the only significant manufacturing nation to oppose the ban before, during and after WWI, several paint companies refused to produce lead base paint (For example Pittsburgh Paint, a dominate paint in commercial settings, was known for its non-lead base paint from its purchased by PPG corporation in 1898 and its change of name to Pittsburgh Paint). Most professional painters use Pittsburgh Paints due to its ease of application, its ability to cover other paints even at the cost of the paint being two to three times the price of other paints).

Between the drop in the use of lead in water systems (mostly in the main lines to homes as while as in homes) and the reduction in the use of lead paint after 1900 (Except in industrial settings) would explain the drop in crime in the 1920s. Increase urbanization (movement from the country to the city) which tended to move people into older tenements (With its lead water systems and lead paint) in the 1920s would also explain the increase in crime in the 1930s.

Side note: The FBI keeps National Crime reports today, but it is a compilation of reports given to local police. When surveys are done about crime, the FBI statistics are viewed as unreported except in the case of murder. Furthermore the FBI only started to do such reports in 1930 (and only officially issued the reports from 1935), thus the drop in Crime in the 1920s and increase in crime in the 1930s may just be the effect of someone actually collecting the data. I.e. Data prior to 1935 could and was missed, even for murder, if a local police department decided NOT to file a report. To a degree you have that problem to this very day, but almost all Police department have sent in the data since 1935,

Another problems with records before the 1920s, is that the 1920 Census was the first Census to show more people living in Urban Areas (including Urban Clusters like small towns) then in Rural Areas. Given that Rural Areas, even today, tend to be patrolled by State Police agencies instead of local police, the History of the Nation's State Police is a factor. Pennsylvania adopted the First State Police in the US in 1903, but it was more a labor control mechanism then anything else (The Texas Rangers existed prior to that date, but was more a pseudo-military organization till it was reformed into its present form in 1935).

In the 1920s a new type of State Police come into being, paid by giving tickets to motorists, these were called "Highway Patrols" for that was their duty, to patrol the highways of the state so that the then new state laws governing automobile use was followed. Pennsylvania even adopted one in 1927 (Yes, Pennsylvania had TWO state police forces from 1927 till the late 1930s when the two forces were merged into the "Pennsylvania Motor Police" which changed its name to "Pennsylvania State Police" in 1948).

Other states also adopted State Police Forces or Highway Patrols in the 1920s and 1930s. Most followed the example of the Pennsylvania Highway Patrol, paid by giving tickets, but also providing police services on Rural Highways. As a side factors, such Highway Patrols/State Police forces started to investigate other crimes reported to them outside the jurisdiction of any local police (Which were restricted to urban and suburban areas of the State). By the mid 1930s, you finally had Police Forces governing almost all of the US, something that was NOT the rule 20 years before. In 1915 if a murder occurred in a rural area, it was handled by the County District Attorney or Prosecutor but not the Police for no police existed in that area. This was due to the fact that there was no police force in most of rural America to report the murder from to any national data base. By the mid 1930s that had changed, with the widespread adoption of State Police/Highway Patrols you finally had Police covering Rural Areas of the US and thus a Police Department to report the murder to, and thus a Police Department to send data of crime to the FBI in Washington.

In simple terms, the increase in crime the 1930s may be the result be better reporting of crime. This is especially a factor for the South was and is the most populated rural area of the US (The Rocky Mountain west is larger, but has much lower population compared to the rural South). The South, even in colonial days, were know to be much more violent then the rest of the US. The rural South retain that elevated level of violence, compared to the rest of the nation, to this day (Through it has declined over the last 50 or more years). This violence is more related to who and how the South was settled, then lead, but lead would still be a factor for lead would have made a bad situation worse (and they is some evidence it did).

On the other hand, the South would have had the worse ability to record crime rate in the country until the adoption of State Police forces in the 1920s and 1930s. Thus the increase in crime in the 1930s, may just be the result of the Rural South Finally reporting its crimes to a national data base, thus increasing the crime rate tremendously.

Just a comment that when it comes to crime rates in the US, any statistics prior to WWII is questionable. There was NO law to report such crimes to a central data base and most of the US (in area) did not even have the organization (Police) to gather and send the data to a national data base (The FBi authorized to do so in 1930, did not issue a report till 1935).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #62)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:53 PM

79. i'm not convinced by all the ad hoc, maybe this maybe that stuff on lead pipes & lead paint,

 

since there's *still* plenty of lead paint & lead pipes around, even at this late date, & certainly way more circa 1937-1965. and i've yet to see any comparisons of blood lead levels for the relevant periods (pre-40s v. 40s-60s). Just speculation.

i take your point about uniform fbi stats, but there's a proxy, which is murder rates kept by individual cities. You may have a small point about better reporting, but murder is a crime that tends to be reported or noted by the authorities -- because it *is* murder, and there's a body or aggrieved survivors. Also, the definition has mostly stayed the same through time, whereas the definition of aggravated assault (the measure used by one of the lead researchers) hasn't (it widened over time, encompassing more types of crime).

here's san francisco:



that's a graph made from SF city records: "I found some ridiculously detailed homicide stats that name every person ever murdered in SF from 1849 to 2003 — the very first on the list was Beatty Belden, shot by “Chileans” on Telegraph Hill because of a “misunderstanding” — and crunched some numbers over time. (I took the 10 year census numbers and extrapolated SF population for other years , except for the last 10 years where I found yearly US census estimates.)"

http://burritojustice.com/2009/11/16/reclaimed-from-bligh-yeah-i-know-i-know/

and here's the database: http://cjrc.osu.edu/researchprojects/hvd/usa/sanfran/

In SF the low-homicide period runs ~1920-1965, well after the introduction of leaded gasoline.

And murder rates in the 1840s were even worse (the 1860s and 1980s appear as mere blips in comparison)



also (& not to you particularly, just a general question), why would lead exposure affect rates of violence of young men particularly, but not the larger population (assuming they also had been exposed in childhood?



This isn't the greatest chart because it doesn't break out the 'over-25' group into age fractions -- but why would homicide rates *drop* for over-25s while rates for under 25s soared, if the culprit is lead? Presumably a 35-year-old male in 1986, exposed to lead as a child in 1951-onward, would still be suffering from the poor impulse control, irritability, etc. caused by lead exposure, and is still physically able to murder. So why just look at men 15-25?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #79)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:13 AM

83. Prior to 1935 we had NO national data base for crime

A private group started one in the 1920s, Congress told the FBI to take it over in 1930 and the FBI finally issued they first report in 1935. Thus anything about crime prior to that date is the result of people going back to the historical records and reconstructing the crime data. The problem with this is many courts did not keep what we would call records unless the Defendant was brought up on charges, and even then keeping a record of what happened in the court during a trial was NOT common practice till the late 1800s. Thus none of the data is reliable.

As to post 1935 records, we have problems. Congress did NOT require local police forces to report crimes to the FBI, they could if they wanted to, but no one required them to do so. Thus a lot of local police forces just did not do it. Now, in the post WWII era, Police started to get money from the Federal Government, while Congress still did NOT require local police to report crime data to the FBI, it started to local to local Police forces if they did, they had a better chance of getting Federal Funds, thus you had increase in the number of Police Departments participating. Thus the only reliable numbers we have for crime is post 1945.

Your last graph has an inherent error in it, it shows an increase in murders done by 14-17 years old and 18-24 years old, as those populations were dropping (i.e. you had less and less 14-24 years old per 100,000 people after 1984). This was known at that time and was why Social Security was changed in the early 1980s, to prepare Social Security when the then over 24 year old baby boomers start to get on Social Security around 2015 (62 years after the start of the baby boom in 1947).

Furthermore, if you read the article, the authors accepted that data was unreliable prior to WWII AND their basis was comparing numbers issued by the FBI and Lead gasoline sales, with a 23 year gap.

You should read the Mother Jones article, the paper cited does reference it, but here is a direct link to it:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #83)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:01 AM

86. I already acknowledged the point about national data. But we do have data for a lot of big

 

cities, as with the data from SF that I linked, and for murder it's fairly reliable.

And it's a fairly well-established fact that urban murder rates in the US were rather high in previous centuries.

Your last graph has an inherent error in it, it shows an increase in murders done by 14-17 years old and 18-24 years old, as those populations were dropping (i.e. you had less and less 14-24 years old per 100,000 people after 1984).

