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Then lead, now mercury

2017-10-20 22:10:31.638707+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Learning from the fight against lead.

According to some estimates, the use of leaded gasoline stole five or more IQ points from those of us who grew up in big U.S. cities during the 1960s and early 1970s, when contamination peaked. Studies show that children with higher levels of lead in their baby teeth do worse on tests of reading ability, grammatical reasoning, vocabulary, reaction times and hand-eye coordination. And the doses back then were massive -- typical kids had blood levels five times what’s known to cause brain damage. In case there was any doubt, newer studies confirm that lead’s damaging effects on children are permanent.

Eventually, science moved policymakers to take action. Now people around the world face the same challenge with mercury -- another metal that’s toxic to children’s brains. Do we stall and debate while risking harm, or act with a greater level of precaution? The lessons of the past offer some guidance.

[ related topics: Children and growing up History Astronomy Law Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Then lead, now mercury made: 2017-10-21 09:38:41.52345+00 by: DaveP

So that explains why so many people act like idiots? They're all just dain bramaged? :-/

#Comment Re: Then lead, now mercury made: 2017-10-23 15:12:08.742113+00 by: Dan Lyke

That seems to explain a hell of a lot of the '80s...

#Comment Re: Then lead, now mercury made: 2017-10-24 09:45:38.034288+00 by: DaveP

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. But then I don't think humanity has gotten much smarter since.

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