The end of the lead additive era is upon us.
When I was a kid, no one understood the effects of lead on the human body.
I had many lead toys, I lived in a lead-painted house, and there were lead pipes in our water system.
By the time I was able to drive, lead was in the gasoline – which made the cars run much smoother.
During the 1960s and ’70s, more and more studies had startling conclusions about the effects of lead on the environment and on us as a species, especially our children.
It was only then that we started to take the lead out of the shot in our shotgun shells and ordered it banned from many of our consumer products.
The World Health Organization (WHO) used the word “catastrophic” when describing the effects of lead in our environment.
Some studies then concluded that kids exposed to lead particles from car exhaust during their development years had the effect of making the children more violent, anti-social, with lower IQ’s, and more prone to violence and criminality.
Studies also concluded that there was a 20-year time lag in the cause and effect.
In a very well written article in the Economist - The World’s 2013 edition, Ann Wroe pointed out that last year only a few countries were still putting lead in their gasoline: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea, Sierra Leone, and Yemen.
The United Nations has been leading the charge and continues to work on these seven countries.
Wroe points out that lead opponents consider their case is proven.
“Lead’s pernicious presence lowers intelligence and increases aggression typified by the urge to roar through dusty cities in heavily armed, pollution-spewing trucks.”
I absolutely love that.
In the U.S., which banned lead in gasoline in 1996, some proponents have estimated that IQ scores have already risen and 50 million crimes have not taken place because of a diminishing amount of lead in their children’s systems.
They will be hitting the 20-year mark in 2016.
If there is any truth to any of this, Canada should already be able to prove it, because it banned lead in gasoline in either 1991 – or 1993 depending on what source I go to.
We are already through our 20-year cycle. I don’t know if our kids are smarter or less prone to violence and criminality, but I am pretty sure they are getting bigger.
And talk about timing. Pitt Meadows Councillor Doug Bing has been acclaimed as the provincial Liberal candidate in the riding of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.
I am sure Doug was not aware that within hours of his press release, his leader’s chief of staff would walk the plank.
– Gordy Robson is a former Maple Ridge mayor and a local businessman who was raised in this community. His opinion column appears Tuesdays in the print and/or online versions of The TIMES. Questions and reactions can be emailed to Gordy c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.