The Crime Drop of the 2020’s?

The E.P.A. has proposed new rules that would drastically reduce the permissible level of lead in air pollution. If the change goes into effect, it will mark the first time lead emissions standards have been tightened since the agency went after leaded gasoline in the 1970’s. If lead contributed to the crime falloff of the […]

Who Pays for Lead Poisoning?

In 2006, a Rhode Island jury found three major paint makers liable for the toxic effects of lead paint on children. One of those effects may have been a rise in the crime rate — and the removal of lead from house paint has been linked to the crime drop of the 1990’s (as Levitt […]


We’ve looked at how the rising cost of metals has changed the value of the coins in your pocket, the pipes in your walls, and the parts under your car. It turns out that gun lovers and local police have been looking at it, too. Consider the bullet. Basically, it’s made of lead wrapped in […]

Did Banning Lead Lower Crime?

The major news media (see for instance here and here) have been reporting recently on the hypothesis that banning lead from gasoline caused a reduction in crime. This follows a similar article in the Washington Post a few months ago, which I blogged about at the time. Since a lot of people have written to […]