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Tilting at Windmills

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July 8, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

LEAD ABATEMENT....YES, IT'S BORING, BUT READ THIS POST ANYWAY....In the past, I've suggested that an aggressive lead abatement program could be "one of the most cost effective social programs in the history of the country." This is based mostly on the possibility that lead abatement could raise IQs in 6 million children by about 7 points for a cost of only $30 billion or so. If these numbers are even close to correct, a crash program to radically reduce blood levels of lead in children would be one of history's all-time no brainers.

But there's more: lead exposure in children is also linked to criminal behavior later in life. Today, the Washington Post reports on research performed by economist Rick Nevin that suggests even more: namely that overall crime rates are driven more strongly by lead exposure than by any other single factor:

Nevin says his data not only explain the decline in crime in the 1990s, but the rise in crime in the 1980s and other fluctuations going back a century. His data from multiple countries, which have different abortion rates, police strategies, demographics and economic conditions, indicate that lead is the only explanation that can account for international trends.

Because the countries phased out lead at different points, they provide a rigorous test: In each instance, the violent crime rate tracks lead poisoning levels two decades earlier.

....Lead levels plummeted in New York in the early 1970s, driven by federal policies to eliminate lead from gasoline and local policies to reduce lead emissions from municipal incinerators....The [subsequent] drop in violent crime was dramatic. In 1990, 31 New Yorkers out of every 100,000 were murdered. In 2004, the rate was 7 per 100,000 — lower than in most big cities. The lead theory also may explain why crime fell broadly across the United States in the 1990s, not just in New York.

....The centerpiece of Nevin's research is an analysis of crime rates and lead poisoning levels across a century. The United States has had two spikes of lead poisoning: one at the turn of the 20th century, linked to lead in household paint, and one after World War II, when the use of leaded gasoline increased sharply. Both times, the violent crime rate went up and down in concert, with the violent crime peaks coming two decades after the lead poisoning peaks.

The association between even minuscule amounts of lead exposure and bad outcomes later in life has become stronger and stronger over the past couple of decades. If Nevin and other lead researchers are even half right — and even if the cost of extreme lead abatement is double or triple what we think it might be — it beggars belief that we aren't willing to do it. It's time for Democrats to get hopping on this.

Kevin Drum 3:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Comments

Isn't it funny how the thoroughly discredited, racist, evil concept of IQ suddenly becomes politically correct in the context of lead or birth order or keeping low IQ murderers from execution?

Posted by: Steve Sailer on July 8, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I hope your use of the phrase "no brainer" in this context was ironic.

Otherwise, it would have been a really retarded thing to say.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on July 8, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Lead abatement = extinction of the GOP in 30 years???

Posted by: astrid on July 8, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I used the study as an opportunity to take Rudy to task.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Could be something to it. In addition to all the prosititution and mining swindles, a saloon in historic Leadville used to have a sign over the piano:

"Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best."

That is if Oscar Wilde wasn't lying, he himself having drunk the water.

Posted by: B on July 8, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Is this why gangsters were known for saying "Eat lead, copper!"

Posted by: craigie on July 8, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

But what about free will? I hope God got a memo. Hell is full of innocents.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on July 8, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Nevin says his data not only explain the decline in crime in the 1990s, but the rise in crime in the 1980s and other fluctuations going back a century.

Wait a minute....

Crime happens as a result of financial situations too - the 80's was the first time when we were recovering from peak oil syndrome # 1, the other big oil theft operation - but in mid 80's, the gult of oil on market cause the dropped of gasoline to 68 cents a gallon thus leading to a boom in US production and thus better financial situations for everyone, except the domestic oil industry - AND now, because of hose oil industry loyalist Bushie and Cheney - we're right back to square one again. Houseing cost are too high, everything is too for average American, and thus out of reach for the common people and the only jobs are in the service industry. Any disposible income is being wipe out by peak oil theft operation # 2.

I don't think it lead but the these unfair market condition brough on by the complete corruption of market place laws for benefit of the few, the rich, the indifferent.

