Lead Exposure Limits--A Magic Bullet for Criminal Behaviour?
This story seems to have been rushed to the wires rather prematurely.
I sourced it from Bloomberg, but you can find it on a myriad of other sites, with the same breathless headlines: "Lead Link Found to Criminal Behaviour," or similar.
The story says a recent study found a link between early lead exposure and criminal behaviour. This isn't necessarily what the scientists involved appear to be saying, from the actual quotes.
Metro ain't no kinda scientist, but he can read print:
Dietrich and his colleagues began the research by recruiting pregnant women in inner-city Cincinnati from 1979- 1984. The researchers measured the lead in the blood of the women during pregnancy and of their children throughout their youth.So wouldn't the headline more properly read "Inner-City Youth Who Grow Up In Social Housing More Likely to Commit Crime: Study"?
Most of the families lived in rental housing or public housing projects where lead paint often flaked off the walls, joining the dust on the floor.
Perhaps then it wouldn't be a story.
To be fair, the study suggests that some of the brain structures whose development is retarded are those that control impulse.
But impulse control is a problem for all social strata. It's just that middle-class folks can usually buy that thing they suddenly have an impulse to acquire. Kids who grow up in the projects may not have that option.