LEAD AND TERRORISM….Yesterday I got an email from a reader tying together my terrorism and lead abatement posts. “Maybe the terrorist threat would subside if only we would work to remove lead worldwide?” he joked.
Ha ha. But here’s Brad Plumer:
Another place where a massive lead-abatement really needs to happen is in the developing world. In Pakistan, some 80 percent of children have dangerous levels of lead in their bloodstream, which in turn affects childhood development and, presumably, intelligence.
“Affects childhood development,” of course, is a euphemism for “makes them dumb and violent.” Maybe not such a joke after all.
Brad also reports something else I didn’t know: namely that the Bush administration is apparently in favor of loosening lead regulations in the United States, a transparent bit of industry pandering that makes the Iraq war look like a sober and prescient piece of public policy. Here’s Mark Kleiman on that:
Lead was banned from gasoline during the 1980s. The job was done by the Reagan Administration. Vice President George H.W. Bush and his “regulatory reform” task force had proposed loosening lead limits, but a brilliant analysis spearheaded by my friend Joel Schwartz (then at the EPA, now at the Harvard School of Public Health) managed to turn the proposal around; even the folks at OMB couldn’t deny the data when they had their noses rubbed in them. Such deference to fact would be unthinkable today.
That’s the difference between old reactionary Republicans and contemporary reactionary Republicans. As a friend of mine at DoJ said to me in the summer of 2001, “I never thought I’d look back on the Reagan Administration as the good old days.”
Somebody please just make these people go away.