There's no error; the murder rate for those age groups increased. What's the error?

And what relevance does social security have to this discussion? none...why waste space rambling on about it?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:31 PM

103. Chipping paint in tenement slums?

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

Lead paint or lead-based paint is paint containing lead, as pigment, with lead(II) chromate (PbCrO4, "chrome yellow") and lead(II) carbonate (PbCO3, "white lead") being the most common. Lead is added to paint to speed up drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. It is one of the main health and environmental hazards associated with paint. In some countries, lead continues to be added to paint intended for domestic use, whereas countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. have regulations prohibiting this, although lead paint may still be found in older properties painted prior to the introduction of such regulations. Although lead has been banned from household paints in the United States since 1978, paint used in road markings may still contain it. Alternatives such as water-based, lead-free traffic paint are readily available, and many states and federal agencies have changed their purchasing contracts to buy these instead.

...Lead is especially damaging to children under age six, whose bodies are still developing. It causes nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development. It is particularly dangerous to children because it tastes sweet, encouraging children to put lead chips and toys with lead dust in their mouths. Lead paint is also dangerous to adults and can cause reproductive problems in both men and women.

A myth regarding lead-based paint claims that children must eat lead-paint chips to develop lead poisoning. In actuality, ingestion of lead dust, which can be dislodged from deteriorating paint or can be generated during painting, also occurs when children get lead dust on their hands and then touch their mouths.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #103)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:01 PM

111. There was chipping paint in rural homes too. And there was chipping lead paint circa 1910-

 

1920, so it doesn't explain why violent crime plummeted 1937-1965.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #111)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:21 AM

113. Well, a lot of people were very busy for the first five years of the forties...

And a lot of potential criminals may well have died in the European and Pacific theaters.

Family life also became more important during that time frame that followed the war--guys who might have gone into crime were going to school on the GI Bill and reintegrating themselves into society. And having kids, lotsa kids.

There was a huge gangster culture in the roaring twenties as a consequence of prohibition; I am quite sure most of those gangsters didn't decide, upon repeal, to just give up their life of crime and go shovel coal or something--it probably took eight to ten years (when they were met with the draft) for their wicked ways of stealing, looting, and doing what they could (since they had no marketable skills) to poop out.

Also, that chipping paint got painted over in 1910 and 1920--and after a few coats, those chips get big and the dust becomes more onerous.

In a lot of poorer rural homes, I don't know if paint was used as often. White wash or nothing, I should think, and perhaps old newspaper as wallpaper.

But who knows? I'm speculating, but I do think there is a relationship between lead ingestion and major problems for both children and adults.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 06:53 PM

105. lead was used for many things

it was in paint for one. It was in red dyes. It is in household manuals from the 1800's that tell people use "sugar lead" to clean clothes. It had a sweet taste to it so some people used to eat it.

One really must analyze the total exposure sources to use such a graph and have it mean anything.

Also - Over the years there have been physicians who have tried to protect the health of children from exposures to lead. H. Needleman MD., was in the forefront. The lead industry worked very hard to destroy the man. Some of the studies you say have been discredited in the 70s are likely a result of the attacks on those concerned physicians. Just because an industry hack gets his opinion into the media does not make it so.
I will believe people like Dr. Needleman, who put everything on the line for the sake of the health of children, over industry PR any day.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KT2000 (Reply #105)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:39 PM

108. Yes, & what was the lead source that declined precipitously in the 1910s-20s such that the murder

 

rate precipitously declined circa 1937-1965?

printers' ink was lead-based too, i believe into the 60s. has anyone checked the violent crime rate for printers' devils and typesetters?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #108)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:06 PM

112. that is what I mean

and the analysis must be thorough. There are many factors and some are not very obvious. An influx of immigrants will introduce exposures that may be common in the home country but new to this country.
Also - remember that effluent from industries was collected into ponds near the population.

I sure hope that sugar of lead was out of favor by 1910!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KT2000 (Reply #105)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:39 AM

114. industry pr? what industry has a vested interest in lead these days?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #114)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:11 AM

120. Please note:

there is always resistance to regulation of ANY toxic metal, chemical etc.
I am currently involved in a citizens group that is trying to make sure a closed paper mill cleans up the hazardous wastes left from their operation. Lead is one of them.
Lead is in lots of Superfund sites and industry - through their PR people - still wants to say it does not harm anyone.

It may interest you to know that our esteemed head of the Poison Control Center in Seattle wrote a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times in the late 1990s saying that no children have ever been poisoned by lead and therefore regulation was unnecessary. He was an industry hack.

This Wiki entry partially explains the PR attempts to discredit Dr. Needleman - and that is what I was referring to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Needleman

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KT2000 (Reply #120)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:56 AM

122. lead is a *proven* toxin, & has *proven* effects on physical & mental development (i.e developmental

 

Last edited Fri Jan 11, 2013, 04:09 AM - Edit history (3)

delay & retardation). That in itself is enough to mandate clean-up of toxic sites.

As Needleman, per your link, was key in getting exposure limits lowered because of the IQ research, it seems his critics were unsuccessful.

Here's my problem with the violence research:

1) The association between lead & violence, by implication, applies mainly to black urban males aged 15-25, as that was the demographic primarily implicated in the rise in violent crime circa 1970-1990. There are a number of problematic aspects with this & I won't go into the details, I'll just say that any research alleging a ubiquitous environmental toxin affects one race/sex/age group more than any others is highly suspect and bears an extraordinary burden of proof, which has not been met.

There was similar research done circa 70s-onward that more specifically targeted black males & the reasons for their purported higher rates of violent crime,' looking for genetic & environmental explanations in order to pre-identify likely offenders. I find it racist at its root & to me, this research has a similar smell.

And I'll add that Kevin Drum's article is mostly based on the work of Rick Nevin -- who cites The Bell Curve as one of his sources for the claim that youth with lower IQs exhibit higher levels of violent behavior, and several other points as well. The Bell Curve, the winger book intended to prove that black people have lower intelligence than white people, and that at least part of the difference is genetic. Nevin accepts the claims of that book uncritically & purports to explain them via lead poisoning, and this is a major focus of his work, e.g.:

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:bhNsUBOj1QIJ:www.ricknevin.com/uploads/Nevin_Lead_Poisoning_and_The_Bell_Curve.pdf+rick+nevin+bell+curve&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjX8ZvhMTy_EgMJxJfUwmOT0IQkTKEGOXtHCZN0-21CCL7UOgLrTU2Irx2L5osbYgD2OsHOuRoAyluu4Bx2x99n7xM_Aa10z2UWfkZhE--s5BtwmiXrNqrfLCL1EnAuzHtwDD8F&sig=AHIEtbRCMmlt-ToDQZ-PwuBslZ-OCs830A

This writer is a suspect source, imo:

Rick Nevin is an economic consultant who acts as an adviser to the National Center for Healthy Housing and has worked on the Federal Strategy to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Amongst other research, he has published papers in the journal Environmental Research claiming to demonstrate a link between environmental lead exposure and violent crime in the United States and in nine countries worldwide.

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

And here's another of his interests:

In September 2011, the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition (NSHHC), a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations working to improve housing conditions, submitted the following Healthy Housing Strategy to FHFA...

The Healthy Housing Strategy is designed to stabilize neighborhood home values by converting upgraded REO housing to rental units. The required upgrade - lead-safe window replacement - would increase home value, lower energy bills and related emissions, and prevent childhood lead poisoning. Some variation of the lease-to-own financing arrangements suggested in the NSHHC submission could also leverage low mortgage interest rates to provide safe and affordable rental housing with a lease-to-own option that could rapidly build home equity.

http://www.ricknevin.com/Partner_Perspectives.html


REO units = bank owned units. The proposal is to convert them to rentals & use public money to do upgrades. In whose interest, exactly? Is the purpose really to reduce lead exposure?


2) Despite the claims that the same correlations have been tested in many other countries & have been found to be the same, it's not the case. The list of countries mentioned is small & confined to western europe so far as i've seen. And as we all know, correlation isn't causation.

