Ban on leaded Gas ‘has cut crime rates around the world’

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I wonder if this startling piece of research will have any impact on Giuliani’s campaign.

Remember this is a Republican candidate who loves to remind us that: “I reduced homicides by 67 per cent; I reduced overall crime by 57 per cent.”

Well, recent research appears to suggest that Giuliani, although thinking he is telling the truth, is actually greatly overstating his own achievement and that there is a greater link between banning lead in petrol and a reduction in the crime rate than any law and order action taken by any politician.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Research, the study reports a “very strong association” over more than 50 years between the exposure of young children to the toxic metal and crime rates 20 years later when they are young adults.

And it says the association holds true for a wide variety of countries with differing social conditions, law and order policies.

Rates of violent and other crimes began falling sharply in the US in the early 1990s, and have continued to do so, followed by similar tends elsewhere.

Yet evidence is growing that the banning of lead should take much more of the credit for reducing crime rates. The toxic metal has long been known to damage brains and to lead to criminal and aggressive behaviour.

Research at Pittsburgh University found that adolescents arrested for crime in the city had lead levels four times higher than their law-abiding contemporaries, and a study of 3,000 possible causes of criminality in 1,000 young people by Fordham University, New York, found that high lead levels were the best predictor of delinquent and violent behaviour.

Two studies by leading criminologists, Professor Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St Louis and Professor Steven F Messner of the University of Albany, have concluded that Giuliani’s zero tolerance policy was actually only responsible for a tenth of the reduction in crime rates that Giuliani is claiming.

The metal was first added to petrol in the 1920s to boost engine power and its use grew rapidly: levels in blood rose in parallel. It was phased out first in the US, starting in 1974, to be followed by other countries.

Britain – one of the last to get rid of the toxic metal – is one of the latest to enjoy a decline in crime.

So it appears that, twenty years after phasing out lead in petrol, this kind of reduction in crime is commonplace across the world wherever this is done.

Giuliani, the man famous for being New York’s Mayor on the worst day in it’s history, now finds his crime fighting record – of which he is so proud – might have had very little to do with him after all.

must read!  The Secret History of Lead

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