Did Removing Lead From Gasoline Cause Violent Crime to Plummet?

January 18, 2013 by  
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Research in recent years has uncovered a strong connection between reductions in lead pollution and the decline in violent crime in the U.S. Writing in Mother Jones this month, Kevin Drum discusses the research of Rick Nevin , a consultant who began researching lead pollution during the 1990s for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Nevin’s research has shown that the rise and fall of atmospheric lead produced by leaded gas closely corresponds to a similar rise and fall of violent crime. Violent crime rates, writes Drum, “followed the same upside-down U pattern. The only thing different was the time period: Crime rates rose dramatically in the ’60s through the ’80s, and then began dropping steadily starting in the early ’90s. The two curves looked eerily identical, but were offset by about 20 years.” In a paper published in Environmental Research in May 2000, Nevin demonstrated, Drum says, that “if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.” In a 2007 Environmental Research paper , Nevin used worldwide data to support the same conclusion in country after country. In a working paper published in 2007 by the National Bureau of Economic Research , Jessica Wolpaw Reyes used state-by-state data to show that “the reduction in childhood lead exposure in the late 1970s and early 1980s is responsible for significant declines in violent crime in the 1990s” and that that reduction “may cause further declines into the future.” This year, a paper in Science Direct by researchers from Tulane and Colorado State universities established the same correlation in six U.S. cities. Drum writes, “Groups of children have been followed from the womb to adulthood, and higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes.” Violent crime used to be disproportionately high in large cities compared with small ones. Big cities typically have a lot of cars in a small area. In the post-World War II era, that meant high concentrations of lead in the atmosphere. But as atmospheric lead decreased, so did the disconnect in violent crime between large and small cities. Now the rates are similar. Neurological research has now proven the connection between lead and brain damage. Drum writes that “it turns out that childhood lead exposure at nearly any level can seriously and permanently reduce IQ.” According to the EPA , “there currently is no demonstrated safe concentration of lead in blood, and adverse health effects can occur at lower concentrations.” Research has shown that high lead exposure during childhood results in damage to the part of the brain that controls aggression. Even very small blood levels have been connected to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, writes Drum, lead is still a danger today. Much of the lead that was emitted during the postwar period persists in the soil and can be reintroduced into the atmosphere through dust. Also, many older buildings still contain old lead paint. Cleanup of lead from soil and old window frames (the most dangerous location) would cost about $20 billion yearly for the next 20 years, Drum estimates. That sounds like a lot, but he also estimates the benefits at up to $150 billion per year. + Rick Nevin Via Mother Jones Photo credits: Tailpipe by Ruben de Rijcke via Wikimedia Commons; Handcuffs by .v1ctor. via Flickr

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Did Removing Lead From Gasoline Cause Violent Crime to Plummet?

Monsanto Being Sued for Poisoning West Virginia Town with Agent Orange Chemicals

February 1, 2012 by  
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If you don’t know who Monsanto is, just ask your stomach – chances are you’ve consumed quite a lot of their genetically modified produce in your life. The giant agricultural company has long been derided by activists for its lawsuits against small family farms and is now the center of a lawsuit for poisoning an entire town with chemicals used to make Agent Orange, an herbicide used during the Vietnam War, which has been blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths. The chemical was manufactured in Monsanto’s Nitro, West Virginia factory from the late 1940s through the early 1970s and ever since, the town has been riddled with a high rate of cancer. The class action lawsuit calls for Monsanto to pay for future health examinations for early disease detection for people who were exposed to Agent Orange chemicals while living in Nitro and also asks for the environment surrounding the now defunct factory to be cleaned of the residual toxins. Disturbingly, the second part of the case has been thrown out leaving only the health issues on the table. Read the rest of Monsanto Being Sued for Poisoning West Virginia Town with Agent Orange Chemicals Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agent orange class action lawsuit , agent orange nitro , Monsanto , monsanto cancer case , monsanto chemicals , monsanto class action lawsuit , nitro , nitro agent orange factory , nitro cancer case , nitro cancer rate , nitro class action lawsuit , nitro diseases , nitro monsanto cancer , nitro west virginia , west virginia cancer rate , west virginia chemicals

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Monsanto Being Sued for Poisoning West Virginia Town with Agent Orange Chemicals

Fuel-Saving Wonderbags Keep Cooking Food Long After You Turn Off the Heat

February 1, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Fuel-Saving Wonderbags Keep Cooking Food Long After You Turn Off the Heat Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon emissions , Design for Health , eco design , Eco-cooking bags , green design , insulated bags , recyclable materials , Recycled Materials , Sarah Collings , save fuel , sustainable design , Unilever , water issues , Wonderbag , Wonderbags

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Fuel-Saving Wonderbags Keep Cooking Food Long After You Turn Off the Heat

Today on Planet 100: Occidental Oil Accused of Poisoning the Amazon (Video)

March 4, 2010 by  
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Today on Planet 100: Occidental Oil Accused of Poisoning the Amazon (Video)

Deep Sea Fish Eat Plants as they Sink

March 4, 2010 by  
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The cusk eel, pictured here, was one of the fish seen eating floating plant matter. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons Most research has shown that deep sea fish sit at the top of their food chains—hunting as predators and scavenging the carcasses of dead animals. Recent tests , however, have demonstrated that these denizens of the deep preserve a more generalist diet and even eat plant matter as it sinks from the surface.

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Deep Sea Fish Eat Plants as they Sink

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