Jump to content

Studies Linking Lead To Violent Crime


Recommended Posts

I've merely suggested we shouldn't keep dumping money into law enforcement under the assumption that doing so reduces crime.

OK, I hear you there.

 

BTW, I didn't see the full article when I first read what you posted. Your link sent me to the second page and I missed a lot that was on the first page. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Do the researchers have any proposed mechanism as to why it takes 20 years' lead exposure to lead to a higher crime rate? I take it they don't.

 

Because it's the people who are kids when they're exposed to lead that grow up to become criminals, so I assume the mechanism is that lead interferes with developing brains to a much greater extent than adult brains. They did blood test studies that measured childhood lead levels to adult behaviour which showed that there is a correlation bettween lead in your system during development and criminal acts as an adult. The 20 year lag is just the time it takes to grow up and get into really serious trouble.

 

 

OK.

 

The study itself says, "This is the first prospective study to demonstrate an association between developmental exposure to lead and adult criminal behavior." The editor notes,

 

 

One possibility, which the authors were unable to assess in this study, is that lead exposure impairs intelligence, which in turn makes it more likely that a criminal offender will be caught (i.e., arrested). The authors discuss a number of limitations in their study—for example, they probably did not capture all criminal behavior (since most criminal behavior does not lead to arrest).

 

 

However, the article in Mother Jones says, "All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century."

 

(emphasis added.)To my mind, Mother Jones is being misleading.

 

I'm not saying that lead exposure during early childhood couldn't contribute to violent behavior later. It's just that many associations turn out to be coincidences, or cases of something else causing both things. Reading is negatively associated with BMI. Twenty years ago, it was thought that NutraSweet caused brain tumors. (Charles Seife even plotted brain tumors against the national deficit in his book Proofiness. The correlation was impressive.)

 

The childhood lead exposure-violence link may deserve further study. As for lead exposure causing violence, contributing to it, it looks like it is still a hypothesis.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Do the researchers have any proposed mechanism as to why it takes 20 years' lead exposure to lead to a higher crime rate? I take it they don't.

 

Because it's the people who are kids when they're exposed to lead that grow up to become criminals, so I assume the mechanism is that lead interferes with developing brains to a much greater extent than adult brains. They did blood test studies that measured childhood lead levels to adult behaviour which showed that there is a correlation bettween lead in your system during development and criminal acts as an adult. The 20 year lag is just the time it takes to grow up and get into really serious trouble.

 

 

Yeah, the same thing happened when the US was doing open-air nuke testing.  Those most vulnerable to cancer and such were the kids.  Primarily toddlers who received the largest doses via milk from grazing cattle.  My fathers brother died of Leukemia when he was 6.  When I did a stint with an anti-nuke lobby in DC, I saw a fallout study that showed my father's home town was right in middle of the heaviest fallout area.  Wind currents took the fallout from Nevada up north and then across to the NE.  Areas that experienced the heaviest fallout also experienced huge spikes in cancer.  I believe it was an EPA study.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.