Social Issues Research Paper
Rough draft due:
Final draft due:
Topic: A social issue chosen from the accompanying list.
Details: Paper should be 7-9 pages, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, size 12. The length requirement does not include the Works Cited page, which should be attached at the end of the paper.
Context: An effective researched argument does more than just relate information–and it goes beyond simply summarizing and reviewing articles and/or stringing together a bunch of quotes from sources. Instead, you need to put forth your own educated opinion – expressed as a clear claim supported by valid reasons – and incorporate your synthesized research to create a cohesive, articulate argument intended to persuade a target audience who is also participating in the conversation.
Conventions: Because the purpose of this essay is to persuade your readers to agree with your claim, your researched argument should:
â— Establish the context of your conversation and the importance of the topic under consideration.
â— Address a particular audience of readers invested in the topic and are possibly already participating in the conversation youâ€ve entered.
â— Use the most effective rhetorical approach to reach your intended audience. Such an approach might include any or all of the following:
1. convincing your audience to consider the validity of your position.
2. broadening your audienceâ€s perception on the topic.
3. clarifying your audienceâ€s understanding of the topic.
â— Declare your position on the issue by making a claim.
â— Develop your argument by supporting your claim with evidence.
â— Consider alternative positions/counterarguments within conversation.
â— Conclude by tying together your key points and providing readers with ideas for further consideration.
Sources: You are required to use at least 8 sources. At least 5 of the sources must be scholarly.
Style: MLA. You can look up any information on MLA style that you need by searching for â€œPurdue OWL MLAâ€ on Google. Weâ€ll talk more about this.
Grading: See next page
Hereâ€s the sources for writing the paper.
Hereâ€s the sample from Instructor
November 2, 2016
Lead Poisoning and its Dangers
Recently, lead poisoning has become an issue as the result of contamination in major water supplies. In Flint, Michigan, investigators have found that lead levels in drinking water far exceeded the maximum allowed by law. This has caused considerable outrage from people in the community who have been drinking the water without any warnings whatsoever regarding their personal health. Worse, many households with contaminated water have children who are at greater risk of lead poisoning. But what, exactly are the effects of lead poisoning on children? Some may argue that health concerns are the only issue, but based on my research I have found that lead poisoning has a profoundly negative effect on the gray matter of childrenâ€s brains, which can lead to a lower IQ and behavioral issues, and this may include an increase in the violent crime rate. To fix this issue, we need to institute a nationwide lead cleanup to ensure future generations arenâ€t harmed. This issue is important because lead is still in our environment and costs our economy billions of dollars every year.
There were originally two major sources of lead pollution in our environment: paint and gasoline. According to Kevin Drum in his article â€œLead: Americaâ€s Criminal Element,â€ lead was added to gasoline in order to improve engine performance (Drum 2). This means that for decades, motor vehicles were expunging lead into our environment. The other major source is paint. Lead was originally added to paint in order to prevent cracking during changes in weather, according to a Reuters report (Harding, para. 5). Both of these sources are all around us. Lead pollution from gasoline still exists in our soil. Millions of houses still have lead paint, and removing that lead paint can make the problem worse if itâ€s not done correctly (Harding, para. 6). Lead contaminates drinking water because for decades, pipes were made out of lead. This was a cheap resource, and even after worries about lead poisoning grew, lead pipes were still used up until the 1980â€s (Wisely and Spangler, para. 4). Very little of that piping is replaced until it needs to be. Since most piping is hidden inside homes, people who move into a new home or apartment may not even be aware of the dangers. Neither of these sources include lead pollution from major industries, for which there isnâ€t much data. Weâ€re stuck with incomplete data, and the only thing we can be sure of is that the data we do have indicates that lead pollution is everywhere.
