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How lead exposure relates to temporal changes in IQ, violent crime, and unwed pregnancy

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  • Nevin, Rick

Abstract

This study compares changes in children’s blood lead levels in the United States with subsequent changes in IQ, based on norm comparisons for the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) given to representative national samples of children in 1984 and 1992. The CogAT norm comparisons indicate shifts in IQ levels consistent with the blood lead to IQ relationship reported by an earlier study and population shifts in average blood lead for children under age six between 1976 and 1991. The CogAT norm comparisons also support studies indicating that the IQ to blood lead slope may increase at lower blood lead levels. Furthermore, long term trends in population exposure to gasoline lead were found to be remarkably consistent with subsequent changes in violent crime and unwed pregnancy. Long term trends in paint and gasoline lead exposure are also strongly associated with subsequent trends in murder rates going back to 1900. The findings on violent crime and unwed pregnancy are consistent with published data describing the relationship between IQ and social behavior. The findings with respect to violent crime are also consistent with studies indicating that children with higher bone lead tend to display more aggressive and delinquent behavior. This analysis demonstrates that widespread exposure to lead is likely to have profound implications for a wide array of socially undesirable outcomes.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/35324/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 35324.

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Date of creation: 15 Sep 1999
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Publication status: Published in Environmental Research 1.83(2000): pp. 1-24
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35324

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Related research

Keywords: Lead Exposure; IQ; Violent Crime; Unwed Pregnancy;

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References

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  1. Alan Earl-Slater, 1998. "Report," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 65-68, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Werner Troesken, 2010. "Lead, Mortality, and Productivity," Working Papers 424, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2010.
  2. Nevin, Rick, 2008. "Trends in preschool lead exposure, mental retardation, and scholastic achievement: association or causation?," MPRA Paper 35339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Nevin, Rick, 2007. "Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure," MPRA Paper 35338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Nevin, Rick & Jacobs, David / E. & Berg, Michael & Cohen, Jonathan, 2007. "Monetary benefits of preventing childhood lead poisoning with lead-safe window replacement," MPRA Paper 35340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Philip J. Cook & John H. Laub, 2001. "After the Epidemic: Recent Trends in Youth Violence in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nevin, Rick, 2012. "Lead Poisoning and The Bell Curve," MPRA Paper 36569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Nevin, Rick & Jacobs, David / E., 2006. "Windows of opportunity: lead poisoning prevention, housing affordability, and energy conservation," MPRA Paper 35342, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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