Exposure to lead in early childhood may be one of the reasons for the wave of violent crime in the 20th century. It also may explain why most criminals come from urban areas.

Joan Lowy writes that economist Rick Nevin discovered that the post World War II use of leaded gasoline, which peaked in the 1970s, meant that nearly 80% of children had lead levels in their blood that exceeded today’s safety threshold. The problem was the worst for inner city children who were not only breathing auto exhaust, but also living in older housing contaminated with lead paint.
read more

Officials in cities across the U.S. are trying to figure out how to get cleaner air. They’ve discovered that when auto exhaust levels go down on weekends, ozone?the main ingredient of smog?increases. They’re worried that as air pollution from car exhaust decreases with the introduction of new, lower-emissions cars, smog levels will climb even higher.

Researchers Robert Harley and Douglas Lawson are studying this “weekend effect.” In abcnews.com, Amanda Onion quotes Harley as saying, “Atmosphere chemistry is different wherever you are. But I don’t think you can dismiss this effect. It has been spreading to other cities.”

Lawson says, “It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. And it’s a double whammy because people spend more time outside on the weekends.” read more

One problem with the Kyoto Treaty is that many countries plan to reduce global warming by planting more carbon-dioxide absorbing trees. However, when the weather is hot, trees spew out more pollution than they suck up.
read more

You already know that automobile exhaust pollutes the outside environment. But did you know that the air INSIDE your car is also dangerously polluted? A study of highway patrol troopers shows that spending too much time inside your car can be bad for your heart.

Jennifer Warner writes that while air pollution levels inside cars are lower than the levels outside, they’re still bad, and can cause cardiovascular problems such as blood clotting and variations in your heart beat. This happened to nine healthy North Carolina state highway patrol troopers who spent all day in their cars.
read more