Lead poisoning, even in small amounts, can affect the IQ of a child and can result in lower educational achievement. In the study â€œThe Relationship Between Early Childhood Blood Lead Levels and Performance on End-of-Grade Tests,â€ researchers Marie Lynn Miranda, et al. found that even low levels of lead poisoning had a negative effect on student achievement. They found that â€œa blood lead level of 5 Âµg/dL is associated with a decline in EOG reading (mathematics) scores that is roughly equal to 15% (14%) of the interquartile rangeâ€ (Miranda, et al. 1247). This means that students exposed to low levels of lead pollution suffer from lower end-of-grade test scores, which can be a problem because those test scores measure a studentâ€s academic achievement and might be used to determine what classes to place the student in during the following semester. This does not stop at the grade school level, either. In their study â€œLow-Level Environmental Exposure in Childhood and Adult Intellectual Function: A Follow-Up Study,â€ authors Maitreyi Mazumdar, et al. looked at whether lead exposure predicted intellectual function at adulthood. They found that â€œlead concentrations during the school age years are related to IQ in adulthood, and may represent a time period of greater susceptibility to environmental lead exposure, or more stable blood lead body burdenâ€ (Mazumdar, et al. 5). This study corroborates the original, but it also suggests that leadâ€s effect on the human brain doesnâ€t go away; it continues to affect victims into adulthood.
Lead Poisoning negatively affects a childâ€s neurological development because of the way the chemical compound damages the brain. In a literature review on the topic titled â€œChildhood Lead Poisoning: Conservative Estimates of the Social and Economic Benefits of Lead Hazard Control,â€ Economist Elise Gould found that â€œrecent research has indicated that significant neurologic damage to children occurs even at very low levels of exposureâ€ (Gould 1162). Paul B. Stretesky and Micahel J. Lynch concur, finding in their own literature review that in the research of Herbert Needleman, there was a significant relationship between bone-lead levels and reported and observed delinquency and behavioral problems during the pre-teen yearsâ€ (Stretesky and Lynch 215). This shows that effects on children are not only serious, but also wide-ranging. Gouldâ€s research shows that even in low quantities, average IQ loss for children with lead poisoning ranges between 1 and 3 points (Gould 1164). In the article â€œLow-Level Environmental Lead Exposure and Childrenâ€s Intellectual Function: An International Pooled Analysis,â€ Bruce P. Panphear et. al found an average loss of 6.99 IQ points for children with blood lead levels between 1 and 10 deciliters (Panphear et. al 898). This may not seem like much, but Gould argues that even a single IQ point loss has drastic lifetime earning losses. According to Gould, every IQ point loss represents â€œa loss of $17, 815 in present discounted value of lifetime earningsâ€ (Gould 1164). That means a child subjected to even low amounts of lead poisoning could lose more than $50,000 in lifetime earnings as a result of the average IQ loss. People with higher IQâ€s make more money and contribute more to our economy in a number of ways.
There is no â€œsafeâ€ level of lead poisoning, which is a serious issue because we set a standard for blood lead levels of less than 10. Researchers Bruce Lanphear, Kim Dietrich, Peggy Aguinar, and Christopher Cox studied this issue and reported on the results in Public Health Reports. They found that even with blood lead levels under 10, children experienced marked decrease in reading and arithmetic scores (Lanphear et. al 2). Their research showed a clear correlation between blood lead levels and IQ. Just as importantly, they found that even under blood lead levels of 5, children suffered academically (Lanphear et. al 3). This research suggests that even our â€œsafeâ€ level is not truly safe, furthering the need to eliminate lead pollution entirely.
Compounding these issues is the possible connection between lead poisoning and the crime rate. In their study titled â€œThe Relationship Between Lead and Crime,â€ researchers Paul B. Stretesky and Michael J. Lynch found that:
Air-lead appears to explain a greater percentage of the variation in property and violent crime rates in counties with higher levels of resource deprivation than in counties with lower levels of deprivation. The interaction can be interpreted as suggesting that living in an economically deprived county aggravates the potential effect of air- lead on crime while living in a less economically deprived county mitigates this effect. (Stretesky and Lynch 222)
Their research shows that air-lead levels are positively correlated with crime once other factors are adjusted for. This means that at the very least, a portion of violent crimes committed can be explained by lead poisoning. This should come as no surprise given that Herbert Needleman et. al found in their own research that there is â€œa clear connection between bone lead levels and delinquent behavior in childrenâ€ (Needleman et. al 25). Needleman has been researching the topic of lead toxicity for decades and published numerous studies in the journals including The New England Journal of Medicine and Environmental Health Perspectives. This connection suggests that reducing lead poisoning in our environment would reduce the number of violent crimes.
