Environmental Lead and Violent Crime


Tecumsehsbones
#1
Sociologists are baffled at the continuing drop in violent crime, especially as many models predict that violent crime should increase in bad economic times, like we've been having ever since Obama trashed the economy in 2008.

Here's a possible explanation. Some researchers, oddly enough started by an economist, not a sociologist, criminologist, or public health specialist, have noted that the increase and decrease of environmental lead in the U.S. correlates very closely to the increase and decrease in violent crime, teen pregnancy, intelligence, and even diagnoses of ADHD.

Makes sense to me. Most people know lead makes you stupid and crazy.

The link is from Forbes magazine.

How Lead Caused America's Violent Crime Epidemic - Forbes (external - login to view)
 
mentalfloss
#2
If they are right we should see *very* strong changes in IQ, school achievement, childhood aggressiveness, lack of conscientiousness and other personality defects that mirror the trends in lead exposure, with a suitable time delay. Those trends should be much stronger than their time-lagged correlation of lead with crime.

The peak in violent crime, just before the drop was mostly because of the violent overspill of human rights advocates and baby boomers. That subsided once more liberal democracies started to increasingly adopt more humanist policies. The increases in legitimate incarceration and policing didn't hurt either.

New York was a good example of how a stronger police force helped to bring down crime.
Last edited by mentalfloss; Mar 20th, 2014 at 11:25 AM..
 
petros
+1
#3
The same could be claimed from above ground nuke tests during the same time period.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+1
#4
Wonder how fast the populace will increase their IQ's once the fallacy of AGW is no longer jammed into student's heads.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#5
Wow. Three responses, three hobbyhorse rides. No addressing the issues.
 
petros
#6
The issue of reduced crime?
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#7
Maybe the issue that lead may, or may not have a relationship to criminal activity
 
petros
#8
If lead were the only neurotoxin to be elimated or strctly regulated uring the same timeframe then there could very well be a corellation easily identified.

One could also tie it to the substancial drop in alcohol consumption as well.
 
mentalfloss
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Maybe the issue that lead may, or may not have a relationship to criminal activity

As I stated, the effects of lead exposure would be more acute if it was the primary reason for a decline in violent crime.

There isn't the same proximity to a causal relationship as something like incarceration where you are directly removing criminals which therein reduces the rate of crime.

That isn't to say incarceration is the primary reason either, but there is a much closer relationship between the cause and effect of that particular action.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#10
I don't disagree, but considering that there are potentially thousands of variables in this equation, it is far to erroneous to assume that a direct and causal relationship exists
 
petros
#11
Incarceration only leaves niches open for other to fill. It does nothing to reduce crime.
 
mentalfloss
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

I don't disagree, but considering that there are potentially thousands of variables in this equation, it is far to erroneous to assume that a direct and causal relationship exists

Ehhh you can definitely outline a number of plausible factors each with some degree of influence.

We can analyze statistical figures and test a number of credible narratives to see what makes the most sense. Despite not having any ultimate objective certainty, we always try to grasp the most logical hypotheses and continue to test them or refine them.
 
petros
+1
#13
I' chalk it up to a combination of enviro and social factors.

Singling out lead is a bold statement.
 
Zipperfish
No Party Affiliation
#14
Frickin economists. Correlation is not causation.
 
Nuggler
+1
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

Wow. Three responses, three hobbyhorse rides. No addressing the issues.

Obama trashing the economy is addressing the issue..? troll on.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+2
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by ZipperfishView Post

Frickin economists. Correlation is not causation.

Never said it was. Correlation, however, indicates a possibility of causation.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#17
How much do you want to bet lawyers are circling over lead mines lobbying for some class action action to fuel violence for more action
 
Tonington
+3
#18  Top Rated Post
There's far more than just a correlation here, but the fact that the correlation holds for counties, states/provinces, and at the country level is a good indicator that the correlation is not spurious. There is also well established biology. And lastly, even the lag is appropriate. It's not like they picked some number at random for the lag. The lag is important, because the lag comes from the difference between critical stages of brain development and the time to peak risk for criminal behaviour. That is well supported again, by biology, and by sociology/criminology. The last bit, is that the correlation and variability explained by the relationship isn't just to one indicator. For crime, it's against many different types of crime. Assault, robbery, murder, rape.

Of course it's not certain, but that is a strong case. The correlation suggests association. The biology provides a causal mechanism. The sociology and biology suggest time dependencies. None of that is easily dismissed.

Still I can think of a criticism, it would be nice to see a negative control where lead values haven't followed a similar trend to those geographies that were studied. And for those jurisdictions where the association isn't significant, it would be nice to see how the regressions perform with and without other leading associations in those areas.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

There's far more than just a correlation here, but the fact that the correlation holds for counties, states/provinces, and at the country level is a good indicator that the correlation is not spurious. There is also well established biology. And lastly, even the lag is appropriate. It's not like they picked some number at random for the lag. The lag is important, because the lag comes from the difference between critical stages of brain development and the time to peak risk for criminal behaviour. That is well supported again, by biology, and by sociology/criminology. The last bit, is that the correlation and variability explained by the relationship isn't just to one indicator. For crime, it's against many different types of crime. Assault, robbery, murder, rape.