Posted by: Me_again on July 8, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Can't believe you didn't say "Time to get the lead out"

Posted by: doug r on July 8, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... so what's $30Bn?

Iraq costs something like $10 Bn/Month... (and that's not counting the total costs)

IMHO: That's probably how we should start measuring the costs of programs with actual value to the people of the USA.

Let's call this unit IM (Iraq-month).

So we could...

Clean up all lead pollution in USA, 3 IM
Eliminate hunger in the USA 5 IM

etc.

Tragic.

Posted by: Buford on July 8, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

For a more complete overview of lead poisoning, see A Strange Ignorance at http://www.azsba.org/lead.htm which details the effects of lead on inner-city schools.

Posted by: Michael Martin on July 8, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Core samples from the Greenland icecap have shown that atmospheric lead concentrations rose rapidly starting in about 200 BC. Most of this was due to the increase in lead smelting in the Mediterranean, which was in turn connected to the military and economic expansion of the Roman empire. The peak concentration for ancient times - a level of lead pollution not to reached again until about 1800 - falls around 200 AD.

As it happens, the century 180-280 AD was a period of grave crisis for the Roman empire, one from which it really never recovered. There were crazy emperors and usurpers, a host of devastating civil wars, barbarian invasions, vicious persecutions of Christians, and the disappearance of various forms of high culture.

We'll never be able to say for sure, but it would be interesting to know if the former trend is connected to the latter.

Posted by: lampwick on July 8, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

How much lead was in Kennebunkport when Shrub was small?

Posted by: craigie on July 8, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Isn't it funny how the thoroughly discredited, racist, evil concept of IQ suddenly becomes politically correct in the context of lead or birth order or keeping low IQ murderers from execution?"

Isn't it funny that eugenicists funded by the Pioneer Institute can't take scientific data and compute how it invalidates their sacred cows?

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on July 8, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's time for Democrats to get hopping on this.

Indeed. And lets not forget that raising the nation's collective IQ will hurt the GOP at the polls.

Posted by: Toast on July 8, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

How much lead was in Kennebunkport when Shrub was small?

Probably quite a lot - lead pipes, leaded gasoline, lead paint...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Fascinating.

Can we call off the War on Drugs and begin a War on Lead? It sounds a lot cheaper and more effective.

Posted by: MarkH on July 8, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it funny how the thoroughly discredited, racist, evil concept of IQ suddenly becomes politically correct in the context of lead or birth order or keeping low IQ murderers from execution?

Nice strawman. The concept of IQ isn't racist. The concept of linking IQ variations with race, as you are obsessed with doing, is racist.

Posted by: Disputo on July 8, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

This is priceless:

"I've suggested that an aggressive lead abatement program could be "one of the most cost effective social programs in "

And whats the price tag? Oh, only $30 BILLON DOLLARS!!!!

Just like a lib. NO concept of cost/benefit. Yeah, this country's going to spend $30 Billion dollars on a boondoggle program to boost IQ scores a measley 6 points? Classic lib giveaway.


I've been tested and my IQ is between 134 and 140. Your going to tell me if my IQ went up to 146 that that would have a perceptible change in my life? Meh.

Posted by: egbert on July 8, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, you drip-lip fool, no way in hell your IQ is even triple digits, let alone in that range.

And that is, by the way, a mere three months of Bush's splendid war. That you still have not volunteered for. They are so desperate for recruits that they would (shudder) take even you.

Be a man! Go to Marines.mil and sign up!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I have a teeny bit of expertise in lead abatement in New York City, having once been a tenant's attorney for an office that provides free civil legal services for poor people in the South Bronx, and sometimes litigating this issue with landlords. While lead abatement in general is a good thing, it's not recommended all the time.

Contrary to popular conception, kids don't get lead-poisoned by eating paint chips. Instead, when a wall or a ceiling that has lead paint on it (which includes just about every interior surface built before the '70s) starts to deteriorate because of, say, a water leak, the dust that gets around the house contains lead. Kids touch dust on the floor or the couch and then touch their mouths.

