Real Criminal Element: Lead

The US had a noticeable decrease in crime during the 1990s. City mayors took credit, and economists also pointed to correlations with the aging population, reproductive rights, reduced illicit drug use and an improving economy. But these correlations were imperfect. Another possibility is that lead in gasoline contributes to low intelligence, hyperactivity, juvenile delinquency and violence, a theory first suggested in the 1990s by economist Rick Nevin, as consultant for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The gasoline additive tetraethyl lead was invented by General Motors in the 1920s to reduce automobile engine noises, and Nevin has since reported that “lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America.” His initial report was ignored, but his study of data in numerous countries show that the varying schedules in lead-reduction programs correlate neatly lead to reduced crime rates, with a 23-year time lag. – YaleGlobal

Real Criminal Element: Lead

New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs and the ADHD epidemic – fixing the problem is cheaper than doing nothing
Kevin Drum
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Kevin Drum is a political blogger for Mother Jones. Support for this story was provided by a grant from the Puffin Foundation Investigative Journalism Project.
Copyright ©2013 Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress. All Rights Reserved.

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