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Leaded gasoline and violent crime

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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby fennel » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:30 pm

doppel wrote:Talk about blowing out your ass. With all those increased earnings due to higher IQ's, its gotta be at least $1000 dollars returned for every $1 spent, maybe more. Think of the childern, for God's sakes. And you'll just be "taxing" a bunch of landlord basterds. Why replacing all the windows and ripping out the plaster, housing the tenants during re-constrution, can't cost a lot more than your average 60+ year old building is worth. In some cases, little more than several times the current mortgage. Sounds like an idea Neil Heinen can jump on the bandwagon for.
Eh, what are you trying to say? What you've written is run-on gibberish. One can't guess whether you're screaming approbation or frothing about the mouth in disapproval.

Perhaps it's a drunk-post response. We can meet up there later.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby Talon Newsman » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:35 pm

fennel wrote:
doppel wrote:Talk about blowing out your ass. With all those increased earnings due to higher IQ's, its gotta be at least $1000 dollars returned for every $1 spent, maybe more. Think of the childern, for God's sakes. And you'll just be "taxing" a bunch of landlord basterds. Why replacing all the windows and ripping out the plaster, housing the tenants during re-constrution, can't cost a lot more than your average 60+ year old building is worth. In some cases, little more than several times the current mortgage. Sounds like an idea Neil Heinen can jump on the bandwagon for.
Eh, what are you trying to say? What you've written is run-on gibberish. One can't guess whether you're screaming approbation or frothing about the mouth in disapproval.

Perhaps it's a drunk-post response. We can meet up there later.

Now now, be kind. Doppel probably just acquired a taste for paint chips as a child.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby snoqueen » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:29 am

Regarding lead abatement: all that ripping-out was shown to actually spread the lead around in some cases, and for that reason under certain conditions encapsulation instead of removal is indicated. The same principle is followed with asbestos. As long as the material is intact, it's sometimes better just to wrap it up (or bury it under layers of protective lead-free coatings) and wait until the whole building is demolished. The choice varies with the situation and the laws in that particular jurisdiction.

Lead-paint encapsulants are not just regular paint, they're epoxy or polyurethane polymers specially designed for the purpose of keeping lead paint chips and dust out of the environment. So considerable money is saved when they are used. Still, any part of a room subject to friction (window frames, door frames, floors) is not suitable for encapsulation abatement techniques.

In other words, it's not as costly as it used to be, but it's still not cheap.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby kurt_w » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:29 am

kurt_w wrote:There is something of a tradition -- going back literally centuries -- of older generations grousing about how awful the younger generation is. Here's a case where the opposite is true: as those of us born in the pre-1970s era of plentiful tetraethyl lead gradually age and start dying off, we're being replaced by younger people who are smarter, healthier, less prone to violence, and with fewer cognitive impairments.


As violent crime rates continue to drop, the rate of people being sent to prison also drops:

Image

And if anything, this understates the improving trend:

(1) The incarceration rate of young people (who grew up after the era of leaded gasoline) is plummeting;

(2) But this is partially obscured by the fact that the incarceration rate for older people (whose brains were exposed to lots of lead during childhood) are still rising.

Over the past decade, incarceration rates for males ages 18-19 dropped by 51%. But rates for males ages 50-64 actually increased by 45%.

See also: Rick Nevin and Kevin Drum

As the oldsters die off and are replaced by young people from the post-leaded-gasoline era, both the violent crime rate and the prison population will be dropping fast.

The end is finally in sight for the era of pervasive violent crime -- and mass incarceration. That's very good news.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:40 am

Unless other environmental, dietary, or social/legal influences push the incarceration trend back the other way. You're being a bit of a optimist.

For example, while the writers claim a lack of funding for prisons and other policy changes aren't the cause of the lower incarceration rates, nothing says the hardcore right wing can't dream up new reasons to imprison people and find the money to do so. The charges could be entirely unrelated to violence. China does this all the time and focuses on artists and other perceived dissidents.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby kurt_w » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:00 pm

snoqueen wrote:You're being a bit of a optimist.


Of course, because there's grounds for optimism. Or so it seems to me.

The two big drivers of mass incarceration over the past few decades have been:

(a) Violent crime fueled by a generation of young males whose brains were damaged in childhood by exposure to tetraethyl lead; and

(b) The drug war.

Well, (a) is now winding down, and there's at least potential for progress on (b) as well -- look at what's happening in Washington State, Colorado, and elsewhere.