Despite the strong evidence connecting lead poisoning to violent crime, there are some critics who dispute it. In an article published in Discover Magazine titled, â€œDoes Lead Exposure Cause Violent Crime? The Science is Still Out,â€ writer Scott Firestone cautions against reading too much into correlation. Firestone argues that the best study on the issue measured blood lead levels of 386 children over the course of their childhood, keeping track of violent crime arrests over time. The results showed that there did appear to be a significant relationship between lead poisoning and violent crime (especially with children who tested high around the age of 6), but the correlation was not very strong (Firestone, par. 9). This suggests that the evidence isnâ€t as strong as proponents of the lead/crime hypothesis would have you believe. Firestone suggests more testing, but is careful to note that this can be difficult because lead is a harmful chemical, and so scientists are limited in how they can study its effects on people (Firestone, par. 12). Since it would immoral and unethical to intentionally poison children, scientists will need to continue monitoring and studying those who have already been exposed to lead.
One possible solution would be to invest money in studying the after-effects of the Flint water crisis. In the article â€œFederal Government Provides $100M to Help End Water Crisis in Flint,â€ staff writers for The Weekly Herald point out that drinking water in Flint, Michigan has been poisoning with lead for an unknown period of time, and that the governor wants to lower the level of acceptable lead in drinking water from 15 ppb to 10pbb (par. 2). This means that, over time, lead levels in drinking water will continue to drop and could provide researchers with an opportunity to monitor behavioral, intellectual, and social changes in children growing up at this time. Just as importantly, these improvements are not happening at a continuous pace. In the article â€œFlint Residents See Slow Progress to Replace Old Water Lines to Homes,â€ CBS News reports that the effort to clean up the drinking water in Flint is uneven and fraught with problems (pars. 4-5). Scientists could research these areas and keeps tabs on people affected by the clean-up effort in different ways.
In addition to the crime-related benefits, cleaning up lead poisoning would have numerous economic benefits. In her study entitled â€œChildhood Lead Poisoning: Conservative Estimates of the Social and Economic Benefits of Lead Hazard Control,â€ Emily Gould argues that cleaning up lead in our environment would positively benefit our economy. According to Gould, treatment for lead poisoning in children can range from $74 to $2,418 (Gould 1163). This is simply the cost of treating lead and has nothing to do with the cost of leadâ€s side-effects. Gould estimates that lead poisoning results in an average total IQ loss of 9.3 to 13.1 million points, which amounts to an estimated lifetime earnings loss of between $165 and $233 billion (Gould 1164). This makes sense: if lead affects a childâ€s brain and leads to IQ loss, it stands to reason that less intelligence would affect future earnings. This is a difficult effect to measure, but conservative estimates clearly indicate that lead poisoningâ€s negative effects on the brain are costing our economy billions of dollars.
Research has shown definitively that lead poisoning has negative effects on a childâ€s brain, harming IQ and potentially leading to behavior issues. Studies have shown that these issues could potentially manifest in the form of violent crime later in life, which is why itâ€s so crucial to remove lead from our environment. Even discounting the violent crime hypothesis, cleaning up lead poisoning would have a dramatic effect on IQ and future lifetime earnings. This is an issue we can solve, and we have a responsibility to do so.
Drum, Kevin. â€œLead: Americaâ€s Real Criminal Element.â€ Mother Jones. 11 Feb. 2016.
Gould, Elise. “Childhood Lead Poisoning: Conservative Estimates of the Social and Economic
Benefits of Lead Hazard Control.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 117, no. 7, July 2009, pp. 1162-1167.
Lanphear, Bruce P., et al. “Low-Level Environmental Lead Exposure and Children’s Intellectual
Function: An International Pooled Analysis.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 113, no. 7, July 2005, pp. 894-899.
Mazumdar, Maitreyi, et al. “Low-Level Environmental Lead Exposure in Childhood and Adult
Intellectual Function: A Follow-Up Study.” Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, vol. 10, no. 1, Jan. 2011, pp. 24-30.
Miranda, Marie Lynn, et al. “The Relationship between Early Childhood Blood Lead Levels and
Performance on End-Of-Grade Tests.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 115, no. 8, Aug. 2007, pp. 1242-1247.
Needleman, Herbert, et al. “Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention.” American Journal of Public
Health, vol. 89, no. 7, July 1999, pp. 1126-1131.
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