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Thread: Lead pollution and Crime in Ireland

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    Default Lead pollution and Crime in Ireland

    Mother Jones has a very interesting series of articles at the moment on how lead air pollution - mainly from leaded petrol - was a major cause of high crime rates seen during the late 20th century. It sounds extraordinary, but lead damages the brain development of children and has been shown to make them grow into more violent and impulsive adults, and more prone to crime. This particularly effects disadvantaged kids who grow up in the inner cities - where there was substantially higher levels of lead pollution in the air.

    America's Real Criminal Element: Lead | Mother Jones

    The article above is definitely worth a read. Its main suggestion is that crime increase about 20 after high lead air pollution is seen - because it takes 20 years for the effected kids to grow up and commit crimes - drops around 20 years after lead pollution is reduced.

    Similar numbers are repeated in every country that has been studied: http://pic.plover.com/Nevin/Nevin2007.pdf

    Ireland didn't ban leaded petrol until 2000, a number of years after the US. I looked up the Irish EPA' lead pollution records which are available online back to 1997. In that year the concentration of lead in the air of Dublin was up to 400 ng/m^3. By 2002, (after the ban) it had dropped to 20 ng/m^2. By 2012 this had dropped to around 3 ng/m^3 - which is more than 100 times less than in 1997.

    With a 20 year lag, we can expect to see crime rates begin to fall over the next few years. If the US example is repeated here, violent crime may fall by up to 80% by the year 2020.

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    Interesting, but it does appear to be only a correlation without any further evidence of lead contributing to crime levels. So I'd be very wary of it for now..
    Redacted.

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvotingMachine0197 View Post
    Interesting, but it does appear to be only a correlation without any further evidence of lead contributing to crime levels. So I'd be very wary of it for now..
    Did you not read the second page of the article?

    A second study found that high exposure to lead during childhood was linked to a permanent loss of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex—a part of the brain associated with aggression control as well as what psychologists call "executive functions": emotional regulation, impulse control, attention, verbal reasoning, and mental flexibility. One way to understand this, says Kim Cecil, another member of the Cincinnati team, is that lead affects precisely the areas of the brain "that make us most human."

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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    Did you not read the second page of the article?
    Crikey, no, I missed page two. I'll read it in a bit.
    Redacted.

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    Anyone know where I'd find crime stats for Ireland for the last 20 years?

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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    Anyone know where I'd find crime stats for Ireland for the last 20 years?
    Search - CSO - Central Statistics Office
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    Anyone know where I'd find crime stats for Ireland for the last 20 years?
    This is Ireland.

    Therefore I predict

    1) Stats will not be publicly available

    2) If your contention is correct, our lawyer class will be thinking already whether somene can be sued.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    Anyone know where I'd find crime stats for Ireland for the last 20 years?
    Interactive data - Crime Statistics Ireland | The Irish Times

    Since 2003 only.
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seabhcan View Post
    Anyone know where I'd find crime stats for Ireland for the last 20 years?
    One more. 200 to 2009.

    Eurostat - Data Explorer
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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