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Link between lead and criminal behavior

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Now this is really interesting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...referrer=email

Quote:
The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.
The man has traced the link in nine different countries.
post #2 of 24
It would make sense that something like lead interferes with cognitive development which is a factor in impulse control.

I'm hoping that research like this means that we do something about the problem of lead. What I'm afraid of is that it will be introduced into our judicial system as mitigating factor and we will be allowing violent offenders back into society.
post #3 of 24
Lead is not going away, no matter what they find out.

There is lead-lined walls, lead-lined doors and lead-lined door frames, lead-lined door locks, etc.
This is a necessity, unless we want to ditch all the imaging equipment for CAT Scans, PET scans, MRI's, and X-Rays.

Yep, this looks like a Defense Attorney's dream if you ask me.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
It makes a lot of sense. I was thinking of the expression "mad as a hatter", and the connection made between hat makers' exposure to mercury and "madness".

Lead paint used on woodwork, cribs, playpens, etc., was a huge issue when I was a child, as it caused deaths/brain damage among young children who chewed on things painted with it, but I actually had never thought about leaded gasoline.

I really hope this study is extended to more countries.
post #5 of 24
While there are necessary applications for lead - we still need to be vigilant on how it is disposed. Our quick obsolescence of electronic equipment means that we need to make extra efforts to recycle and not throw everything into a landfill where it can leach into the environment.
post #6 of 24
I know that in this city they do asbestos removal with haz mat teams when rennovating bldgs known to have asbestos in them. I imagine it would be the same with Lead. Don't know where the Haz Mat people take the stuff though.

Maybe Yucca Mtn.
post #7 of 24
My brother and I used to play with lead - hammering it into shapes. We also played with liquid mercury (it will ruin other metal it touches BTW), and when I was eleven years old, I scraped all the lead paint off of our 2500 sq.ft. house and repainted it twice.

Now I have a host of health problems, including four autoimmune diseases. Where were my parents? What were they thinking? Good question!

Another way to ingest/absorb heavy metals is to use non-food-grade plastics for food contact (contact paper/shower curtains under cakes; rolling food in vinyl from the fabric store, "kitty-litter cakes" in new, clean litter boxes; brining meats in new, clean paint containers; storing food in trash bags, etc.) If it's not specifically meant for food, don't put food on/in it! And, don't ever use a metal trashcan for any kind of food or drink, either. Very, very, bad... yikes!
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Lead is not going away, no matter what they find out.

There is lead-lined walls, lead-lined doors and lead-lined door frames, lead-lined door locks, etc.
This is a necessity, unless we want to ditch all the imaging equipment for CAT Scans, PET scans, MRI's, and X-Rays.

Yep, this looks like a Defense Attorney's dream if you ask me.
Yes, but all that is behind another material and people aren't directly exposed to it.

In lead lined walls, the lead is behind the sheetrock. For doors, the lead is sandwiched between the wood and for the frames, the lead is inside the metal frame.

Don't want people to be afraid of the radiology dept.
post #9 of 24
Oh Swamp, I have never considered most of your examples. That is frightening.

Ms Bengals, you are very correct, BUT there are people that have to install that lead in walls, doors and door frames.

Many, many times I have watched the guys in our shop bending the lead and installing it inside the steel door frames. They do wear gloves but still.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Oh Swamp, I have never considered most of your examples. That is frightening.

Ms Bengals, you are very correct, BUT there are people that have to install that lead in walls, doors and door frames.

Many, many times I have watched the guys in our shop bending the lead and installing it inside the steel door frames. They do wear gloves but still.
Mr. Bengals if you please.
post #11 of 24
Ooops, excuse me please, sir.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals View Post
Yes, but all that is behind another material and people aren't directly exposed to it.

In lead lined walls, the lead is behind the sheetrock. For doors, the lead is sandwiched between the wood and for the frames, the lead is inside the metal frame.

