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Jan 03, 2013

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Stephen

That might explain Mexico City.

TBill Yaner

Surely we must be more than the chemistry in our brains. And yet.....

David Hoggard

Damn interesting. But I'm especially interested to read that lead in gasoline is the prime suspect and not, necessarily, lead in old houses, which is my stock and trade dealing with old windows as we do here @ Double Hung, LLC.

Heretofore, my company has shied away from the lead "abatement" game. Always seemed like too much liability and regulation involved in getting rid of that old paint. But just this year I decided to dive in regulatory hell and start a new business that is set up and licensed especially to perform lead abatement processes. Name is "Lead Out, Inc." and we will see how it goes.

My erstwhile son Jack suggested a better name for my fledgling concern: Master Abatement, Inc. (Say it three times). Sure wish he'd brought it up before I registered with the Secretary of State. I like it. Goes well with Double Hung, me thinks.

justcorbly

Coincidence is not causation, to mangle a cliche. But, it's also not not causation. Lead isn't good for ya.

The Romans apparently had a bunch of the stuff in their bones and blood. They cooked in lead pots, lined water pipes with the stuff, used it in makeup, glazed the inside of the clay jugs that held their wine, etc. Wonder if they kept crime stats?

Kim

DH thanks for the lafff. JC from what from what little I've read on the Romans, cooking acidic foods/wines in lead pots was not a healthy thing.

Lex

TBill: Well, the article and the researchers quoted therein don't argue that lead is responsible for ALL crime, just a big chunk of violent crime (which is more frequently reported and therefore easier to measure) because of damage to the parts of people's brains that might otherwise keep them from committing such crimes.

Stephen: I know Mexico continued to allow leaded gas longer than we did, but I don't know when (or if) it stopped, let alone what effect that had on the violent-crime rate. This piece suggests that Mexico City's murder rate is somewhat higher than those of New York and LA but less than half of Chicago's. (One of the clues in this lead research that Mother Jones doesn't mention but has been noted elsewhere is the high incidence of violent crime among kids who lived in Chicago public-housing projects adjacent to interstate highways -- these kids might've gotten a higher exposure to lead than any others in the country.)

The link above also suggests that, as high as the murder rates are in even New York and LA, the rate in Caracas, Venezuela, is more than 10 times as high. No idea what role lead plays; if I had to guess, I would surmise that the cocaine trade plays a far greater role there that it does in Chicago or even Mexico City.

But looking just at our own situation, what would you call a society that, faced with an expensive but vastly worthwhile (even strictly in terms of financial return) solution to one of its biggest problems, looks to its various internal groups' short-term interests instead? Methinks the windows ain't the only things broken.

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