A lead abatement not done correctly could cause a greater accumulation of lead-containing dust in a household than existed before unless the surfaces were already in a pretty bad state. That's why lead-paint advocates I spoke with generally didn't support a full abatement in all circumstances.

Posted by: honestpartisan on July 8, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Lampwick,
Romans drank wine stored in lead caskets, because they liked the flavor the lead added. Atmospheric levels couldn't compare.

Posted by: Marky on July 8, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, you drip-lip fool, no way in hell your IQ is even triple digits, let alone in that range.

What he meant to say was that it is between 13.4 and 14.0

Posted by: craigie on July 8, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ha ha, very funny.

But the plan fact of the matter is that this is just another elitist liberal attempt to control how we live. Libs want to ban smoking, ban tran fats, now they want to ban lead.

Maybe the "science", the liberal science that is, can prove beyond a doubt that this stuff is bad for us. But people should have choices. Society works best when each person can make choices for themselves, and not having government legislate away our freedoms.

Posted by: egbert on July 8, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, "only" 30 billion dollars. Presumably mere pocket change for Kevin and his "reality-based" community. And he says he doesn't even mind if it cost 90 billion dollars. Was this a late April Fool's joke?

Posted by: anon on July 8, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the "science", the liberal science that is, can prove beyond a doubt that this stuff is bad for us.

It already has, dunce. Just as you've proven that you must have eaten lead-paint chips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the year for the last twenty years.

Posted by: DJ on July 8, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Society works best when each person can make choices for themselves, and not having government legislate away our freedoms.

So let me get this straight...it should be legal for a landlord to use lead paint in a dwelling that is rented to low income people who can't afford to own their own homes. And that lead paint is then directly responsible for causing retarded intellectual development, learning disabilities, and behavior problems that lead to criminal activity that affects all of society - and that's totally cool by your account?

People without choices deserve to have their children retarded by neurotoxins in their environment, and therefore the cycle of poverty and dependence continued?

Is that what you are saying? I just want to be clear and make sure I know exactly where you are coming from before I denounce you as a black-hearted, soulless, craven, inbred cretin.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone has choices, BGRS, just so long as the government doesn't legislate them away. Just to go back to your example, nobody is forcing that poor family to live in that apartment building. They have options. They can move to a lead free apartment. They can paint over their lead paint with lead free paint. Or, they may weight that the added expense of painting or moving outweighs the benefit of 6 measley IQ points and do nothing.

You guys like to make it sound like the free market forces people into making decisions against there interest. When actually its the other way around.

"black-hearted, soulless, craven, inbred cretin"? No, actually I care about the poor and want them to have choices, unlike you who wants to micromanage there lives and steal their dignity away.

Posted by: egbert on July 8, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

When choices are limited by economic circumstance, and someone elses bottom line is enhanced by even a few pennies, that is hardly "freedom of choice." Unless you think a choice between toxic hovels is a "choice."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all for lead abatement. But, I question whether the gain will be as large as some believe. My generation, born during WW2, had our brains frazzled by leaded gasoline and leaded paint. Yet, SAT scores had to be recalibrated because the current generation of unleaded students couldn't keep up with their leaded elders. Apparently there were changes in culture or educational methods that had greater impact than getting the lead out.

P.S. I wonder if the association between lead and criminal activity is because there are higher lead concentrations in the slums, and the slums have a higher rate of criminality.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 8, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking radio silence briefly - but I'm still irked at you excusing constitutional abrogation and nullifying my entire life in the process. That said, there is a relevant paragraph in the Post piece:


Nevin's finding may even account for phenomena he did not set out to address. His theory addresses why rates of violent crime among black adolescents from inner-city neighborhoods have declined faster than the overall crime rate -- lead amelioration programs had the biggest impact on the urban poor. Children in inner-city neighborhoods were the ones most likely to be poisoned by lead, because they were more likely to live in substandard housing that had lead paint and because public housing projects were often situated near highways.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Damn. HTML foul.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 8, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK
....I care about the poor and want them to have choices...eggbutt at 7:05 PM
Join me in calling for a drastic re-distribution of wealth in America. Why should only the rich have the choice of a villa in the south of France or an estate in Scarsdale, or both? Posted by: Mike on July 8, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