Don't want people to be afraid of the radiology dept.
And in most radiology films now silver is used instead of lead, and at our hospital, recycled afterwards

There is growing evidence, though, that radiological exams aren't actually as safe as everyone thought they were. But that's a whole other thread! Just don't have too many, is all
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
And in most radiology films now silver is used instead of lead, and at our hospital, recycled afterwards

There is growing evidence, though, that radiological exams aren't actually as safe as everyone thought they were. But that's a whole other thread! Just don't have too many, is all
very true, i have see where u are supposed to count how many.
Last time i had a xray i was even asked how long it had been since i had one.
post #14 of 24
So we can assume that the upperclass ancient Romans were also criminals? because they were in the habit of smearing it on their faces (among other uses )

Quote:
In the rigidly hierarchical world of the ancients, lead was the plebeian metal deemed suitable for a vast variety of everyday uses. Lead products were, to a certain degree, accessible even to the poorest proletarian. But only the chosen few were at the top of the social totem pole were able to regularly indulge their insatiable craving for lead-containing products.

Lead was a key component in face powders, rouges, and mascaras; the pigment in many paints ("crazy as a painter" was an ancient catch phrase rooted in the demented behavior of lead-poisoned painters); a nifty spermicide for informal birth control; the ideal "cold" metal for use in the manufacture of chastity belts; a sweet and sour condiment popular for seasoning and adulterating food; a wine preservative perfect for stopping fermentation or disguising inferior vintages; the malleable and inexpensive ingredient in pewter cups, plates, pitchers, pots and pans, and other household artifacts; the basic component of lead coins; and a partial ingredient in debased bronze or brass coins as well as counterfeit silver and gold coins.

Most important of all was lead's suitability as inexpensive and reliable piping for the vast network plumbing that kept Rome and the provincial cities of the Roman Empire supplied with water. Indeed, the very word "plumbing" comes from the Latin word for lead, plumbum. The lead pipes that were the vital arteries of ancient Rome were forged by smithies whose patron saint, Vulcan, exhibited several of the symptoms of advanced lead poisoning: lameness, pallor, and wizened expression.
source: http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/perspect/lead.htm

I'll offer an alternative explanation: people who live in houses where the lead-based paint is peeling off the walls and let their kids eat it are neglectful parents, and that is why their kids end up messed up. Much easier than the neurological theory.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
very true, i have see where u are supposed to count how many.
Last time i had a xray i was even asked how long it had been since i had one.
I actually have a little booklet I'm supposed to carry around where each X-ray, and the date it was done, is entered. I injured my back yesterday, and my doctor decided to forego X-rays after checking my little booklet, so obviously there's a great deal of concern about it.
post #16 of 24
And let's remember that the person drawing these conclusions is an Economist, not a Neurologist.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy View Post
And let's remember that the person drawing these conclusions is an Economist, not a Neurologist.
Yea I think once I can see that there was a specific study done rather than a "following of societal trends" then I can fully believe it. Many people would automatically conclude that if you were exposed to lead, then you are a criminal based on this article and argue that they received other issues from Pb rather than criminal behavior.

Hopefully a scientist read this article and is searching for a grant to prove/disprove this theory.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
I actually have a little booklet I'm supposed to carry around where each X-ray, and the date it was done, is entered. I injured my back yesterday, and my doctor decided to forego X-rays after checking my little booklet, so obviously there's a great deal of concern about it.
Is that why I haven't seen you around much, have you been out committing
criminal acts?

Just kidding, I hope your back is better very soon J.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Yea I think once I can see that there was a specific study done rather than a "following of societal trends" then I can fully believe it. Many people would automatically conclude that if you were exposed to lead, then you are a criminal based on this article and argue that they received other issues from Pb rather than criminal behavior.

Hopefully a scientist read this article and is searching for a grant to prove/disprove this theory.
And in the book, Freakonomics, (which is referred to with disdain in the article), the author surmised that the crime rate is down to the legalization of abortion in the 70's...He purports that criminals that would have been born to disadvantaged families, were NOT born and so this is the reason for the decreasing crime rate..
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
So we can assume that the upperclass ancient Romans were also criminals? because they were in the habit of smearing it on their faces (among other uses )...
A correlation was drawn between exposure to lead (when young) and crime later in life. A correlation is not the same as cause-and-effect* - correlation shows the increases and decreases happen at the same time. From that data, a theory was surmised and presented.

