The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Preview: What leaded gas did to us
email print
About this blog
Recent Posts
By Rick Holmes
Jan. 10, 2013 5:10 p.m.

My column for Sunday is about a fascinating new hypothesis: That the sharp rise in violent crime in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as its surprising decline in the 199s and beyond, have nothing to do with broken windows, mandatory minimums, poverty, drugs or racism — and everything to do with the rise and elimination of leaded gasoline.
The correlation of the data – the chart at left is just a starting point – is impressive. But it’s backed up by other studies. University of Cincinnati researchers have followed a test group since they were kids in the early ’80s, testing the levels of lead in the blood every six months. The ones with more lead did worse in school, had more cognitive problems through adolescence and were more likely to commit violent crimes as adults.
Brain research, which has revealed that even the tiniest doses of lead can reduce IQ’s, reinforces the findings.† Lead poisoning affects the frontal lobe and the “white matter,” compromising concentration, impulse control, emotional regulation, aggression, judgment – all those things that can lead to violence and crime. And, it turns out, teen pregnancy.
If you’re interested, no need to wait for my column. Writing in Mother Jones, Kevin Drum does far better than I could in telling the story. Well worth a read.

Recent Posts

    latest blogs

    • Community
    • National

  • Financial Advice from Jim Cramer
  • Read More
  • Events Calendar