Japan is an obvious counter-example, a country where vehicle ownership & miles driven rose rapidly post-war, but crime rates & violence declined sharply. Japan began banning leaded gas in 1970 & totally banned it in 1986, so per this hypothesis we'd predict a rise in violence circa 1970-1990s -- but we don't see any such thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:34 AM

66. Your math is wrong. 1935 plus at least 20 years (more for cumulative effect) is 1955

And, you actually see homicide levels beginning to go up then and stay high through the late '90s, Then, when lead is banned in the '80s you start to see this crime go down about 15-20 years later.

Remember, the influence and accumulation rate may be different from the rate in which the body gets rid of lead. And the "20 year" is approximate.

I think the graph shows the correlation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SharonAnn (Reply #66)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:44 PM

74. lead began being added to fuel about 1925, not 1935. murder rates dropped dramatically ~1937-1965.

 

no correlation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #74)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:58 PM

82. But most Americans did NOT use cars till bout 1954

And most of that increase was post WWII. In urban areas most people walked or took the Streetcar till after WWII. Rural areas embraced the car in the 1920s, but that is AFTER more Americans lived in Urban areas then in Rural Areas. My point is the point if importance is the massive adoption of Automobiles in the Post WWII era and with that massive adoption the vast increase in lead in the atmosphere starting about 1946.

Please note, Automobile use actually increased in the 1930s but that also so how few cars were in use compared to today.

Today the US has 765 Motor vehicles per 1000 people.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/tra_mot_veh-transportation-motor-vehicles

Through the US is only the fifth highest per 1000 people, if we restrict the numbers to cars:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/its-official-western-europeans-have-more-cars-per-person-than-americans/261108/

There is some confusion over the numbers, the Author of the second report claims his use of cars includes "cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and minibuses" but NOT commercial trucks. The problem is almost every state do NOT separate vehicles that way, most have "Cars", "Station Wagons" and "Trucks". In my home state of Pennsylvania a 3/4 ton Suburban is a "Station Wagon", while Subaru outback (1/3 of the size of the Suburban) as a "Truck" just like any other Truck, including 10-20 ton Dump Trucks. Thus I suspect his numbers include "Car" and "Station wagons" including SUVs and Mini-Vans, but NOT Pickups or anything with an open bed, no matter how small or how they are used. Please note my state also classifies truck by hauling capacity, but it starts at 1, for something like the Subaru, 2 for something like a Dodge Dakota, 3 for 1/2 ton trucks, 4 for 3/4 ton trucks etc. If he used that standard, then what was his cut off? If it was at 2 or above, he would have missed almost all of the pickups that people use as personal cars.

Also note, the HUMMER was so heavy, it was classified as a One Ton Truck and thus treated as if it was a Commercial bus by the Federal Government. The Federal Government uses weight alone it is determination (Thus the treatment of the Hummer) but then do you call a 1/2 ton truck a commercial truck if it is a "Pickup"? I suspect the author is using state data for the Federal Government is only concerned about new vehicles (and then for safety and pollution control reasons only). Given he is using only state numbers, he missed almost all pickups and given a lot of pickups are on the road and used for personal transportation his numbers are low.

Here is the number of Motor Vehicles per 1000 people in the US in various years since 1900, the US only broke 1 for 1000 Americans about 1906, within four years you had a 500% increase (1906-1910), in another 10 years (1910-1920) you saw a 160% increase (Small base getting larger, typical of a new product). Then the increase goes to 300% increase between 1920 and 1930, then a barely increased during the Great Depression, deceased during WWII to just above the level of ownership in 1930, then just a 68% increase from 1945 to 1950, then a 78% increase in the 1950s, 75% increase in the 1960s (At the end of which Air Pollution laws kicked in and reductions in lead became the rule).

By 1970 we had over one Motor Vehicle for every two people, given that a typical household includes a Husband, a Wife and three children (we are talking 1960s) then you had a car for almost every adult by 1970. This also show that in 1970, which is the almost the end of leaded gas in the US, you had seen a 185% increase in the number of motor vehicles since 1945, 209% since 1930 and 633% increase since 1920 (and over a 54500% increase since 1905). This massive increase in the number of cars from the 1920s onward lead to a subsequent increase in the use of gasoline, and prior to 1974 that was unleaded gasoline.

1900 0.11
1905 0.94
1910 5.07
1920 86.78
1930 217.34
1940 245.63
1945 221.80
1950 323.71
1960 410.37
1970 545.35
1980 710.71
2000 800.30
2007 843.57
2009 828.04
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_vehicle#United_States

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #82)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:19 AM

87. 200 cars/1000 people in 1930 = 200% increase from 1900, 100% increase from 1920. And car

 

ownership was concentrated in the big cities & their near suburbs.

The figures also don't take farm machinery into account.

This is NYC in 1930.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Tm6rbwLR7Es/S20O2SihhcI/AAAAAAAASlc/4M4-IosC7so/s400/new+york.jpg

Your point is that there were more cars in 1970 than 1930? I never claimed otherwise. My claim is that the pattern we observe: declining/low murder rates circa 1937-1965 (mirrored approximately in major urban areas) doesn't fit the lead hypothesis.

If lead were a major cause, we'd expect to see rising violence in cities starting about 1945, growing from there in big cities and spreading to smaller cities as car ownership increased.

But we don't see that. We see low rates of violence (lower than pre-WW2 levels) and after 1965 we see a pattern of violent crime that is highly selective by race, sex, and population concentration, & also by type of violent crime.

Not what you expect to see with an environmental toxin.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #87)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:33 PM

96. Purchased of cars were concentrated in the Rural and Suburban areas prior to WWII

And during WWII, the actual number of motor vehicles DECLINED, as many former users of horses return to horses for the duration (The most noted were Milkmen).

AS to your picture of New York City in 1930 see the following quote of New York City TODAY:

New York is the only city in the United States where over half of all households do not own a car (Manhattan's non-ownership is even higher - around 75%; nationally, the rate is 8%).


Around 48% of New Yorkers own cars, yet fewer than 30% use them to commute to work, most finding public transportation cheaper and more convenient for that purpose,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_in_New_York_City#cite_note-2001summary-6

Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_in_New_York_City#cite_note-2001summary-6
http://nhts.ornl.gov/2001/pub/STT.pdf
http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf

In 1930 the Car ownership rate in New York City was even lower. Today, 2013, over 54% of the people of New York use Public Transit to get to work, an additional 21% walk or ride a bike to work, for a total of 75%. The remaining 25% include not only people who drive, but people who fly, take a boat, or take a train to NYC to work.

In the 1920s GM did a study and found that the largest prospective area for growth in Auto usage was Rural America. Grain prices were up due to the fact the US Grain producers #1 competitor, Russia and the Ukraine, were out of the market due to turning Communist (More due to a refusal of other European countries to trade with them then anything else, this was reversed in 1927 when Stalin decided to dump grain onto the world market to pay for his first Five Year plan, but in most of the 20s Rural America was booming).

THe second largest group were Upper Middle Class Urban dwellers, who were also the first to move to the Suburbs, thus while most Working Class stiffs still walked to work from 1920 to 1946, managers and other professionals started to move out to the Suburbs AND use their automobiles to commute to work. Thus your picture proves nothing.

Most people in Urban Area were working class, not the poor, and not the 10% of the population generally considered "Upper Middle Class" (as that term is used today, the term "Middle Class" was used for them till the 1960s when it was decided that unions had moved the Working Class to Middle Class standards and with that change the term Middle Class started to include what use to be called Working Class). It was this group that started to buy cars as early as 1905, and continue to be the main source of car owners till after WWII in urban areas. Most urban areas, prior to the end of WWII mimicked New York City, it is only with the embrace of the automobile did the modern auto dominated city developed.

As to the 200 Motor Vehicles per 1000 people, remember that included trucks. In the 1920s and 1930s most cities pushed for trucks to replace horses, so the city did not have to clean up after the horses. Many of the motor vehicles purchased during the 1920s and 1930s in urban areas where such local delivery trucks. In my home city of Pittsburgh, the Streetcar system had to end its own fright hauling business in 1940 due to the fact so many businesses had adopted trucks to haul goods around that they no longer saw the Streetcar system as a fast alternative (it had been when the horse was use to haul goods). This demand for trucks, and the subsequent flexibility trucks provided, did in a number of Inter-Urban Streetcar systems. Interurbans tended to be more rural then urban and depended not only on passenger service, but freight service. For example the City of Hershey Streetcar system failed when Hershey switched from having farmers haul their milk to the Streetcar stop and instead had trucks pick up the milk directly from the farmers. THis mid 1920 change, killed off a income stream for that interurban Streetcar and forced it to close down.