And the fact that lead is known to make people stupid and crazy.

Quote:

Of course it's not certain, but that is a strong case. The correlation suggests association. The biology provides a causal mechanism. The sociology and biology suggest time dependencies. None of that is easily dismissed.

Still I can think of a criticism, it would be nice to see a negative control where lead values haven't followed a similar trend to those geographies that were studied. And for those jurisdictions where the association isn't significant, it would be nice to see how the regressions perform with and without other leading associations in those areas.

I was thinking the same thing. Let's get a million people, split them into groups of 100,000, and expose each group to a 10% increase in lead, from zero to lethal. I was thinking we could use Canadians.
 
El Barto
+2
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

And the fact that lead is known to make people stupid and crazy.


I was thinking the same thing. Let's get a million people, split them into groups of 100,000, and expose each group to a 10% increase in lead, from zero to lethal. I was thinking we could use Canadians.

LOL why Canadians ? because Americans are already tainted? lololol
 
55Mercury
+1
#21
I dunno but my BS meter is off the map.

too much grasping at straws goin' on
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

LOL why Canadians ? because Americans are already tainted? lololol

Ain't like they're doing anything else. . .
 
Goober
Free Thinker
+1
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

There's far more than just a correlation here, but the fact that the correlation holds for counties, states/provinces, and at the country level is a good indicator that the correlation is not spurious. There is also well established biology. And lastly, even the lag is appropriate. It's not like they picked some number at random for the lag. The lag is important, because the lag comes from the difference between critical stages of brain development and the time to peak risk for criminal behaviour. That is well supported again, by biology, and by sociology/criminology. The last bit, is that the correlation and variability explained by the relationship isn't just to one indicator. For crime, it's against many different types of crime. Assault, robbery, murder, rape.
Of course it's not certain, but that is a strong case. The correlation suggests association. The biology provides a causal mechanism. The sociology and biology suggest time dependencies. None of that is easily dismissed.
Still I can think of a criticism, it would be nice to see a negative control where lead values haven't followed a similar trend to those geographies that were studied. And for those jurisdictions where the association isn't significant, it would be nice to see how the regressions perform with and without other leading associations in those areas.

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post
Sloughing this off with out further research would be idiotic. Chemical, metals ingested have been shown time and again to cause long term and at times irreversible damage to the human body.

Mercury levels have also dropped or have they increased?
many older folks would be familiar with the mercury levels in Minamata Bay, Japan.
Mercury from what i recall was banned from batteries in NA. But not from those imported.

WHO | Mercury and health (external - login to view)
A significant example of mercury exposure affecting public health occurred in Minamata, Japan, between 1932 and 1968, where a factory producing acetic acid discharged waste liquid into Minamata Bay. The discharge included high concentrations of methylmercury. The bay was rich in fish and shellfish, providing the main livelihood for local residents and fishermen from other areas.

For many years, no one realised that the fish were contaminated with mercury, and that it was causing a strange disease in the local community and in other districts. At least 50 000 people were affected to some extent and more than 2000 cases of Minamata disease were certified. Minamata disease peaked in the 1950s, with severe cases suffering brain damage, paralysis, incoherent speech and delirium.

https://www.google.ca/#q=mercury+lev...merica&spell=1 (external - login to view)

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mercury/doc...ctsMercury.pdf
 
Tonington
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

I was thinking the same thing. Let's get a million people, split them into groups of 100,000, and expose each group to a 10% increase in lead, from zero to lethal. I was thinking we could use Canadians.

Not thinking the same thing You might be able to convince me that it is ethical to experiment on criminals, highly unlikely, but not impossible. But they wouldn't make a very good study population in this case.

Quote: Originally Posted by 55MercuryView Post

I dunno but my BS meter is off the map.

too much grasping at straws goin' on

That's why scientists use objective tests. The data are the data.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Not thinking the same thing You might be able to convince me that it is ethical to experiment on criminals, highly unlikely, but not impossible. But they wouldn't make a very good study population in this case.

Can't use criminals, it'd violate their rights. That's why I was thinking Canadians.
 
Goober
Free Thinker
+1
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

And the fact that lead is known to make people stupid and crazy.


I was thinking the same thing. Let's get a million people, split them into groups of 100,000, and expose each group to a 10% increase in lead, from zero to lethal. I was thinking we could use Canadians.

No, I was thinking Florida myself.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

No, I was thinking Florida myself.

Nah, if we use Floridians, how will we know if it's the lead making them stupid and crazy, or just Florida?
 
El Barto
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

Nah, if we use Floridians, how will we know if it's the lead making them stupid and crazy, or just Florida?

lol there you go T Bone , you are alienating state by state
 
Tecumsehsbones
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

lol there you go T Bone , you are alienating state by state

Don't get me started on Nebraska.
 
El Barto
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

Don't get me started on Nebraska.

But but but it is such a quiet state
 
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