- Lead in petrol and the crime rate
correlation != causation
kind of interesting article, but a journalist couldn’t use a statistic to save their life.
there must be so many things that changed over a 10-20 year period (or longer) that it must be impossible to directly correlate any two curves.Posted 3 years ago
I’ve not read the article yet but,
Correlation does not equal causation. That is to say, for instance, that a reduction in crime rates and a reduction in pollutants could both be symptomatic of something else; a maturing society perhaps.
Mobile Phones, WiFi and the cancer rate has to be another…
Has it? Why?
Again, I’ve not looked it up yet, but if cancer incidence per capita has increased (has it?) then my gut reaction would be to attribute that to an improvement in diagnostic skills.Posted 3 years ago
Oh, here we go.
From that graph you can clearly see the large spike in the last 20 years where everyone got home broadband and started carrying a mobile… oh.Posted 3 years ago
Not to mention the phasing out of mercury amalgam tooth fillings, due to fluoridation of water and replacement by synthetic cements.
Yes, probably best not to mention that. Given that a) we haven’t – white fillings are offered for cosmetic reasons – and b) the people most vocal about any perceived health risks are the ones wanting to sell you new ones.
Amalgam doesn’t have mercury sloshing about inside it, it’s a stable alloy.Posted 3 years agoRockape63Member
You’ve reminded me of a book by Steven Levitt called ‘Freakonomics’.
He mentioned a few things like the removal of lead in petrol causing a reduction in the crime rate. However the biggest issue he raised was the claim that the legalisation of abortion in the States made a huge impact on the crime levels 15-20 years after it was introduced.Posted 3 years ago
More likely to be due to Wimpy being ousted as the UK burger place of choice in the 80’s and replaced by Mcdonalds and Burger King in much greater numbers.
Crime stats will have an approximate 10 yr lag of course, cos all the kids being fed Happy Meals for birthday treats instead of ice cream and jelly, probably aren’t going to be crime stats until late teens / early twenties.
Thatcher nuking milk in schools must have added to that general increase in intelligence, better exam results, and eventually reduced crime stats.
😉Posted 3 years agoWackoAKMember
20 years where everyone got home broadband and started carrying a mobile… oh.
That graph needs to be adjusted to incorporate age? We are living longer = higher chance of cancer. Also, detection rates are much better.
Can’t believe no-one has posted the pirate/global warming graph yet…Posted 3 years agomolgripsSubscriber
there must be so many things that changed over a 10-20 year period (or longer) that it must be impossible to directly correlate any two curves.
The article is worth a read. They did more than just plot a couple of graphs. They did it for lots of countries and the correlation is extremely strong. So unless something else happened at the exact same time lead was phased out in the different countries (which was at different times), it’s definitely something to consider.Posted 3 years ago
Monbiot (yes I know) has more on it here
The hypothesis does seem a bit more robust than a coarse population level correlation though.Posted 3 years agobrooessMember
This story has only come about in the first year of 650B, you’ll notice… the new wheel size will save the world!
Radio 4 had a programme on this on Monday where Michael Howard was trying to take credit for his focus on imprisoning people in the 90’s (even though this reduction in crime is a global trend). The more sensible commentators pointed to a whole range of factors which could all be partially linked to the fall in crime, rather than one single, definitive cause e.g. the cost of consumer electronics falling makes them worth less on the black market therefore not worth mugging and burgling in the first place… also, it’s cheap enough for people to buy for themselves rather than nicking it.
I suspect in the UK at least it’s because would-be criminals are now too fat to get out of the house to go and nick your stuff…Posted 3 years agoBlobOnAStickSubscriber
I’ve had a look around, but can’t see this mentioned on here, so apologies if it’s been done.
I find this absolutely fascinating; could it also point to the ever increasing pass rates of exams?
I suppose there’s a history of discovering things that we surround ourselves with cause us harm (arsenic in wallpaper etc) but it makes me wonder about all the things that we expose ourselves to as a society. For example; antibacterial wipes/cleaners, diesel particulates, ‘conditioned’ air, fortified foods, washing products, deodorants etc etc.
Mind you, it’s easy to come over all Daily Wail about it eh?Posted 3 years agoTom_W1987Member
No, but pretty much all of epidemiology relies on using correlations to figure out what is going on as human biology is so complex you can’t just identify the cause from cold.
Epidemiology uses a number of techniques to try to differentiate between correlation and causation.
Linking mobile phone use and cancer together just because both have seen rises in the past 20 years is not “epidemiology”.Posted 3 years agonedrapierSubscriber
And Innospec, the company that makes the lead additive (tetraethyl lead), got a big old fine a few yers ago for bribing Indonesian officials to sytmie the legislation that would ban leaded petrol. I’m pretty sure they’re the only company in the world that makes it.
I had a look round their factory in the beautiful Ellesmere Port a little while ago. The sludge pit made it into my top 3 places I hope never to fall into.Posted 3 years agorichmtbSubscriber
Its quite and interesting article and it does look like they might have something beyond a simple correlation.
Difficult to see how it could be proved definitively though without deliberately poisoning a bunch children and then seeing how they get on in 20 years time.Posted 3 years ago
Substantial concerns have been expressed over the safety of some plasticizers, especially because several ortho-phthalates have been classified as potential endocrine disruptors with some developmental toxicity reported.
… where  is an offline resource so I can’t check it. A bit more googling finds a few articles,
… is a good read and seems fairly balanced.Posted 3 years ago
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