Just a comment that 200 motor vehicles per 1000 people included trucks and a lot of vehicles in rural areas. These Rural vehicle, when they burned leaded gasoline, would have the effect minimize by the fact on a per mile basis, the vehicle count was low. Urban areas, would see a concentration of lead as more and more people drove to work just based on the number of vehicle in a relatively much smaller area.

I have found that most people living today can not even image living in a society without access to an automobile, yet that was the norm as late as 1945 in urban areas. I have found people refusing to accept that people can survive without cars but that was the norm for most people's great grand parents.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #96)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 04:52 PM

97. Here's the problem with your analysis.

 

1. The 70s-90s increase in violent crime was predominantly an urban phenomenon.


2. Though you are correct that vehicles/capita were higher outside urban areas, that has always been the case, & NYC is not unique in that respect. E.g. 1930 v. 1990 vehicles/household:




3. However, as you acknowledge, in urban areas vehicle ownership & use is concentrated in a smaller geographic area, which is presumably why urban kids had higher average blood lead than rural kids in the days of leaded gas & presumably the reason the researchers focused their research on big cities, along with the big spike in crime in the cities.


4. Urban vehicles/household, while lower than rural rates, were nevertheless already relatively high by 1930 for two reasons: a) rich people; b) delivery and service vehicles.

In San Francisco, for example, vehicles/household in 1930 were already 76% of the 1970 rate & 65% of the 1990 rate:

1930: autos/total vehicles registered/household = .82/.87
1950: .92/1.04
1970: .98/1.14
1990: 1.08/1.33

http://www.mtc.ca.gov/maps_and_data/datamart/forecast/ao/tab1120.htm#table11



5. Also, vehicles/household grew at a slower rate in most big cities than in rural-suburban areas circa 1950-1970, supposedly the critical years:

SF: 1.04 to 1.14/household = 9.6% growth

Contra costa county = 1.31 - 1.88/household = 43.5% growth

http://www.mtc.ca.gov/maps_and_data/datamart/forecast/ao/tab1120.htm#table11



NYC is indeed a uniquely 'car-free' city, as opposed to say Detroit during its heyday. So it's interesting that it was almost synonymous with violent crime during the 70s-90s. It's a curious thing -- but less so if you're aware of the history:

a. The deindustrialization & job loss circa 1950s-1980s
b. The heroin epidemic of the late 60s-70s
c. The 1975 financial crisis and the subsequent deliberate policy of disinvestment & 'planned shrinkage,' which starved black/ghetto areas of funding, services & public & private investment
d. The results of the above, including the abandonment & arson of the south bronx
e. The 1980s crack epidemic, which affected the same areas
f. The public health crisis (AIDS, TB, etc) which affected the same areas

http://books.google.com/books/about/A_Plague_On_Your_Houses.html?id=WqxzT1nM12wC



IMO the reason this lead study is getting hyped is because it 'disappears' the effect of jobs, income & public policy on crime & other social outcomes by attributing urban ills mainly to a environmental toxin.

And that is certainly why some elements in the right-wing press like it:

For here’s the problem. We just had a century of people haranguing us that crime is a product of poverty. And a good 50 years of similar being shouted at that it’s about inequality too. Yet here is this new thesis. That actually crime is a result of the stupidity brought on by environmental poisoning. I’m willing to believe the new thesis: but are those who have been screaming about poverty and inequality willing to do the same?

If lead has been the cause of all that crime then it wasn’t poverty or inequality that caused all that crime, was it?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/01/08/the-problem-for-the-left-if-tetraethyl-lead-really-does-cause-crime/








Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:22 AM

88. Hmmm...

Good point. However, 20 years prior to 1937 was 1917, so I'm wondering if WW1 had something to do with it. Although I can't think of anything.


The homicide rate during the pre-WW2 era was probably greatly affected by Prohibition; gang warfare soared. It was also the era of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl. Poverty, starvation, etc. In the late 1930's unemployment was down, the Dust Bow was over, and alcohol was legal again. That might be it.


After WW2, cars became common, large, and gas-guzzling. People moved to the suburbs, they had a whole lot of kids, and they were driving a lot as they moved around the suburbs and to and from the cities. This would explain the right peak.

"Freakonomics" postulates that the legalization of abortions in the 1970's also reduced the number of children being born into situations where they were more likely to become violent criminals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to krispos42 (Reply #88)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:32 AM

89. 'Freakanomics" is right-wing garbage, Steve Levitt is a right-wing hack, and this lead theory

 

of violence has the same smell about it.

Levitt is a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago School neoliberal who believes in the sanctity of “the market” and a small government whose function is restricted mostly to protecting property rights. He has used “objective” economic research and mainstream credibility as cover, while attacking teachers’ unions, advocating for the privatization of prison labor, spreading crude climate denialism and promoting rank “free market” ideology that sees human labor as a resource to be extracted for maximum profit. Levitt has also developed a nasty habit of misrepresenting the research of other scientists in order to reach predefined ideological conclusions, and has failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest.

But perhaps the most disturbing thing about Levitt is his enduring interest in researching and “proving” the effectiveness of authoritarian and, some would say, borderline eugenicist policies. Aside from doing studies on the positive effects that incarceration has on society (we benefit to the tune of $15,000 per inmate per year if inmates are packed into overcrowded conditions), he published a paper that argued that an increase in abortion rates among black women in the 1970s was the main reason for a drop in crime in the 1990s. The methodology and data of his research were discredited by other economists, but Levitt stuck to his original conclusion linking race and crime: fewer African-American children correlates to less crime. Levitt’s explanation wasn’t just wrong, it was extremely sinister, reinforcing a racist stereotype of the worst kind with a seemingly modern “scientific” explanation.

http://exiledonline.com/s-h-a-m-e-profile-freakonomics-author-steven-levitt-is-an-anti-labor-pro-prison-milton-friedman-extremist/


While a PhD student at MIT, Levitt published a counter-intuitive masterpiece whitewashing corruption in politics by "proving" that corporate campaign donations do not influence election outcomes. Levitt argued that “campaign money has about one-tenth the impact as was commonly accepted,” according to a 2003 New York Times Magazine profile—a stance that helped land him a tenured job at the University of Chicago.

At the University of Chicago, Levitt's mentor was Gary Becker, another of the “Chicago Boys” who supported Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Gary Becker developed the theory of “human capital” which treats human labor as just another resource to extract profit from. Levitt's mentor also proposed the creation of a deregulated human-organ commodities exchange, arguing that it would actually help the poor. Levitt said of Becker, "More than any other economist, he has been my inspiration and role model."

In 1999, Levitt co-authored a paper arguing that an increase in abortion rates for black women in the 1970s was the reason for falling crime rates two decades later. "Basically, we had aborted the generation of criminals who would have been active in the 1990s," he told Esquire magazine. His research led to accusations of racial eugenics, according to the New York Times. The study has been debunked and exposed in numerous academic studies over the years—one study by Federal Reserve economists proved Levitt used badly flawed data, forcing Levitt to apologize for the "embarrassing" errors. Nevertheless, Levitt stuck to his original conclusion linking race and crime: fewer African-American children correlates to a drop in crime.

In 1995, Levitt published a paper which "proved" that packing prisoners into increasingly-overcrowded prison cells translates into a net $15,000 positive effect on society per overcrowded cell inmate.


http://shameproject.com/profile/steven-d-levitt/

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #89)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:43 AM

90. The book didn't mention race as a factor, as far as I can recall.

And of course the free market, like fire, burns and destroys if left uncontrolled.

And I'm not in a position to effectively condemn him.

I don't know what abortion rates are among the different races, nor how they changed over time. I figured that, since an awful lot of violent crime comes from poverty-stricken areas of cities, it probably had something to do with income levels and the kind of education and job opportunity associated with it, and of course THAT leads indirectly to race.

But if it is true that if legal abortions mean that more black women per capita get abortions than white women, isn't this just something we have to live with?

There are a couple of threads running around GD about women aborting fetuses because of the gender, and the impact this may have on society, and is this a "good" thing.

But what is the alternative?


