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An Astonishing Argument for Why Violent Crime Rates Have Dropped

Less lead. It’s ridiculous -– until you see the evidence.

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8. Paul B. Stretesky and Michael J. Lynch, June 2004. The Relationship between Lead and Crime.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol.45, no.2, pp214-229. doi: 10.1177/002214650404500207

9. Howard W. Mielke and Sammy Zahran, 2012. The urban rise and fall of air lead (Pb) and the latent surge and retreat of societal violence. Environment International Vol. 43, pp 48–55. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2012.03.005

10. Bureau of Justice, no date given. Homicide Trends in the U.S.

11. PB Stretesky and MJ Lynch, May 2001, as above.

12. Howard W. Mielke and Sammy Zahran, 2012, as above.

13. Herbert L. Needleman et al, 2002. Bone lead levels in adjudicated delinquents: a case control study. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Vol. 24, pp711 –717.

14. David K. Marcus, Jessica J. Fulton and Erin J. Clarke, 2010. Lead and Conduct Problems: a Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, vol.39, no.2, pp234-241.

15. R.K. Byers and E.E. Lord, 1943. Late effects of lead poisoning on mental development, American Journal of Diseases of Children, Vol. 66, pp. 471– 483.

16. Kim M Cecil et al, 2008. Decreased Brain Volume in Adults with Childhood Lead Exposure. Decreased Brain Volume in Adults with Childhood Lead Exposure. PLoS Medicine, vol. 5, no. 5. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050112

17. Joel T. Nigg et al, January 2010. Confirmation and Extension of Association of Blood Lead with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and ADHD
Symptom Domains at Population-Typical Exposure Levels. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. Vol. 51, no.1, pp.58–65. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02135.x.

18. Joe M. Braun et al, 2006. Exposures to Environmental Toxicants and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in U.S. Children. Environmental Health Perspectives vol. 114, pp.1904–1909. doi:10.1289/ehp.9478

19. John Paul Wright, Danielle Boisvert and Jamie Vaske. July 2009. Blood Lead Levels in Early Childhood Predict Adulthood Psychopathy. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, vol.7, no.3, pp.208-222. doi: 10.1177/1541204009333827

20. Rick Nevin, 2007, as above, reports that “there is no lower blood lead threshold for IQ losses”.

21. David Bellinger concludes that “No level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe’ and even the current ‘low’ levels of exposure in children are associated with neurodevelopmental deficits.”. April 2008. Very low lead exposures and children’s neurodevelopment. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, Vol.20, no.2, pp172-177. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e3282f4f97b

23. Royal Society of Canada, 1986. Lead in the Canadian Environment. Science and Regulation. Cited by Rick Nevin, 2007, as above.

24. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1988. The Nature and Extent of Lead Poisoning in Children in the United States. US Department of Health and Human Services. Cited by Rick Nevin, 2007, as above.

25. Rick Nevin, 2007, as above.

26. Rick Nevin, February 2012. Lead Poisoning and The Bell Curve. Munich Personal RePEc Archive MPRA Paper No. 36569.



29. Anne Roberts and Elizabeth O’Brien, 2011. Supply Chain for the Lead in Leaded Petrol. LEAD Action News, vol.11, no.4.



32. I was passed by Defra to the Department for Transport, then by the DfT to the Department for Business, which told me it was all down to the European list. It was clear that none of them were remotely interested in the issue, or had considered it before.

George Monbiot is the author Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. Read more of his writings at This article originally appeared in the Guardian.
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