The real reason crime fell: getting rid of leaded gas

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    Jan 04, 2013 3:57 AM GMT
    Next time people on Fox talk about the EPA and its onerous mandates on lead, think about this:
    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

    Lead_Crime_325.gif
    Lead_Pregnancy_325.gif

    And it might help with the deficit too:

    Lead_ROI_630.gif
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    Jan 05, 2013 1:41 AM GMT
    I'm just going to play devils advocate and say that there is also a correlation between ice cream sales and crime. They both go up at the same time therefore, ice cream causes crime. icon_cool.gif
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    Jan 05, 2013 4:08 AM GMT
    If that were only true.icon_lol.gif

    Read these paragraphs, if not the whole article:

    OPThe answer, it turned out, involved "several months of cold calling" to find lead emissions data at the state level. During the '70s and '80s, the introduction of the catalytic converter, combined with increasingly stringent Environmental Protection Agency rules, steadily reduced the amount of leaded gasoline used in America, but Reyes discovered that this reduction wasn't uniform. In fact, use of leaded gasoline varied widely among states, and this gave Reyes the opening she needed. If childhood lead exposure really did produce criminal behavior in adults, you'd expect that in states where consumption of leaded gasoline declined slowly, crime would decline slowly too. Conversely, in states where it declined quickly, crime would decline quickly. And that's exactly what she found.

    Meanwhile, Nevin had kept busy as well, and in 2007 he published a new paper looking at crime trends around the world (PDF). This way, he could make sure the close match he'd found between the lead curve and the crime curve wasn't just a coincidence. Sure, maybe the real culprit in the United States was something else happening at the exact same time, but what are the odds of that same something happening at several different times in several different countries?

    Nevin collected lead data and crime data for Australia and found a close match. Ditto for Canada. And Great Britain and Finland and France and Italy and New Zealand and West Germany. Every time, the two curves fit each other astonishingly well. When I spoke to Nevin about this, I asked him if he had ever found a country that didn't fit the theory. "No," he replied. "Not one."

    Just this year, Tulane University researcher Howard Mielke published a paper with demographer Sammy Zahran on the correlation of lead and crime at the city level. They studied six US cities that had both good crime data and good lead data going back to the '50s, and they found a good fit in every single one. In fact, Mielke has even studied lead concentrations at the neighborhood level in New Orleans and shared his maps with the local police. "When they overlay them with crime maps," he told me, "they realize they match up."

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    Jan 05, 2013 2:13 PM GMT
    There's also been theories floated around in the past that crime went down when ABORTIONS became cheap/ free and legal( poor, minority etc getting abortions = less " supply" to engage in criminal activity when they would have been " of age". I believe it was addressed in the book Freakonomics Correlation does not = Causation. Interesting article though.
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    Jan 05, 2013 5:45 PM GMT
    lookinforcars1 saidThere's also been theories floated around in the past that crime went down when ABORTIONS became cheap/ free and legal( poor, minority etc getting abortions = less " supply" to engage in criminal activity when they would have been " of age". I believe it was addressed in the book Freakonomics Correlation does not = Causation. Interesting article though.


    Yikes.

    I not only always thought albeit intuitively that was horseshit but it also raised a red flag for me on anyone who'd argue it. I was pleased to see that issue addressed in the article which I also found to be an interesting read about what sounds a plausible explanation.

    An issue I have with it however might be the state by state stuff, because wouldn't weather systems with their wind currents determine that, seems pretty overlapping and therefore the research overreaching. I'll never forget that beautiful sunset we had in Florida when Mt St. Helens erupted. And it doesn't say they checked area by area but state by state so I'm a little suspicious of that aspect of their study.

    Although, and just thinking this as I posted, wasn't there a time when we were dealing with fumes directly at the gas pumps? Because that might localize it to discount weather systems.
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    Jan 05, 2013 7:06 PM GMT
    Don't wanna get filled up with lead? Don't fill up with lead! icon_razz.gif
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    Jan 05, 2013 11:36 PM GMT
    lookinforcars1 saidThere's also been theories floated around in the past that crime went down when ABORTIONS became cheap/ free and legal( poor, minority etc getting abortions = less " supply" to engage in criminal activity when they would have been " of age". I believe it was addressed in the book Freakonomics Correlation does not = Causation. Interesting article though.


    All science is correlation, with statistics thrown in.icon_lol.gif
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    Jan 05, 2013 11:43 PM GMT
    dayumm saidDon't wanna get filled up with lead? Don't fill up with lead! icon_razz.gif
    Quote of the year. icon_lol.gif
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    Jan 05, 2013 11:46 PM GMT



  • morleyq

    Posts: 175

    Jan 09, 2013 2:13 PM GMT
    I'm surprised no one has commented on the correlation to teen pregnancies.
    As if lead made teens more horny?

    Perhaps better access to birth control (including condoms, post AIDS - peak was in 1987) has more to do with that?
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    Jan 09, 2013 2:54 PM GMT
    morleyq saidI'm surprised no one has commented on the correlation to teen pregnancies.
    As if lead made teens more horny?

    Perhaps better access to birth control (including condoms, post AIDS - peak was in 1987) has more to do with that?


    Not horny, but maybe more impulsivity:

    [url]http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0050115[/url]

    Lead has been definitely associated with decreased education attainment and high school dropout.
    http://www.californiateenhealth.org/health-topics/environmetal-and-occupational-health/recent-research-environmetal-and-occupational-health/environmental-injustice-childhood-lead-poisoning-teen-pregnancy-and-tobacco