If we accept the premise that people in difficult economic and living conditions are more likely to limit the size of their families, then we have to accept the premise that the rate among non-whites will be higher than among whites, yes?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to krispos42 (Reply #90)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:10 PM

99. The authors absolutely mention it.

 

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:FX7fM0XdTiEJ:pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/DonohueLevittTheImpactOfLegalized2001.pdf+steven+levitt+black+abortion+crime&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShLhl00fglz80s92d1oWn37KgSAZ_JxjkidIwDmaok2CoTnN5AwukNXDeMs4Eo6ocU0akG2iK6lcnfeMGDb7xdvpHDPJzww3HhCYtITq_9X3S578zwGyt9KISOer3Iu7ftrU8cR&sig=AHIEtbRFjuhm6HGr-DSfq83MMzNNavXYcw

In November 2005, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston economist Christopher Foote and his research assistant Christopher Goetz, published a working paper, in which they argued that the results in Donohue and Levitt's abortion and crime paper were due to statistical errors made by the authors: the omission of state-year interactions and the use of the total number of arrests instead of the arrest rate in explaining changes in the murder rate.

When the corrections were made, Foote and Goetz argued that abortion actually increased violent crime instead of decreasing it and did not affect property crime. They even concluded that the majority of women who had abortions in the 1970s were middle class whites rather than low income minorities as Levitt stated; this was, they stated, because white middle class women had the financial means for an abortion.

The Economist remarked on the news of the errors that "for someone of Mr Levitt's iconoclasm and ingenuity, technical ineptitude is a much graver charge than moral turpitude. To be politically incorrect is one thing; to be simply incorrect quite another." In January 2006, Donohue and Levitt published a response, in which they admitted the errors in their original paper but also pointed out Foote and Goetz's correction was flawed due to heavy attenuation bias. The authors argued that, after making necessary changes to fix the original errors, the corrected link between abortion and crime was now weaker but still statistically significant, contrary to Foote and Goetz's claims.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Levitt#The_Impact_of_Legalized_Abortion_on_Crime

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #99)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 07:25 PM

106. I don't doubt it was in the paper they wrote

I'm saying that, when it was edited or whatever for "Freakonomics", it wasn't racial.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to krispos42 (Reply #106)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:36 PM

107. it was in the book too; not directly, but the whole argument turns on differential abortion rates

 

for the segments of the population more likely to be criminal (poor/black).

you may not have noticed it because you weren't looking for it specifically, but it's the crux of the claim.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:27 PM

102. Gas isn't/wasn't the only delivery mechanism, though--lead paint was an issue too.

Exhaust fumes might be an issue in dense urban areas, but less so in the countryside. In homes, the lead paint is fine until it starts flaking and chipping, and the little kids put it in their mouths. A window or door painted right around WW2 might not cause trouble until the mid-sixties or later, even.

The water-based latex paints finally hit the market and people liked them because they were easier to put on and clean up than the oil and lead based paints. Then they outlawed the lead paint, and after that some states started demanding that lead paint be stripped from older homes. The Feds got in on it as well:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/enforcement/disclosure

Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as Title X, to protect families from exposure to lead from paint, dust, and soil. Section 1018 of this law directed HUD and EPA to require the disclosure of known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before the sale or lease of most housing built before 1978.


Those older homes also had generous amounts of lead solder on the plumbing pipes, and that became a problem, too, in some cases.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #102)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:51 PM

110. No, it wasn't, but none of the other sources you mention disappeared in the teens and 20s, which

 

would be the time frame to account for the decrease in murder circa 1937-1965.

And lead pipe exposure, unlike exhaust exposure, would be about the same in the country & city.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #110)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:56 AM

115. Well, in the teens, a lot of potential criminals went off to war.

A lot of them didn't come home!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #115)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:21 AM

116. not really. us ww1 deaths were .13% of its population.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #116)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:37 AM

117. Well, they didn't all have to die--they could come home wounded, or with PTSD, or healthy--

and be so damn glad to be home that they were disinclined to resort to thievery and mayhem! They were gone, the ones that went, for a couple of years, in any event.
War does have a way of maturing some folks...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #117)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:50 AM

119. same could be said of vietnam vets, but it didn't happen. this is all ad hoc rationalizing because

 

people like the lead hypothesis.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #119)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:38 AM

121. I'll admit I like the lead hypothesis--it seems very logical to me! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #121)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:18 AM

123. Not so much...for example, it's pretty well-accepted that lead exposure = decreased IQ.

 

Was there a decrease in children's IQ in large cities over the same period?

Was there a significant jump in IQ scores once lead was phased out (above baseline increases, that is, as IQ scores have been rising everywhere in the world since they were first used...)

There's a pretty obvious explanation for increased rates of violent crimes in major cities circa 1970-1990 & it's deindustrialization, ghettoization, drugs & drug war:





Colombia, murder rate


Which explains more about why the increased violence was primarily a phenomenon of the black urban community rather than cities as a whole than lead does.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:53 AM

8. There has been a drop in violent crime in almost every big city.

Some of it comes from depopulating but a lot comes from the absence of Lead in the environment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:09 AM

11. why would lead just affect violent crime rates? rather than crime generally, i mean.

 

.


Lead began being used in cars around 1925 and was banned in 1980.

crime rates today are still higher than they were in 1960 (after 35 years of leaded gas).

and we have 2 million people in prison, & imprison people at a much higher rate than we did in 1960.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:25 AM

41. Because it's specifically violent crime that's linked to lead poisoning?

Because of the observed effects of lead on impulse control and aggression due to prefrontal-lobe brain damage? Again if you'd actually bothered to read any of the linked articles on this you'd have some idea what you're talking about (which you obviously don't).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #41)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:32 AM

46. lol. i read your link. the theoretical construct cited has to do with impulse control, which isn't

 

specific to violent crime.

you're a rude person, & what's more, you're rude without any particular merit to compensate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #46)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:04 AM

53. Impulse control, aggression, and low IQ...

not just "impulse control", and all of those show strong correlations with violent crime (so evidently you didn't read too closely).

See also here: http://www.precaution.org/lib/covanta_41.pdf

And here: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0050101

And here: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0050115

And here: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13097.pdf?new_window=1


There is quite a lot of research on this, all of which presents a strong case for the correlation between reduction of lead in the atmosphere and declines in rates of violent crime worldwide. A reduction that's been observed with lead abatement everywhere in the world, not just in the USA (including countries that don't imprison people at the rate of the USA). Which kind of makes your argument for increased incarceration as a determinant of violent crime rates seem foolish, frankly. (Especially so when one considers that a majority of prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offences.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #53)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:05 AM

54. none of which are specific to aggravated assault or violence. but speaking of drugs:

 

The American crack epidemic refers to the surge of crack cocaine use in major cities across the United States between 1984 and 1990...The crack epidemic is correlated with a sharp increase in crime on an unprecedented scale, especially violent crime. Research by two prominent economists from the University of Chicago, Steven Levitt (co-author of Freakonomics and winner of the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal) and Kevin Murphy (winner of the 1997 John Bates Clark Medal) suggest that crack was the most prominent factor contributing to the rise and fall of social ills in the African American and Latino communities between 1980 and 2000.

Between 1984 and 1994, the homicide rate for black males aged 14 to 17 more than doubled, and the homicide rate for black males aged 18 to 24 increased nearly as much. During this period, the black community also experienced an increase in fetal death rates, low birth-weight babies, weapons arrests, and the number of children in foster care. In 1996, approximately 60% of inmates incarcerated in the US were sentenced on drug charges. The United States remains the largest overall consumer of narcotics in the world today.

70% of the impact of crack was felt in large cities, and the rates per capita were 10 times higher in larger cities than in the rest of the nation.


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

The increase in violence circa mid-1980s through 90s was associated with crack & was mostly confined to the inner cities. Take away that & there goes your correlation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #54)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:13 AM

63. Again...

this is observed worldwide. Citing US-specific data that don't bear any relevance whatever to the concurrently observed reduction in violent crime levels in the rest of the world doesn't refute the argument.

And aggression and impulse control, and low IQ? And associated frontal lobe issues? Are linked to violent criminality in many studies, see:

http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/71/6/720.short
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/50/4/546/
http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/11723190/reload=0;jsessionid=iYDnGbwp2HqnGshYcmra.12

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #63)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:26 PM

70. ...your first link...

 

The studies surveyed in this review indicate that clinically significant frontal lobe dysfunction is associated with aggressive dyscontrol... No study, however, shows that disorders of prefrontal cortex predict violent crime.

