LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 13 Number 2, April 2013, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editorial Team: Elizabeth O’Brien, Zac Gethin-Damon, Hitesh Lohani and Shristi Lohani

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Comments on “Violent crime, lead poisoning - British export”

by Elizabeth O’Brien, BSc (Sydney), Grad Dip Health Education

re: George Monbiot’s article “Violent crime, lead poisoning - British export. Yes, lead poisoning could really be a cause of violent crime: It seems crazy, but the evidence about lead is stacking up. Behind crimes that have destroyed so many lives, is there a much greater crime?” at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/violent-crime-
- which is itself a commentary on the Kevin Drum article “America's Real Criminal Element: Lead. New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind rampant crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing.” at http://www.pdfmagazines.org/magazines/other/38569-mother-jones-

[NB: this comment was the 642nd comment on this article, on page 5 of the comments at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/violent-crime-lead-poisoning-

Great article George and I do apologise for my fellow-uninformed earthlings for their illogical disparaging comments. As if the rise and rise of colour TV could ever explain the rise and fall of violent crime... Sheesh!

It would be nice if "Lead was withdrawn first from paint and then from petrol at different times in different places" but in fact that is only true in, generally, OECD countries, and only in relation to residential paint, not industrial, marine, auto, etc paint. Two and a half billion people still live in countries (mainly in Asia, Africa and South America) where lead in paint, even residential paint, is still completely uncontrolled today. Thus, the majority of non-OECD countries have withdrawn lead from petrol but not yet from paint. Indeed, only one country, Australia, has banned the addition of lead to all types of paints and inks (in 2010). According to the latest report of the United Nations, there are still 6 countries where leaded petrol is probably used and if you can believe the US-incorporated UK-manufacturer, Innospec Inc - they do not supply 3 of those countries.

Which begs the question, how can Innospec continue to believe and state online that they are the world's only manufacturer of the petrol lead additive, when they have also declared that they have not sold TEL (the lead additive for petrol) to Afghanistan, North Korea or Burma? [Ref: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/oecd/usncp/links/rls/183059.htm ] Which supposedly non-existent other TEL-maker HAS supplied those three countries?

Regarding: "Because they were more likely to live in inner cities, in unrenovated housing whose lead paint was peeling and beside busy roads, African Americans have been subjected to higher average levels of lead poisoning than white Americans" - there is a possible fourth reason that black Americans have higher blood lead levels: due to the way they absorb calcium more efficiently than white Americans, they may absorb more of the lead that they ingest or inhale.

Re: "The product has long been banned from general sale in the UK" – although, the "Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998" permits 0.5 % of total vehicle fuel sales to be leaded, as long as it is “distributed through special interest groups”. One distributor of the lead additive for fuel, that we’ve identified, is Tetraboost, a UK company which, according to the Innospec website, could NOT be being supplied TEL by Innospec.

Innospec’s site states:

"Innospec do not supply tetra ethyl lead products to the general public or to third parties involved in the production of after-treatment additives for sale to the general public. Furthermore, we do not condone the use of tetra ethyl or lead-based additives for such purposes and explicitly advise against any such use."

Yet any member of the general public can order the TEL additive direct from the TetraBOOST website (the order form does not state you MUST be a member of a car club). So where does TetraBOOST get its TEL from? And why does the government allow TetraBOOST to sell direct to the general public, in violation of the European Directive?

I look forward to your next article on leaded petrol being the declaration of the global elimination of leaded petrol in the next few months. To my knowledge, that would be the first ever complete global elimination of any toxic product – and in my opinion – the most deserving toxic product!

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