Skip to main content

Is exposure to lead a reason for Manitoba's high violent crime rate?

Manitoba has the highest violent crime rate in Canada.   The rate is more than twice as high as most other provinces as you can see from the figure below.   Why is this? 


In a recently released report, I explore the possibility that lead pollution and contamination could be a reason for this high crime rate.  A great deal of evidence now shows that lead can be a reason for a high crime rate. For example the graph shown below is taken from a study in New Orleans.  Lead emissions from leaded gasoline peaked in New Orleans in the  1970s and then decreased rapidly when lead was removed from gasoline (blue line).   Twenty years later there was a peak in violent crime in New Orleans - a peak which corresponded closely to the  peak in leaded gasoline twenty years earlier (purple line).  As has been shown in numerous other studies, which we reference in our report, lead impacts the developing brain during fetal life and in the first few years after birth.   This impact changes the brain and is reflected about 20 years later in an increase in violent crime.   
In my report on lead and crime, I explore the reasons why lead is a cause of crime.  Lead alters the  brain so that children have difficulty learning and their reading progresses slowly,    At the same time the lead has an impact on behaviour so that children affected by lead are more  impulsive, are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and have less self control.  As a result these children often struggle in school and become frustrated, and too often they drop out of, or are suspended from school.  These children, are more likely to engage in substance abuse (whether alcohol or drugs), are more likely to have mental health and addictions issues and are more likely to become juvenile delinquents.   All these are on the pathway from lead exposure to crime as shown in the figure below. 
The good news is that intervention early in childhood can prevent the progression from lead exposure to crime.   The figure below shows the findings of a study conducted in Charlotte and Mecklenberg County in North Carolina.  In this figure you can see as the concentration of lead in the blood of children (aged 1-3 years of age) increases from 1 ug/dL to 10 ug/dL, there is an increase in arrests for violent crime in later years.  However in a  group of children who initially tested at  10 ug/dL or more, who received an intervention (10-I), the violent crime arrests were dramatically reduced.   The intervention consisted of a vigorous approach to reducing exposure to lead (lead remediation), addressing nutritional issues (poor  nutrition can lead to increased lead absorption and lead toxicity), and addressing learning and behavioural issues.  

There is a lot of evidence that there has been too much lead contamination in Winnipeg and in other parts of Manitoba (including from industry, from lead in paint and lead in our drinking water from lead pipes).   We need to act in Manitoba to reduce lead exposure, to test children early in life and to intervene early on whenever a child has a high blood lead level.  For more see the report "Lead and Crime in Manitoba: Urgent Action Needed" by clicking on this link






Comments

  1. Interesting; how much Lead pollution is in Manitoba compared to other provinces? I think that would be an insightful statistic if it’s measurable

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been with the virus for 2 years when i was introduced by a blogger who also narrated Her story online on how she was cured by a herbal medication which was sent by doctor chala, am telling you today that my test results come out negative. Contact Dr chala on his email address dr.chalaherbalherhome@gmail.com or you can visit his website on http://drchalaherbalhome.godaddysites... or https://mywa.link/dr.chalaherbalhome

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Comparison between Manitoba and South Dakota shows dramatic impact of Physical Distancing

Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March.  South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory.   The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions.   This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14.  Manitoba ( red line )  started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then.   South Dakota ( blue line )   has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4.  Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations

Standing up for Seniors

Yesterday in the Legislature I  asked the Minister of Health questions about the care of seniors in personal care homes in Manitoba.   I specfically called for the Minister to increase the training and staffing requirements for personal care homes in Manitoba to bring them up to date.   My questions, the Minister's comments and the Speaker's interjection are below:  Personal-Care-Home  Improvements - Need for Upgrades to Standards and Training Hon. Jon  Gerrard   (River Heights): Madam Speaker, we're very concerned this government is not adapting to the reality of caring for seniors who are living longer. Seniors living in our personal-care homes today have much more challenging health-care conditions than those who were in similar homes even five years ago, and yet the staffing formula, or minimal personnel requirement, is over 20 years old. Too few care aides and nurses are adequately trained to look after residents with dementia and multiple chronic health conditi

I cried today when I heard the report on the Maples Care Home disaster

Today the Pallister  government released the report on the tragedy which occurred at the Maples personal care home in October  to December 2020.   There were far too many people infected with COVID-19 (73 staff and 157 residents) and far too many deaths (56).  It did not have to be this way.  The central finding of the report was: "The review found that while pandemic plans had  been prepared and were in place, the site was not prepared for the significant reduction in available staff once they had been  exposed to COVID-19  and were required to self-isolate.  In addition, the urgency of requests for additional on-site staffing supports were not  fully understood until the situation became critical.   While additional staff were brought in, many were not skilled in providing long-term care services and  lacked training in infection prevention and control and specialized housekeeping skills."    Five  months before, Manitoba Liberals had warned the Premier three times that pre