.... SAT scores had to be recalibrated because the current generation of unleaded students couldn't keep up with their leaded elders...ex-lax at 7:16 PM
You're talking about a 7-point drop .
...College Board president Gaston Caperton did raise concerns about critical-reading scores, which he said have "exhibited no clear positive trend" over the past decade or so. One reason, he says, could be that fewer test-takers this year reported taking English and grammar courses than they did in 1996.
But the main reason for the decline, he says, is that 41,000 fewer students took the test multiple times. Typically, a retester will see a 30-point boost....

Posted by: Mike on July 8, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Is that out of a thousand Egbert?

Posted by: Frank Benjamin on July 8, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Odd - the cost of lead abatement appears to be a tiny fraction of what The Decider spends on wars-of-choice, duct tape and other pet projects. But because it appears not to have an immediate payoff for TCM (The Conservative Movement) it is considered a bridge-too-far. Oh well......that's life on Planet Starboard for ya.

Posted by: Ed Tracey on July 8, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

No, Mike, I'm talking about a major SAT recentering that took place around 1994. Wikipedia says:

As the test grew more popular and more students from less rigorous schools began taking the test, the average dropped to about 428 Verbal and 478 Math. The SAT was "recentered" in 1995, and the average "new" score became again close to 500. Scores awarded after 1994 and before October 2001 are officially reported with an "R" (e.g. 1260R) to reflect this change. The SAT was "recentered" in 1995, and the average "new" score became again close to 500. Scores awarded after 1994 and before October 2001 are officially reported with an "R" (e.g. 1260R) to reflect this change.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 8, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Might want to read that passage ex-whatever. As it clearly explains SAT scores weren't going down because kids are dumber now but because more people take the tests now.

Lots of educational anecdotes and statistics from decades ago are like that, they look kinda good until you consider all the youngsters who were not being measured.

Posted by: jefff on July 8, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

"there interest?" 134-140?

Posted by: quisp on July 8, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

You have a point, Jefff, but there were changes at the top that were not due to the addition of less well-qualified test-takers. The recentrering in Verbal moved a 730 to an 800. That big change is more than can be explained by the additional number of students taking the test. See http://www.collegeboard.com/about/news_info/cbsenior/equiv/rt019019.html

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 8, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Always think it is difficult to isolate variables in these type of studies. Crime rates did increase two decades after WW II and then dropped. Many have attributed that to the baby boom giving us an increase in 18-24 year old males in the population. Of course one of the main variables that drives violent crime is abuse. Forget violent TV shows and lead. if you don't want your kid to grow up to be a violent criminal, don't raise him in an environment of violence and abuse within the family.

Posted by: HL Mungo on July 8, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Kevin. That sounds neat. Think of what a better society we would have if we did this. Hopefully somebody will get hopping on this.

I sure wouldn't mind having a few more IQ points. A drop in the bucket for so many people, plus the reduced anti-social tendencies, would mean that things would be going a lot better all over the place.

Posted by: Swan on July 8, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

egbert was saying "ah, Kevin" to Steve Benen for days.

All right, you free marketers: how is the family to know the apartment they're moving to is lead-free? By taking a sample themselves and going down to Gas-Chromatographs-R-Us?

Also: painting over leaded paint doesn't work. The stuff has got to be stripped out, which, if you've ever lived in an older urban apartment, could be 10 or 12 levels thick.

Posted by: pbg on July 8, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, lead poisoning is implicated in abuse as well, probably because the symptoms of lead poisoning that include irritability, aggression, and impulsivity cause both the child to misbehave and the parent to react with abuse. This is also noted in my online report at:
A Strange Ignorance. It may also be difficult for two lead poisoned people to live together, leading to the breakup of the family.

Posted by: Michael Martin on July 9, 2007 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Just to go back to your example, nobody is forcing that poor family to live in that apartment building. They have options. They can move to a lead free apartment. They can paint over their lead paint with lead free paint. Or, they may weight that the added expense of painting or moving outweighs the benefit of 6 measley IQ points and do nothing."

