What's the deal with lead & crime?
"The biggest source of lead [since World War II], it turns out, wasn't paint. It was leaded gasoline. And if you chart the rise and fall of atmospheric lead caused by the rise and fall of leaded gasoline consumption, you get a pretty simple upside-down U: Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early '40s through the early '70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted.
lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America
The good news on violent crime
The statistics that brought on this research about lead and crime are the result of what has been an unexplainable drop in violent crime throughout America in the '80s and '90s. By 2010, "violent crime rates in New York City had plunged 75 percent from their peak in the early '90s." Cities around the country experienced similarly dramatic declines.
While research on this link was published as early as 2000, more recent research has helped confirm the link between lead and violent crime in more detail. Scientists looked at specific states that reduced lead in gasoline first and found a faster drop in violent crime. Other researchers looked at countries around the world and saw crime drop following their reduction in leaded gasoline.
The bad news on lead
They noted "no safe blood lead level in children has been identified." However, the CDC set a specific statistical limit to try to stay below to avoid significant adverse effects. The link between lead and violent crime may be explained by lead's interference with neurological developments. Increasing exposure has been related to reduced IQ levels.
They noted iron, calcium, and other mineral supplements may be beneficial to reduce lead absorption. A healthy diet full of antioxidants from fresh vegetables and fruits also helps the bodies natural ability to eliminate toxins - one more reason to eat your broccoli!