Lead and Crime in Honduras

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I get questions:

Happy to help! However, there’s not a lot to say. The Sierra Club confirms that Honduras had remarkably high ambient lead levels through the mid-90s:

Until Honduras eliminated leaded gas, there was no country in the world with a higher concentration of lead per gallon of gasoline. In some parts of the capital, lead levels in the atmosphere exceeded international standards by 500 percent and lead concentrations in blood were rising, especially among children.

In 1996, a campaign by Aire Puro finally convinced the government to ban leaded gasoline, and by 1999 it had been completely phased out. The lag between childhood lead exposure and crime rates later in life is between 18-25 years, which suggests that we’d expect crime in Honduras to peak sometime between 2014 and 2024. And since the lead concentrations before 1996 were very high, we’d expect the peak crime era to be pretty brutal.

This is about all we can say so far. At best, Honduras is a few years past its crime peak, a period when we in the United States were still obsessing over “superpredators” because we didn’t yet realize that crime was declining. At worst, crime is still increasing in Honduras and won’t start to decline for several more years. The middle case—and probably the most likely one—is that crime is at its all-time peak right about now, which goes a long way toward explaining why violence is endemic there and so many people are fleeing. Crime will now start to decrease, but it will probably be five or ten years before we start to see a significant change.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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