Contrast this with the way things looked 15 or 20 years ago. It's a huge change for the better. You're right that we can't predict what new factors could appear in the future. But the factors we do know about are getting better.

------------

Edited to fix typo in last line and make other minor changes
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby Detritus » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:37 pm

kurt_w wrote:
kurt_w wrote:There is something of a tradition -- going back literally centuries -- of older generations grousing about how awful the younger generation is.

Millenia, probably, although I gather that the quote from Socrates bemoaning the decay of the younger generation is bogus.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby kurt_w » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:59 pm

There's probably a cave painting somewhere in Lascaux, which, if we could only understand it, would be saying The young kids today, they just want to sit around the fire and listen to music. When I was a kid we'd be out hunting mammoths every afternoon...
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby ilikebeans » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:47 pm

BBC has a recent article on this.

(Thanks, Kurt, for raising this topic again.)
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby fennel » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:07 pm

So this is why Reagan was elected.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby Gentle Man » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:27 pm

kurt_w wrote:It's truly remarkable how much explanatory power leaded gasoline has in the evolution of violent crime over the past 80 years. I'm convinced that a large part (not all, but a large part) of the decline in violent crime rates since the mid-1990s can be explained by the phasing out of leaded gasoline starting in the mid-1970s.


Interesting concept, but you have to remember there is a logical fallacy called "Post hoc ergo propter hoc." And there's a huge problem that would need to be explained, namely, if violent crimes were due "in large part" to exposure to lead in gasoline, then why wasn't violent crime more evenly distributed? Why would the Metcalfe neighborhood in Milwaukee have appreciably higher rate of violent crime than a nearby neighborhood?

I suppose one could lay out all sorts of graphs showing the changes in the numbers or rates of crime with some other variable.

Unemployment for example:

http://inequalitiesblog.wordpress.com/2 ... -downturn/

Liberalized gun laws for another:

http://onlygunsandmoney.blogspot.com/20 ... t-two.html

Exposure to lead in gasoline presumably didn't discriminate if you were rich or poor, employed or unemployed, well-educated or a grade school drop out. Were the rich employed college graduates committing their share of violent crime? Were they not breathing the same air?
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby Gentle Man » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:40 pm

Detritus wrote:
kurt_w wrote:
kurt_w wrote:There is something of a tradition -- going back literally centuries -- of older generations grousing about how awful the younger generation is.

Millenia, probably, although I gather that the quote from Socrates bemoaning the decay of the younger generation is bogus.


Hard to say. Socrates wrote nothing. Most of what is attributed to him comes from Plato who seems at times to present us with a historical picture of Socrates, and at other times to simply use him as a character in his dialogues, raising the question whether Plato simply used the characters as a way of expressing his own thoughts or feelings.

Another portrayal of Socrates is as a character in Aristophenes' satrical play The Clouds, which might be the source of his "these kids today" quote, or misquote.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby snoqueen » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:46 pm

A lot of the lead exposure was attributed to peeling or powdering lead paint in old houses. In fact, the court proceeding that brought the end of Mautz Paint, an old Madison paint manufacturer, was directly tied to the possibility their pre-1978 paint had contributed to lead poisoning Iin Milwaukee's inner city.

People living in post 1978 housing (that's the year they regulated against lead in paint -- lead makes excellent paint, for those of us who remember using the earlier formulations professionally) -- those people were not exposed to lead at home. Same with those living in better maintained houses where disintegrating paint was removed or (later on) safely encapsulated. The amount of exposure and ingestion was directly correlated with the amount of impairment. Ingestion was by mouth (kids putting their fingers in their mouth), and only secondarily by breathing the dust.

That's how there got to be an economic differential in lead exposure and its effects. Impairment was worst among children who crawled on the floor or went other places the dust accumulated in these old houses, or played outside on soils contaminated by flaking paint from house exteriors.
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby Gentle Man » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:03 pm

Well there was a time when everybody had lead paint in their houses. I doubt you'll find crime evenly distributed during that period, or any period.

Kevin Drum does talk about lead paint and says you cannot draw many conclusions about it's role.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2 ... -crime-too
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Re: Leaded gasoline and violent crime

Postby snoqueen » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:38 pm

I'm not really disagreeing. Correlation doesn't mean causation, it just means let's take a look. Kevin Drum's article seems perfectly sensible to me.

However, the possibility low income kids took in more lead than higher income kids during certain decades is a theory that could be tested empirically. It's reasonable to suppose somebody has done just that if we wanted to dig around and find it. I'm not sure either of us has the motivation at this point.
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