Ecuador Phased Out Leaded Gasoline in 1997. Guess What Happened 17 Years Later?

Alejandro Tamayo/San Diego Union-Tribune via ZUMA

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Over at Vox, Sigal Samuel interviews David Brotherton, who has a theory about Ecuador’s murder rate:

In 2007, the crime-riddled nation of Ecuador did something surprising: It legalized the gangs that had been the source of much of the violence. Then something even more surprising happened over the next decade: Murder rates plummeted…from 15.35 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 5 per 100,000 people in 2017.

Brotherton theorizes that the decline in the murder rate was due to Ecuador’s 2007 decision to legalize gangs. Maybe so! But it’s also interesting to note that Ecuador phased out leaded gasoline between 1997 and 2001. This would lead you to expect a big drop in violent crime between 2014 and 2018. And that’s what happened.

How about that?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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