Get the Lead Out.

The last lead smelter in America is closing.

The last lead smelter in America will close in 2014 because the EPA has imposed another 100 million in compliance rules.

Some claim it is a backdoor effort to control firearms–but the big picture is the lead scare–it has enough energy to make this happen even if there was no gun control interest.

Heavy metal poisoning is something that harms kidneys, nerves and brains, but like anything we discuss here at JunkScience the dose makes the poison. The scaremongering is about how much lead is toxic. That’s when the cheatin’ starts in the research on toxicology and the regulatin’ begins.

The safe level of 30 mics per deciliter in the blood has been the target of the scaremongers, who claim they can show IQ effects down to below 10 mics per deciliter in the blood. The target population for preventing lead poisoning is children. So we have a great opportunity for another scare.

The influential research on lead poisoning was spiced up by cheating that was done by, among others, a pediatrician named Herbert Needleman at U of Pittsburgh, who published a landmark article in 1979 in the New England Journal of Medicineclaiming to see terrible lead effects on kid’s intelligence.

Needleman’s research was influential in setting new safe lead levels and creating a general panic. In the early 1970s, anti knock lead was eliminated from gasoline which reduced the environmental load dramatically when combined with other abatements.

The lead issue was pushed foward at the CDC by the Needleman gang who sat on key policy committees.

Lead is not so toxic at low levels as claimed by Needleman, Bellinger and others in the anti lead crusade, and other researchers and the Office on Research Integrity (ORI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could not replicate Needleman’s claims with his data. The ORI of the NIH referred the Needleman problem to the U of Pittsburgh for investigation. Imagine that. In the early 1990s he was found to have intentionally misrepresented his research.

Needleman vigorously defended his work the die was cast (sorry for the lame pun) and lead became a scare item. Needleman was eventually condemned for fraudulent research by a sealed then released findings, but he was not found guilty of misconduct.

Needleman and his fellow scaremongers were condemned by many for excessively conservative recommendations on lead levels not justified by the evidence of toxicity. Our old nemesis Joel Schwartz of Harvard who is now a doyen on air pollution, was a player as a reveiwer of Needleman’s work. Naturally he found no problems and functioned as cover more than once for Needleman’s claims.

Needleman didn’t pay much of a price for what the enviros and lefties call lying for justice. His manipulation was culling high scores and failing to make adjustments in the studies.

Vaporized or ingested lead are problematic and it deposits in tissues like bone. Levels above 30 mics per deciliter are considered problematic and above
40 require chelation therapy to encourage elimination.

Won’t have to worry about the smelter in Missouri, which was located there because of the presence of the large lead ore deposits in the ground.

Best we have limits on exposures, but eliminate by regulatory fiat from EPA amounting to 100 million in mitigation at the remaining lead smelter?

The EPA will eliminate everything that has scare effect, but they decide what has a scare value. And with a no threshold approach, any lead is bad–right?

What about the scary chemicals necessary for making computer stuff in the Silicon Valley–hear much about that?

Steve Milloy wrote insightfully on the lead problem in 2001.

17 responses to “Get the Lead Out.

  1. IIRC the biggest lead poisoning scandal in Missouri turned out to be naturally occuring. An entire city’s water supply was contaminated when the underground river cut through the ore. Galena bubbles up out of the ground there. The mining companies probably make the ground water safer by digging the ore up.

  2. I am Hungarian and in my childhood played with lead soldiers. Whenever bored I would chew the head off the lead soldiers. Today at 75 I have the normal old age problems. But-compared to a lot of my piers my health is in better shape than most. Maybe eating those lead heads has some beneficial effect

  3. Thanks for the “heads up”, Les. That certainly puts it all into perspective. Not everyone is going to be affected the same way, by the same things, anyway. We all have different physiology, and sensitivities. The fear mongers tend to oversimplify, and jump to conclusions.

  4. It’s still all about dose and level of exposure.

    At some levels–no effect but there are toxic levels, pretty well established.

    Problem is the fanatics are no threshold intolerant nannies.

  5. Why has no one had a look at what rep[laced lead in gasoline. I suspect the high octane replacements are the reason why there are no or very, very few sparrows in London, uk when before the 2nd world war there were thousands of them. No bugs. No sparrows. What killed the bugs and what are its affects on humans?. The law of unintended consequences strikes?

  6. Westchester Bill

    Recently the lead nuts wanted to ban bicycles because of lead in tire valves, as if children munched on tire values. And they managed to condemn the nation’s inventory of fire hydrants. The Congress actually passed a law to overcome the idiocy. It was so outrageous that even the moronic Congressman Waxman got it!

  7. My father was a world class automotive auto body repairman. I grew up around his shop and he used lead doing his work on cars. I handled it, was around it when it was used for body filler, I played with it with no physical harm of any sort to myself or my dad, who lived to be 96 years old.

  8. The dry residue I get from this story is that fraud is not misconduct. Or, more precisely, it is not misconduct one can be found guilty of.

  9. Why destroy the lead industry? It all supports what I’ve been saying for years, that bansturbation is the art of the possible. They had a bit of initial success, because everyone has heard of lead poisoning, and so they kept on digging until it died. Then they celebrated.

    The facts, or even what they really believe to be true, are beside the point. Their only purpose is to WIN.

    • What they really want is *control*.
      “The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. ” – Robert A. Heinlein

  10. The list of essential minerals includes Calcium (Ca), Chloride (Cl−), Chromium (Cr), Cobalt (Co) (as part of Vitamin B12), Copper (Cu), Iodine (I), Iron (Fe),
    Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Selenium (Se), Sodium (Na), and Zinc (Zn). Every one of these elements has a threshold below which its *absence* is detrimental to health, and another (higher) threshold above which it becomes toxic.
    There is no that I have seen to show that Lead (Pb) does not also have a toxicity threshold.

  11. Lead is a naturally occurring element. We evolved exposed to and ingesting some quantities of lead. Even though it tends to sorta react like carbon and, thus, can be toxic we very likely can survive some level of lead.

    I do have a system for getting rid of lead: medium to high-velocity expulsion of 15grams or less pellets. Sometimes it helps to encapsulate the lead with copper.

  12. I’ve used a pencil since the time I was four.

  13. After a while you just get tired of idiots. So many people want to ban anything that is toxic so that would mean we would have to ban oxygen and water as both can be toxic if the levels are high enough.

  14. Wake up folks, this is “ammunition control”. they could not force gun control, so take away all the ammunition.

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