Methodological problems in this literature include a lack of prospective data, small subject numbers and lack of adequate controls for known violence risk factors. Study samples often draw from groups (prisoners, attorney referrals, or those with severe neurological or psychiatric illness) that do not mirror the general population or even the larger criminal population. Reports describing persons charged with violent crimes tend to cite gross measures of brain function with low specificity and questionable clinical significance, while failing sufficiently to relate the clinical data to the specific aggressive behaviours in question.

Although the bulk of research on violent and criminal behaviour points to multiple, probably interacting, causal factors, few studies attributing violent crime to frontal lobe dysfunction adequately address concurrent psychosocial variables such as emotional stress, drug and alcohol misuse, physical and sexual abuse, family breakdown, and poverty.

Case descriptions suggest that focal orbitofrontal injury specifically impairs capacities for social judgment, risk avoidance, and empathy that inhibit inappropriate or reflexive aggression. The actual frequency of violent behaviour, however, seems relatively low.

http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/71/6/720.full

that's a review of the relevant literature up to 2001.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #54)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:25 PM

68. That was a drug war, something generally removed when it comes to overall murder rates

Drugs wars and other inner crime wars lead to increase number of murders and violent acts, but then the number subsides as one side or another wins the war. It is like any war, the number of people killed drop drastically in 1946 compared to 1944, the reason had nothing to do with any factor other then the end of WWII.

What the author of this report is trying to show, that except for anomalies like a drug war (or any war), the rates of violent crimes goes up and down about 20 years after an increase or decrease in the exposure to lead.

Another set of factors, is the history of violence in the Rural South, overall an overall more violent section of the US then the rest of the US (Tied in with who settled the South, its history of slavery AND its treatment of African Americans between 1865 and 1964). It is just in the Culture of the Rural South to be violent (through this has decreased over the last 50 years as Northern norms came to dominate even in the Rural South). African Americans came from the Rural South and brought with them the Rural South's high rate of violence. With the end of African American movement to urban centers in the 1950s, Violence tied in with African Americans started to go down in the 1970s as more and more African Americans, now living in Urban Areas, internalized northern low rates of violence. This rate has been greater then would be expected for a group that was use to one level of violence when it embraces another set of rules as to violence. This greater increase in the 1960s and greater decrease then what would have been expected may be tied in with lead, for the house that retain the most lead pipes and lead paint were the houses such poor ex rural African Americans could afford in the 1920s, when the move North Started till this very day. At the same time, more and more of the lead pipe and lead paint was being removed from such housing.

Furthermore, the author NEVER claim lead was the sole cause of Violent crime, but that once he controlled for all other factors (including the higher level of violence in the Rural South and its transfer up north by the arrival of African Americans and rural white Southerns, starting in the 1920s) lead drops out as a strong factor in the overall increase and decrease in crime rates.

No, you have to exclude drug wars and areas and groups of traditional high rates of violence, which the author apparently did (while also looking into those areas and groups and trace a similar increase in violence and decrease in violence depending on the exposure to lead). Those anomalies have to be excluded to get valid data, but such exclusions does not make the study invalid. Also citing those anomalies do not show the study is invalid and the point the study shows is invalid. No study is perfect, for most people are affected by more then one thing. In the case of Murder, the tradition of violence in their culture and if any war is going on are factors that has to be controlled for. That appears to be the case with this study and your point are to the anomalies that such studies have to exclude to produce anything useful. Such anomalies, if explained by factors other then what is being studies, have to be excluded to make the study valid. The people who did this study seems to have excluded anything that can be explained by other factors, which left lead as the cause for the overall increase in violence NOT related to other factors.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #68)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:30 PM

71. and did the authors of such studies control for effects of 'drug war'? & how is it possible to

 

control for it without knowing how much increased violence is due to it -- which they don't, they can only estimate by removing the effect of other known factors.

but since now their hypothesis is that lead is the culprit, to an unknown degree -- that's two unknowns. so how did they control?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to happyslug (Reply #77)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:20 PM

78. wait, you seem to know all the details, why can't you just explain it?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:25 AM

65. Because report of violent crime are more reliable then other crimes

When surveys of the general population are made, the reports of non-violent crime are MUCH higher then what is reported to the FBI via the local police. Violent crimes are reported more often to the Police AND recorded by the Police (a lot of Police Departments have institutional resistance to taking reports of non-violent crime, investigating such crimes do NOT help their budgets or their prestige thus a low priority). On top of the low police priority, a lot of people just find it is a waste of time to report such non-violent crime to the police, so they just do not do it.

Violent Crimes, especially murder, have much higher reporting rates to the Police (and much higher rates of being handled by the Police). Thus the problem with your statistics may be a reporting error, it is dependent on people reporting a crime AND the police recording the crime. The rates of both are much higher for Violent Crime (and most accurate for Murder) then for non-violent crimes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to happyslug (Reply #65)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:42 PM

73. that's a reason we might pay more attention to violent crime stats rather than other crime stats,

 

but it's not a reason that lead would cause increased violent crime as opposed to other types of crime. such as theft or vandalism.

yes, murder is probably the most accurately reported violent crime; thus i wonder why the authors choose to use aggravated assault as their marker rather than murder.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:21 AM

56. around here we used to have many murders, shootings by the foreign gang bangers..then Obama was

elected. They started the new policy that any violent arrested not a citizen was not released from jail on bail, and was deported from prison.

The violent crime rate went way down.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:13 AM

12. Except the correlation between eliminating leaded gasoline and declining violent crime...

holds true for every country that there are data for. Not just the USA. And the mechanism would be brain damage to the prefrontal cortex that results in increased aggression, reduced impulse control, and poor executive function (but you'd know this if you'd read the article). And the findings of blood concentrations of lead of as much as 50 times higher in violent offenders vs non-criminals are also rather indicative of something going on. The data, such as they are, seem to support the hypothesis.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:31 AM

15. I don't believe that just because someone says so in a news report. I can see it doesn't

 

even hold true in the US, since leaded gas was introduced about 1925, and murder went down circa 1937 through the 60s.



also, is there something about lead that affects men and women differently? lead was banned in 1986. male violent crime started dropping in 1982, and continued downward, but female crime, flat through the 70s, spiked about 91 before dropping.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:35 AM

17. Except someone didn't just say so in a news report.

It says so on peer-reviewed research published in journals, supported by data. Which is something rather different.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:38 AM

19. but i haven't read those papers, and no one has posted them on DU. they posted news reports.

 

and as i know from personal experience, there is often a huge difference between what the research papers say & what the popular press tells us they say.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:43 AM

21. Except this says precisely what it's claimed to.

"I revel in my ignorance" isn't really contributing anything to the discussion.

Try here: http://tinyurl.com/9wwzaew

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:07 AM

26. as you are the sort of person who thinks name-calling is an acceptable discussion tactic, you

 

are the sort of person who doesn't merit a civilized response.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:09 AM

27. No, I haven't called you any names.

However, you've evidently neither read the article nor as you admit yourself any of the research. Which kind of indicates that you are in fact ignorant of the issue (and therefore not in much position to offer any kind of opinion on the merits of the correlation presented).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:44 AM

22. I posted a Wikepedia link that links to that research.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:59 AM

24. First yes, if you read the article you would know

that lead poisoning affects MALES worse than females.

If you really want to know the truth. You can easily find the research papers. Start here at the Mother Jones article which sites the research. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

By the way, incarceration rates do NOT always follow violent crime rates. They are 2 different measures (think the drug war in the US and political dissent in China).

"Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule."



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to fasttense (Reply #24)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:20 AM

33. i didn't say incarceration rates always follow violent crimes rates. i posted the stats on incar-

 

ceration rates, which also correlate which decreased rates of violent crime.

why would lead poisoning affect males worse than females, particularly lead poisoning related to levels of lead in the air?

boys and girls breathe the same air. as do white people and black people.







or japanese (phased out leaded gas in 1970)



or mexico (phased out leaded gas 1998 but still has some)



etc.

there are a lot of problematic aspects.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:14 AM

55. Thank God for the uk/eu news and uk medical reports or Americans would never know what harms them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sunlei (Reply #55)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:22 AM

57. except most of the research was done in the us & reported in the us as well.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #57)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:28 AM

58. not these days, the corporations have much stronger control and our American news has declined.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sunlei (Reply #58)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:12 PM

100. yeah, that's why outlets like "forbes" are discussing this research (done in the us), because of

 

corporate control.

Corporate america *likes* this kind of research, which attributes social ills to specific environmental toxins (now largely removed), rather than things like income distribution, unemployment, workplace insecurity/pressures, status pressures, poverty & its ramifications, etc.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:16 AM

31. You mean biochemically?

Neuro was years ago, but lead is an agonist for the stuff that's thick in the prefrontal and sparse elsewhere (now you see why I did EE rather than biomed).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:18 AM

13. Where are the people in our country getting lead contamination from?

EDIT: I did not see the graph of how our violent crimes are going down. But I would still like to know if there are any sources of lead in the US now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:33 AM

16. Soil, paint and coal burning power plants come to mind

There's still a lot of lead in topsoil around the country where it settled over the decades lead was in gasoline, whenever the soil is stirred up somehow more lead comes back into the atmosphere.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fumesucker (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:35 AM

67. Plus, if you read the MJ article, old windows being lowered and raised

-- part of the stimulus was to retrofit older homes with new windows and weather sealing. Wonder if this study was part of that decision? The study has been going on since the 1980s. If you live in an older, urban area, the levels are still high in the soil due to the saturation of auto's in those areas.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:36 AM

18. the main way used to be leaded paint & gas. since both were banned, average blood levels of lead

 

have declined about 75%.

i think some jet fuels still have lead. other ways are from soil, mining tailings.

the point is there's less exposure these days.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:40 AM

20. Check the CDC, which keeps stats on lead across 50 states. Their data do correlate high lead

with crime rates across states, particularly in urban areas where old construction affects children's neural development.
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/data/state.htm

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ancianita (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:21 AM

36. can you link to one of those pages where these correlations are shown or described?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #36)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:14 AM

81. My mistatement. I meant that their lead measures data are correlated by others with crime. I'm

pretty sure that the CDC doesn't do any such correlations. You might check the sources listed in the Mother Jones article on the studies. Nevin and Reyes' original reports are online.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

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

http://www.asymptosis.com/government-gets-the-lead-out-crime-plummets.html

e: might as well throw this in...http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-poisoning-house-pipes-soil-paint

Wikipedia lists base toxicity levels.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ancianita (Reply #81)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:26 PM

101. and here's some more analysis from a public health researcher:

 

Drum correctly notes that simply looking at the correlation shown in the graph to the right is insufficient to draw any conclusions regarding causality. The investigator, Rick Nevin, was simply looking at associations, and saw that the curves were heavily correlated, as you can quite clearly see. When you look at data involving large populations, such as violent crime rates, and compare with an indirect measure of exposure to some environmental risk factor such as levels of TEL in gasoline during that same time, the best you can say is that your alternative hypothesis of there being an association (null hypothesis always being no association) deserves more investigation.

This type of design is called a cross-sectional study, and it's been documented that values for a population do not always match those of individuals when looking at cross-sectional data. This is the ecological fallacy, and it's a serious limitation in these types of studies. Finding a causal link in a complex behavior like violent crime, as opposed to something like a specific disease, with an environmental risk factor is exceptionally difficult, and the burden of proof is very high.

We need several additional tests of our hypothesis using different study designs to really turn this into a viable theory...we really need a new type of study, specifically, a study measuring many individuals' exposure to lead, and to follow them over a long period of time to find out what happened to them. This type of design is called a prospective cohort study. Props again to Drum for directly addressing all of this.

The article continues by discussing a cohort study done by researchers at the University of Cincinnati where 376 children were recruited at birth between 1979 and 1984 to test lead levels in their blood over time and to measure their risk of being arrested in general, and also specifically for violent crime...The researchers found that for each increase of 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, there was a higher risk for being arrested for a violent crime, but a further look at the numbers shows a more mixed picture than they let on.

In prenatal blood lead, this effect was not significant. If these infants were to have no additional risk over the median exposure level among all prenatal infants, the ratio would be 1.0. They found that for their cohort, the risk ratio was 1.34. However, the sample size was small enough where the confidence interval for this rate was as low as 0.88 (paradoxically indicating that additional 5 µg/dl during this period of development would actually be protective), and as high as 2.03. This is not very helpful data for the hypothesis...

For 6-year-olds, it's a much more significant 1.48 (95% CI 1.15-1.89). It seems unusual to me that lead would have such a more profound effect the older the child gets, but I need to look into it further. For a quick review of the concept of CI, see my previous post on it. It really matters...

http://hisscienceistootight.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-link-between-leaded-gasoline-and.html

In other words, the one cohort study discussed in the article isn't actually very significant.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #101)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 06:38 PM

104. Thanks. There's data from national to local levels, and it's all helping to make this case.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ancianita (Reply #104)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:49 PM

109. you apparently didn't read what i posted. It says two things: most of the data just shows

 

correlation, which doesn't prove any case at all.

There are few prospective cohort studies, and the ones that exist show little to nothing.

In addition:

1) The case for lead exposure having any predictable/replicable relation to violence at the level of the individual is extremely weak. For example, printers' ink was lead-based into the 60s yet there seems to have been no crimewave among newspaper or publishing print workers.

2) The hypothesized correlation of lead exposure = violence seems to only apply to black males between age 15-25 living in urban areas -- a strange selectiveness for a ubiquitous environmental toxin.

3) There are too many counter-examples, such as Japan, where rates of violence steadily decreased post-war while automobile use steadily increased 1945-1970 (Japan was the first country to ban leaded gas in 1970), but the predicted violence circa 1965-1990 did not happen; it was the opposite.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:15 AM

30. decades of lead shot,old pipes,soils,dust,silt beds everywhere water runs off.

lead is persistent in the environment similar to mercury and DDT? it never goes away or may take centuries to degrade.

Lead is still used today lead has been a recent issue in products made in china. In toys intended for children, tee shirt logos, lipstick, pet toys, logos on the outside of cups, lots of products. Ever cuddle your child on your tee shirt logo?

I don't think the current decline in violent crime has much if anything to do with lead exposure.

Lead does have a bad effect on child development, that is a given. And the combo of persistent junk built up in our environment can't be good for anything. For example the DDT less but still there has caused a slight permanent thinning of egg shells.

more than you wanted to read

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:25 AM

42. China, in part.

 

E.g.,
"China manufactured every one of the 24 kinds of toys recalled for safety reasons in the United States so far this year, including the enormously popular Thomas & Friends wooden train sets, a record that is causing alarm among consumer advocates, parents and regulators."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/business/worldbusiness/19toys.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:28 AM

44. We live in a house that is over 100 years old.

Lead paint is everywhere. We abated all over the house and the kids still had levels. Finally found it in the cabinets where we keep all our dishes for serving meals. Removed cabinets and lead levels went down.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:29 AM

84. Firing ranges.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to morningfog (Reply #84)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:00 AM

93. Are bullets made out of lead?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:54 AM

23. Most recent Mother Jones: America's Real Criminal Element: Lead


Read the whole article
--------------------------------------------------

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead
New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing.

—By Kevin Drum
| January/February 2013 Issue
533

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline


(snip)

Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.

A molecule? That sounds crazy. What molecule could be responsible for a steep and sudden decline in violent crime?

Well, here's one possibility: Pb(CH2CH3)4.


In 1994, Rick Nevin was a consultant working for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on the costs and benefits of removing lead paint from old houses. This has been a topic of intense study because of the growing body of research linking lead exposure in small children with a whole raft of complications later in life, including lower IQ, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities.

But as Nevin was working on that assignment, his client suggested they might be missing something. A recent study had suggested a link between childhood lead exposure and juvenile delinquency later on. Maybe reducing lead exposure had an effect on violent crime too?

That tip took Nevin in a different direction. The biggest source of lead in the postwar era, it turns out, wasn't paint. It was leaded gasoline. And if you chart the rise and fall of atmospheric lead caused by the rise and fall of leaded gasoline consumption, you get a pretty simple upside-down U: Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early '40s through the early '70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted.

(snip) more
-------------------------------------------------------------
Read the whole article.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fuddnik (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:00 AM

25. +1

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fuddnik (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:24 AM

40. perhaps the answer today is the medical treatment with chelators as a routine health care.