*Cause-and-effect would say being exposed to lead when young always leads to criminal behavoir as an adult. I didn't see that stated in this article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
I'll offer an alternative explanation: people who live in houses where the lead-based paint is peeling off the walls and let their kids eat it are neglectful parents, and that is why their kids end up messed up. Much easier than the neurological theory.
An easier theory, perhaps, but an unfair and untrue one. People who lived in houses with peeling old lead paint were very likely living in substandard places that were not kept up (thus not repainted with newer paint). For many, many years people did not know about the lead in paint at all. Ignorance of a hidden danger does not make a person negelectful.

It is true that certain people are predisposed (becaue of their genetic makeup) to commit violent crimes, and it has been proven that severe abuse as a child can make these particular people go over the edge and commit exceptionally horrific crimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
...Many people would automatically conclude that if you were exposed to lead, then you are a criminal based on this article and argue that they received other issues from Pb rather than criminal behavior.
Again, a correlation was drawn, not cause-and-effect. I'm not quite sure what you meant by the last half of this statement (it seems to contradict), but there are many other health issues associated with exposure to lead, especially when exposed in youth. I agree, no doubt some people would try to use exposure to lead as an excuse for criminal behavior, just as they try to use movies, videos games, etc. as an excuse for their behavior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy View Post
And in the book, Freakonomics, (which is referred to with disdain in the article), the author surmised that the crime rate is down to the legalization of abortion in the 70's...He purports that criminals that would have been born to disadvantaged families, were NOT born and so this is the reason for the decreasing crime rate..
Poor women were not the only ones getting abortions... it makes some sense that not having unwanted children born could have contributed to decreased crime rates.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
A correlation was drawn between exposure to lead (when young) and crime later in life. A correlation is not the same as cause-and-effect* - correlation shows the increases and decreases happen at the same time. From that data, a theory was surmised and presented.

*Cause-and-effect would say being exposed to lead when young always leads to criminal behavoir as an adult. I didn't see that stated in this article.
You know the difference and I know the difference. But to a lot of layman a correlation is the same as a 'causal relationship'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
An easier theory, perhaps, but an unfair and untrue one. People who lived in houses with peeling old lead paint were very likely living in substandard places that were not kept up (thus not repainted with newer paint). For many, many years people did not know about the lead in paint at all. Ignorance of a hidden danger does not make a person negelectful.
You are right and my thinking may well be a reflection of where I am. Around here the state "lead police" come after landlords, requiring us to hand out flyers, participate in lead awareness programs etc. That may well be different in many other US states to say nothing of other countries.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
Poor women were not the only ones getting abortions... it makes some sense that not having unwanted children born could have contributed to decreased crime rates.
Absolutely right. And it's still correct today...Sorry, I didn't mean to insinuate only poor women in this example, but rather "disadvantaged" in the sense that having a child didn't make sense for them at the time! Sorry if I offended anyone! That is not something I would be saying.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post

Again, a correlation was drawn, not cause-and-effect. I'm not quite sure what you meant by the last half of this statement (it seems to contradict), but there are many other health issues associated with exposure to lead, especially when exposed in youth. I agree, no doubt some people would try to use exposure to lead as an excuse for criminal behavior, just as they try to use movies, videos games, etc. as an excuse for their behavior.
Sorry. My writing just keeps becoming worse as I age. Also I think more "computer-ish" or boolean then the fuzzy gray area.

I believe my thinking pattern at the time was either you have criminal behavior from Pb or health issues from Pb...not that you can have both.
post #24 of 24
Does anyone remember the lead soldier making kit? My brother had one in the '60's. As kids we used to melt the lead and pour it into molds. It was the same premise as the plastic "Fun Flowers." My Mom didn't know it was dangerous, of course. In case you were wondering, neither of us are criminals...yet
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