Crime down

Times, 5 January 2015:

Ross Clark fails to recognise the evidence linking the removal of lead from petrol with the fall in violent crime (“Murders are down and we don’t know why”, Jan 3). Lead burden is most dangerous in utero and infancy, so high levels of exposure can be expected to manifest themselves in dysfunctional behaviour among teenagers and young adults 20 years later. In the US, lead was removed from petrol in the late Seventies and violent crime fell dramatically in the Nineties. In the UK lead was removed between 1985 and 1995 and we are seeing the benefits two decades later.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones FRCP FRCPath
Former chairman, Campaign for Lead Free Air


Yes, we’ll fix the climate, but not just now

Independent, 3 January 2015:

Amol Rajan asks: “How can you get global co-operation on climate change when the economics of it are so unpredictable?” (Letter from the Editor, 27 December) The economics of energy supply will remain unpredictable for as long as we rely on internationally traded commodities (fossil fuels) which are subject to regional geopolitics and politically inspired decisions about supply and demand.

The situation is made even more uncertain by the fact that supplies are eventually going to run out, and may well be stranded in situ long before that if rapidly worsening climate change forces worldwide decarbonisation.

This should be compared with renewable sources of energy, where the price is predictable and the supply is inexhaustible, locally produced, and non-polluting. Maybe the question should be: “How can you hope to have economic stability until the issue of climate change is settled?”

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire