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Thread: Is it true that lead poisoning can cause criminals, social deviance, drug use and addiction?

  1. #1 Is it true that lead poisoning can cause criminals, social deviance, drug use and addiction? 
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    Number of people said lead poisoning in the US in the 70's, 80's and 90's was causing criminals,crime, social deviance, drug use and addiction? Is it true lead poisoning can cause criminals, social deviance, drug use and addiction?

    And now that lead poisoning is down so is every thing else.


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  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Correlation is not causation... Lead poisoning can cause problems in the brain but I've never heard of any links to criminal behaviour...


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  4. #3  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Correlation is not causation... Lead poisoning can cause problems in the brain but I've never heard of any links to criminal behaviour...
    I have heard it suggested before but I don't know if there is any real evidence for it.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Maybe the OP can cite a source for us...
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  6. #5  
    exchemist
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    I found this passage in the Wiki article on lead poisoning:


    " Lead exposure in children is also correlated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anti-social behaviour.[66] Elevated lead levels in children are correlated with higher scores on aggression and delinquency measures.[5] A correlation has also been found between prenatal and early childhood lead exposure and violent crime in adulthood.[62] Countries with the highest air lead levels have also been found to have the highest murder rates, after adjusting for confounding factors.[5] A May 2000 study by economic consultant Rick Nevintheorizes that lead exposure explains 65% to 90% of the variation in violent crime rates in the US.[73][74] A 2007 paper by the same author claims to show a strong association between preschool blood lead and subsequent crime rate trends over several decades across nine countries.[75][76] Lead exposure in childhood appears to increase school suspensions and juvenile detention among boys.[77] It is believed that the U.S. ban on lead paint in buildings in the late 1970s, as well as the phaseout of leaded gasoline in the 1970s and 1980s, partially helped contribute to the decline of violent crime in the United States since the early 1990s.[76]

    So at least some researchers see a link.
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  7. #6  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    OK, thanks, so there is some evidence for it, I'm still not convinced that reduction in lead levels is the main driver for lower crime, "deviance" or drug use though... There are many other factors that will also have an effect.
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  8. #7  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    OK, thanks, so there is some evidence for it, I'm still not convinced that reduction in lead levels is the main driver for lower crime, "deviance" or drug use though... There are many other factors that will also have an effect.
    Yes I agree that a claim of that magnitude is hard to sustain, given the myriad social factors also at work.

    Anyway, lead poisoning is thought to have had a number of bad effects on Handel. He went to Aix-la Chapelle to take the waters until he got over it: The madness of George Frideric Handel | The Independent
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