Crime rate has nosedived in the US and Europe in recent years. As elated as they are, administrations and criminologists are working overtime to find plausible reasons for the unexpected decline.
Learned men from diverse fields have their own explanations that are creative, wayward, and often outrageous. Few attribute the dramatic turnaround to the gun proliferation and better implementation of laws on drugs, while others consider it as an outcome of the legitimization of abortions or incarcerations. Also doing the rounds is the Lead-crime hypothesis, which is finding takers aplenty.
A brief insight into Lead-crime hypothesis
The lead-crime hypothesis is perched on the belief that lead-poisoning results into aggressive behavior and poor decisions. Americans had been using tetraethyl lead in gasoline to improve their vehicle’s efficiency until 1973 when it was banned by legislation. The move proved to be instrumental in bringing down airborne Lead pollution.
Yet another source of lead poisoning was Lead-based paints prominently used in homes. A legislation brought in 1978 banned the use of lead-based paints completely. Children born after the imposition of restrictions inhaled lead-free air, which accounts for their less aggressive tendencies and better decision making abilities.
Substantiations of the lead-crime theory
Rick Nevin is an economist of repute. The US government’s initiative to make old buildings rid of lead paint in the early 1990s drew his attention. Rick focused his efforts to unearth the correlation between crime and lead poisoning. To this end, he studied the crime rate in the pre- and post- tetraethyl leaded gasoline era.
The findings were startling to say the least. The crime rate showed an upward trend in the 1940s and nosedived in the 1990s. This was the exact time when vehicles spewed tetraethyl lead into our environment and lead based paints had an impact on the mental development of kids.
Dr. Jiang Hong Liu, a revered criminologist, has been working on the lead-crime theory for the past several years. He has conducted a study on 1341 children below 5 years of age with high lead concentration in the blood. If his recent findings are something to go by, the children have unvarying revealed behavioral issues that one associate with lead poisoning. Numerous other studies have further inveterate the lead-crime hypothesis.
Impact of lead on human health
That lead can have devastating impact on human health is an established fact. Human bones, teeth and blood have an affinity for lead. Once absorbed into the body, the deadly metal can impair cognition in infants and affect reasoning in adults. Prolonged exposure to lead may result into stunted growth, severe pain in the abdomen, serious renal disorders and anemia.
Lead poisoning can wreck havoc with the nervous system and cause irreparable damage to the reproductive organs in males and females alike. Apparently, females working in lead-related industry are vulnerable to miscarriages and infertility issues.
At first sight, lead-crime hypothesis may appear to be a farfetched explanation for decline in crime rates. Given the stats, the hypothesis holds some water.