You need to brush up on the difference between a first-best and a second-best world. Reality has a tendency to knock down ideology.

Posted by: Reality Man on July 9, 2007 at 4:20 AM | PERMALINK

egbert on July 8, 2007 at 6:28 PM:

Just to go back to your example, nobody is forcing that poor family to live in that apartment building. They have options. They can move to a lead free apartment. They can paint over their lead paint with lead free paint. Or, they may weight that the added expense of painting or moving outweighs the benefit of six measley IQ points and do nothing.

I wouldn't be so hasty to write off those six IQ points, Egbert, given the problems you've demonstrated with your reading comprehension.

Anyway, before you blithely suggest that the free market should be left to decide the appropriate level of lead paint in all cases, you might want to figure in these considerations (you won't, of course, but you should):

First: poor people often CAN'T choose where to live--they don't have much money to start with (they are, after all, "poor"), they may have limited access to transportation, and they may be constrained to move based on proximity to work, shopping, childrens' schools, etc.

Second, I suspect that most newspapers don't have 'lead paint' and 'non-lead paint' rental sections, and I've never seen the use of lead paint mentioned in an ad. It is true that landlords are now required to disclose, before a lease is signed, the use of lead paint in buildings pre-dating 1978, but oddly, it seems that landlords sometimes neglect to fulfill their legal responsibilities in this connection. Hard for tenants to choose between lead paint and lead-free paint when they're never told what was used in their buildings, isn’t it?

Finally, not every lease agreement allows the tenant to repaint an apartment, and painting OVER lead paint doesn't work, anyway--the old paint has to be stripped off. And the apartment itself may not be the only source of exposure--limited contact may be possible in laundry rooms or other public areas, even in entryways and foyers. You may have time to repaint your entire apartment building, Egbert, because you seem to have lots of free time to troll here, but productive members of society often don't.


No, actually I care about the poor and want them to have choices.

Thanks, but I suspect the poor would rather that the government simply did its job and eradicated the problem. Perhaps it's just me, but the choice to live in lead-dappled apartments, like the choice to eat e coli-tainted chicken for $.30 less per pound, is not really a choice I care that much about.

Posted by: skeptic on July 9, 2007 at 4:55 AM | PERMALINK

No, no! That wise chap Egbert is right again.

Everyone needs choices, and the government has no business, absolutely none, eliminating the worst possible choices.

Why, now that I think about it, I want a rebate for all the money spent developing the Salk vaccine, and wiping out smallpox, and testing meat to make sure that it isn't rancid. I should have a choice -- a choice, I say. If I or my poorly-paid help should elect to save a few coppers despite the risk of exposure to polio, or e-coli, or smallpox, or whatever diseases might be harbored by a 14-year-old Thai prostitue sold into the business by her impoverished father, then that should be no concern of those pushy fellows in the capitol district.

Mmm, Thai prostitutes. You know, when I was at Princeton...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 9, 2007 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Please don't feed the trolls, especially the convicted felons.

Just a few words on getting heavy metals out, which we have done for my son, who is on the autism spectrum; many if not most kids on ASD have elevated lead, aluminum and mercury levels. First, there is a new urine test (collect 24 hours' worth) that is superior to the blood tests. Second, diet plays a key part in the body's ability to detox. Fruits, veggies and other anti-oxidants are key. Simple carbohydrates - sugar, junk food, etc., inhibits the body from expelling metals.

Generally we have found the medical establishment well-meaning but clueless. They don't appreciate the role of diet. The type of chelation we were able to do is a more natural, less harsh and intrusive than the one offered up by the medical establishment.

We're really just learning about the effects of lead and other heavy metals. But kids can be de-tox'd, and in a way that doesn't make them deathly sick.

Posted by: MaxGowan on July 9, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Here's an article that shows a little more of the science behind the study. Thought it might answer some questions:
http://www.lead.org.au/lanv8n2/Nevin.pdf

Posted by: enterthepoet on July 9, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I have no particular problem with reducing lead levels in children, but apart from imports from China, the sources of lead today are houses with paint over 30 years old and soils which still have the residue of leaded gas. Most people get exposed to lead as infants, when they pick up dust on their fingers and then put it in their mouths.For those of us over 35 there is a high likelihood that as infants we had blood lead levels 3 to 6 times higher than what is considered a problem today because of leaded gas. Indeed, I assume that is the author's thesis. Kids today simply are not exposed to as much lead as they were when leaded gas was around. There are also some studies which suggest that at least at lower blood lead concentrations, the effect on IQ is temporary--when the blood lead levels fall IQ returns. Do not know if the effect on aggressive behavior changes.

Posted by: terry on July 9, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

According to the doctor who chelated my son, a leading source of lead is from imported produce, from countries using lead-based pesticides.

Posted by: MaxGowan on July 9, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I've been tested and my IQ is between 134 and 140. Your going to tell me if my IQ went up to 146 that that would have a perceptible change in my life? Meh.

Well, I have an IQ of 146 and I'm married to a totally hot supermodel/rocket scientist, and I make a bajillion dollars a year. So yeah, your life would be better. Nah nah.

Seriously, I don't think the point is that every single person's life will individually get better. The point is that having a more intelligent population in general is good for society, and 6-7 points is a significant increase. But who cares about society -- what's important is that individuals have the right to choose to have their brains damaged by toxic chemicals in their environment that they don't even know about. [Please note correct usage of "their" in this post Mr. 140 IQ]

Posted by: ibid on July 9, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, skeptic, painting over lead paint is a fairly effective abatement.

The big problem with lead paint is that is turns to dust,a nd thenm the dust is breathed and ingested. Put a good thick coat of paint over it, and it doesn't dust off.

Posted by: SamChevre on July 9, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Let's pretend for a moment that you are Wile E. Coyote, Supergenius and have an IQ of, say, 136-140. Add 7 points to your IQ test score and that makes you perhaps a slightly huger Supergenius. After all, 7 points only equals 5% of your already stratospheric IQ.

Now, in comparison, take the case of a borderline mentally retarded individual with an IQ of 70. Add 7 points to that person's IQ, and you increase it by 10%...double that of the Supergenius! That seven points possibly makes the difference between someone who lives independently or spends their entire existence in a group home. That's not a petty difference, now is it?

Posted by: Joe Bob on July 9, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Low-income families disproportionately come into contact with lead in several ways: First and foremost, the lead paint found in older structures. Next, lead in the soil. Even though leaded gasoline hasn't been sold for decades, if you live near a highway that residue is still there. Lastly, lead can be found in the effluents of coal-fired power plants, among other industrial sources.

The solution is plain as day: The poor should rent new apartments in a nicer part of town. Better yet, why don't they just move to a nice development in the suburbs?

Why does this have to be so complicated?

Posted by: joe bob on July 9, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

If it's a no-brainer, then Republicans will oppose it. "Let the free market decide!"

Posted by: Steve Simitzis on July 9, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the testers could sample the Fox News audiences. Lead-based mental impairment could be one explanation along with the age thing, the what do you call it, you know.....damn.

Posted by: TJM on July 9, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Lead caused brain impairment is at the bottom of the American character. It's what makes us who we are.

Posted by: Mooser on July 9, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Lead caused brain impairment is at the bottom of the American character. It's what makes us who we are.

Posted by: Mooser on July 9, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately for the lead theory, though I have no doubts that it's an issue, the crime rate has more to do with fluctuations in the numbers of young men. Young men, between 18 and 30 are responsible for 80% of the murders in any given country, and historically, the murder rate tends to fluctuate with the size of the population of young men

Posted by: huge on July 15, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately for the lead theory, though I have no doubts that it's an issue, the crime rate has more to do with fluctuations in the numbers of young men. Young men, between 18 and 30 are responsible for 80% of the murders in any given country, and historically, the murder rate tends to fluctuate with the size of the population of young men

Posted by: huge on July 15, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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