Lead and its analogs


Astrological symbol for Saturn, and lead; in public domain.

A quick thought today –

In the past, there have been some who have suggested lead is one of the reasons that the Roman Empire fell.  This, of course, has been challenged.   There does seem to be a correspondence between the centuries long decline of Rome and our own world; debasing of the currency, military overextension, and of course, environmental factors.

What is the equivalent of lead poisoning in our own society?  Yes, we’ve gotten rid of leaded gasoline, and it may have some interesting good beneficial effects (a reduction in violent crime, for example).   High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) might be one candidate; something known to be bad (the Romans knew lead was bad for you, as others claim high fructose corn syrup isn’t great for you), but still being ubiquitously used.  Pesticides, too much screen time; there are other candidates for what is helping cause our power dive into the salt flats of history.   Which modern chemical or ubiquitously known problem agent seems to match the madness-inducing powers of lead?

Food for thought.  Would a ban on HFCS have similar effects as banning leaded gasoline?

3 thoughts on “Lead and its analogs

  1. Cassandra (@Cererean)

    I don’t think HFCS is any worse than sugar, really.

    There are a lot of chemicals to choose from, if you want to compare something to lead. Pesticides, plastics leaching, fumes from cars… but in terms of damage to health, sugar’s probably high up on the list.


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