What is troubling is the rise in child development problems, cancers,neurological progressive diseases and elder dementias.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sunlei (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:31 AM

45. We asked about chelation treatment for our kids when they had levels

and were told no way by our doctor. So even getting the treatment with a kid with a proven blood lead level is not easy. In addition to abatement, we had to do what we called "diet chelation" (iron, vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc, Magnesium, and Calcium in addition to protein to prevent lead-induced anemia).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AllyCat (Reply #45)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:41 AM

50. That experience must have been very upsetting for you parents!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:37 AM

49. I wonder if lead could also be responsible (partly)

for the "dumbing down" and inability to understand how America has become fascist?
I don't understand how, with the evidence readily available, we allow the continued take-over of America by corporations.
Has lead helped to lower our collective IQ to the point that the majority of us cannot comprehend the facts that we are exposed to daily (through observation) and when informed of these facts, many deny or refuse to act. When I explain (using graphics or examples) to average or impoverished people about how we are slaves to the elite many do not comprehend or refuse to believe their lying eyes.
Most can see the differences between people with health care, living wage jobs, etc..and themselves. Yet they accept it as inevitable.
IDK, I just wish people (especially in America) would realize and act upon the inequalities.
Perhaps they are too busy trying to survive or being entertained...
America has many freedoms not available in third world countries, but really sucks compared to most first world countries. Maybe lead is a contributing factor to the (at least) desensitization of the plight of most Americans. I just wish that people would open their eyes and act to ensure that America becomes a "people first' nation, instead we are becoming an increasingly fascist nation and the elite are protected by apathy or stupidity.
I realize that we have much more than citizens of third world countries, much is taken for granted here. Sadly, the injustices are increasing and most accept it as "life." sorry for the rant...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:42 AM

60. Weird bit of trivia here

The list of history's most damaging humans typically includes Stalin, Htler and Pot amongst tyrants, or the Gacys, Chikatilos and Shipmans among murderers. It may occasionally veer into industrialists like Thyssen or Dow or even for eco-zealots Monsanto.

It rarely gets to tinkering engineers like Thomas Midgley. It should.

Finding an additive that lessened knocking in early car engines, he went through all possible elements to find the best retardant. He came up with lead. Predictably enough he got sick himself after long exposure and after seeing others take ill, mostly co-workers (didn't seem to catch on to the public exposure risks though) he started feeling guilty about it and looking perhaps for a more benign invention. He seemed to find it in replacing the poisonous and flammable refrigerants of the day with something much less volatile....CFCs. Yep the same person is directly albeit inadvertently responsible for mass environmental lead exposure AND ozone layer depletion.

For those who believe in karma, there is a pointed conclusion. Stricken with polio late in life, he invented a system of harnesses and pulleys so he could get himself out of bed. He got tangled up in the ropes one morning and strangled himself to death - killed, not unlike many others, accidentally by one of his inventions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:44 AM

61. The threat of lead was sown long ago.

 

DDT, PCB's, dioxins, lead, mercury. Rachel Carleson's Silent Spring was the first environmental book I read. What monster's will next come out of the swamp to haunt us? I wonder what Carleson would write about Monsanto and GM agriculture?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:20 AM

64. Mercury is very close to lead on the periodic table

 

n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to No Compromise (Reply #64)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:56 PM

80. The real problem is Lead is under Carbon in the table

http://www.webelements.com/

It has been 40 years since I took Chem II and we went into the Periodic Table, but the columns indicate the number of electrons in the outer wing of that element. Electrons are in these "wings" (I forget the exact name and to lazy to look it up) and as one wing fill up the next wing starts up. if the last wing is full, the element is a "Noble Gas" i.e. something that reacts with nothing. Helium is the first on the list. Neon is the second, Argon is the third, Krypton is the fourth. Xenon is the Firth, Radon is the sixth. These are the "Noble Gases" and they do NOT form compounds with any other element.

The other elements need to fill their outer wing of electrons, and to fill these wings the other elements form compounds with each other. Oxygen needs two more electrons to fill its outer wing, Hydrogen need just one, thus its takes two Hydrogen Atoms to One Oxygen Atom to fill all three atoms need for electrons and in combining forms water.

The first wing is full at 2 electrons.
The second wing is full at 8 electrons
The third wing is full at 10 electrons
The Fourth wing is full at 18 electrons
The Fifth Wing is full at 18 electrons
the Sixth Wing is full at 34 electrons

In Carbon's Column, Column 14 of the table, you have elements whose last wing of electrons need the same number of electrons to be "Full". i.e four electrons. Thus these elements can replace each other in any compound. This is the problem with lead, it replaced carbon in the Human body, but being filled in its fifth wing instead of its second wing, it is harder to break from whatever it is in compound with and thus interferes with the use of carbon in the body. Since Carbon is an important part of the body, this interference cause problems.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to No Compromise (Reply #64)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:52 AM

91. Too bad you are already tomb-stoned. Now you'll never know what's silly about that statement.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:29 AM

85. Close the firing ranges!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to morningfog (Reply #85)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:07 AM

92. Shut down the bullet manufacturers!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:53 AM

95. I thought that was common knowledge

"Another hypothesis suggests reduced lead exposure as the cause; Scholar Mark A.R. Kleiman writes: "Given the decrease in lead exposure among children since the 1980s and the estimated effects of lead on crime, reduced lead exposure could easily explain a very large proportion—certainly more than half—of the crime decrease of the 1994-2004 period. A careful statistical study relating local changes in lead exposure to local crime rates estimates the fraction of the crime decline due to lead reduction as greater than 90 percent. "

"Lead poisoning is a big issue around my area, metro-detroit. "More than half of the students tested in Detroit Public Schools have a history of lead poisoning, which affects brain function for life, according to data compiled by city health and education officials. The data also show, for the first time in Detroit, a link between higher lead levels and poor academic performance. About 60% of DPS students who performed below their grade level on 2008 standardized tests had elevated lead levels." http://www.freep.com/article/20100516/NEWS01/5160413/High-lead-levels-hurt-learning-DPS-kids "

From one of my posts a month ago: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11145659#post56

It's just another way we get to blame race for crime. People with money move into an area, extract resources from it, pollute it, those with more resources (middle and upper class and therefore more likely to be white) can afford to leave. Minorities are more likely to be in poverty and unable to afford flight. They live in higher concentrations in polluted areas, suffer the resulting problems, which include higher medical bills and other special needs, which plunges them further into poverty and into higher crime communities.

(Then the Ayn Rand crowd sits around wondering why they don't just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and suggests they must LIKE living in poverty.)

Just another white privilege that most people are unaware of - growing up poor in an area that isn't contaminated from smelting plants is better than growing up equally poor in an area with that contamination.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:39 AM

118. It may be "trace" quantities of lead that are responsible

I'll explain this in a second...but they should look at the violent crime stats in areas that had a lot of cars, lead pipes and so on (think NYC, Chicago, Detroit and other major cities), then compare them to areas that had far fewer cars (rural areas in the Midwest farm belt like Kansas and Minnesota would work) and to areas that had lead-production facilities.

For about a hundred years, the Bunker Hill Mining Corporation ran the biggest lead smelter in the United States - when they built it, it was the world's largest smelter - in Kellogg, Idaho. In the 1930s and 1940s, when the smokestacks were only about 100 feet high and didn't have scrubbers on them, there was an unbelievable amount of lead in the environment of the Silver Valley. An example: there is a little stream maybe twenty feet wide running through Kellogg. In the 1920s to the mid-1970s that stream was GRAY from all the lead in it. The locals called it Lead Creek. It was even on the maps: Lead Creek. Absolutely no one, including the town governments, knew Lead Creek was actually the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. You couldn't have grass up there. My Granny Pucci had the only lawn in Kellogg. It was (this is no exaggeration, folks) three feet square, and she cut it on her hands and knees - kneeling outside the grassy area because putting pressure on the lawn would kill it - with a pair of kitchen shears. You couldn't have a pet up there because if it got outside and drank from a mud puddle it would be dead by morning. There wasn't a lot of violent crime in the Silver Valley; there is now that the lead levels are lower, but high levels of lead will mellow your ass out. They will also make you lethargic and cut down on the intellect. My school played sports against three schools in the Silver Valley (specifically, Kellogg, Wallace and Mullan) and...if you watch Deliverance you can get a fair idea of how a lot of the people up there were.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread