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What Is This Weird Balloon For

crime and the city solution

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What factors caused the dramatic decrease in crime in the US during the 1990s? Tougher sentencing? More police? Economic factors?

According to some studies, the regulation of lead in gasoline and other sources is responsible for not just some, but almost all of the decrease:

The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children’s exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.

What makes Nevin’s work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.

“It is stunning how strong the association is,” Nevin said in an interview. “Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by lead.”

Through much of the 20th century, lead in U.S. paint and gasoline fumes poisoned toddlers as they put contaminated hands in their mouths. The consequences on crime, Nevin found, occurred when poisoning victims became adolescents. Nevin does not say that lead is the only factor behind crime, but he says it is the biggest factor.

That’s certainly not the only reason to regulate lead:

A new research study links performance on SAT scores to lead poisoning in the home

The Republican response?

Republican leadership in Washington attacked $100 million allocated for lead paint removal in President Obama’s economic recovery package as “wasteful” spending

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Written by geek

14/10/2009 at 3:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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