Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 1, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4A The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sob , Sept. I, 1974
Do You Drink and Drive?
Gazette Photo bv Duone Crock
This po',ed picture portrays a weekend scene that contributes heavily to alcohol-related fatal traffic accidents in Iowa. Highway roadsides provide the same kind of evidence. Last year in Iowa, 31.8 percent of the state's traffic fatalities were alcohol-related Linn county matched the national average of 50 percent alcohol-related.
Lead Builds Up in Body
Sci#nee information Service
WASHINGTON, I) C -Several thousand years ago, the Romans were the most powerful people in the world. They spread their empire from Italy through the Middle East, northern Africa and Europe. But after several centuries, the men and women who built the empire lost their enthusiasm, creativity, and ability to rule They found it difficult to reproduce Without successors, their empire crumbled One of the greatest eras in the civilization of the world came to an end.
Today a number of scientists believe that lead pollutants had a lot to do with the downfall of the Romans. The Roman rulers ate and drank from vessels that had been made from lead As a result, traces of lead could have gotten into their foods and wines and could have slowly poisoned their bodies. Traces of lead could have made them feeble-minded, listless. Lead poisoning could have made it difficult for them ‘to reprod-UCC
Whether lead pollution and lead poisoning partially or fully led to the fall of the Roman Empire is not known for sure. But one thing is sure: lead pollution and lead poisoning did not stop with the Roman
Empire Today. Americans are estimated to have IOO times more lead rn their bodies than people who lived several thousand years ago
People living in and near cities are usually more exposed to lead pollution than are people living in the country Children are especially prone to lead pollutants. For one thing, they are closer to the ground, and thus to automobile exhaust, a major source of lead pollution Many children living in older tenement houses in cities are tempted to nibble on paint that has flaked from the walls This paint contains large amounts of lead, which are easily absorbed by the body
Air is a major source by which people take in lead pollutants. A third of the lead that gets into people living or working in cities is breathed from the air But the other two-thirds comes from food, beverages, and drinking water Scientists estimate that of the lead we eat, 39 percent is in meats, including chicken; 22 percent in vegetables; 17 percent in bakery products. HI percent in juices. 9 percent in dairy products; and 3 percent in other foods
What Lead Dees
What happens when lead gets into our bodies? The tiny traces of lead build up If they build up enough, they can poi-
Belgian Inventor Makes
Bullets Without Casings
By Michael S. Barrett
LA HULPE, Belgium (ITM) — As a young boy. Jules Van Langenhovcn extracted powder from discarded World war I cartridges to fashion his own bullets Old machineguns found lying around became his playthings.
Guns and bullets have been a part of the Belgian inventor s life since. His invention of a caseless bullet, being manufactured by Daisy-Hed-don. the American BB gun firm, could possibly revolutionize the weapons industry because it is powerless and has mi brass shell to expend
"Ntbadv leans ii a school ta be aa iaveatar,” Van Laa-grahovrn said la aa interview. ‘’That’s impassible Yea are a bara iaveatar ar yea are aet an iaveatar. And that's the difference.
"It s in your blood Research is in your blood I cannot stop ”
Van Langenhovcn, 64 lives with his wife in a modest house on the main street of this small village, 1ft miles southeast of Brussels. When he’s in the I S. — and that is often — he lives in Rogers, Ark Hit miles east of Tulsa, Okla , where Daisy has its plant
The inventor started work in 1957 on a prototype bullet that could tie fired by compressed air and leave no residue in the barrel or chamber
"I faund a bullet with a case was a waste af time and maae.v,” he said. "I did it far myself Eve been studying far a tang time. There were same mistakes — that’s narmal. I blew ap same gals — that's anrrna! Bat I dun I give ap "
In 1961. Van Langenhovcn went to Paris to see ( ass Rough, president of Daisy-fleddon lie showed the airgun executive how his new bullet worked and Rough was so impressed he wrote Van Lan-genhoven a personal check on the spot made him a partner and flew back to Rogers to begin research
In 1968 the first marketable guns were ready, and Daisy began manufacturing I.(NHI of them a day
Student Seeks Haunted House
CINCINNATI (CP!) - Jim Walton a 20-year-old student at nearby Northern Kentucky State college, is looking for a haunted house.
Walton says he needs a house which has strange noises. voices or "spirits” for a research project in which he is involved at school.
A newspaper advertisement placed by Walton drew responses from two Cincinnati area residents who figured the ghosts in their attics might finally lie of some use to someone
"I still have to check them out.” Walton said “I can't believe everyone is lying to me about floors creaking and that kind of thing
Walton, a political science major, has an interest in liar* apsychology. which he defined as "the science of studying behavior from abnormal phenomena
To Order Your Action Ad, Dial 398-8234
son us, that is. cause some or all of these consequences anemia, kidney disease, liver disease, muscle paralysis or overaction, brain damage, convulsions, death At the cellular level, traces of lead are known to inhibit enzymes in the mitochondria, the energy factories of cells Lead can interfere with iron-containing enzymes in blood so that hemoglobin cannot be made Ia>ad can attack the nuclei of cella, which contain the cells' genetic material It can also keep helpful trace elements. such as iron or magnesium, from passing through cell membranes Lead can destroy nerve chemicals that nerve cells use to communicate with muscle cells Animal experiments have shown that traces of lead can seriously damage both sperm and eggs. Lead can pass from an animal mother’s blood to the blood of the fetus she carries in her womb, even though the two circulatory systems are separate If pregnant animals are exposed to high enough levels of lead. their offspring may be born dead or may not grow properly. They also give birth to fewer offspring I>ead can probably do similar damage to human reproduction The traits that people inherit can make them more vulnerable to lead poisoning Pediatricians found that children lacking a particular enzyme rn their blood were more open to lead poisoning than were children born with the enzyme Many of the bacteria people are exposed to through air, food and water make poisonous substances called endotoxins. Scientists have found that if endotoxins get into the body along with lead, this pollutant is even more harm
ful than usual. And the lead, under these conditions, appears to attack enzymes
Lack of enough vitamin (’ can make us more susceptible to lead poisoning bm. it seems In one experiment, young guinea pigs were given a diet lacking in vitamin (’ A second group received food without (' but with lead Others were given a diet with both (’ and lead The animals getting (’ and lead showed no serious signs of disease Those simply lacking vitamin (’ had some trouble with muscle control Those lacking (' and also taking in lead completely lost their muscle control and even their ability to move.
If you think you and your family are escaping lead’s pernicious influence, you may be kidding yourself No other trace pollutant has accumulated in people to levels so close to thf»se causing obvious poisoning Over a fourth of all American children. 5 percent of the men and 2 percent of the women are estimated to have levels of lead in their lashes that border on toxicity (ability to poison). Feel tired or irritable? You may Im* suffering from a mild ease of lead poisoning. Are your children hyperactive? Lead pollution may be the cause As Dr Henry' Schroeder. of the Dartmouth Medical school and a leading trace pollutant investigator. puts it. "It is disturbing to think that all of us are being poisoned at least a little bit bv lead.”
(Ona in a continuing sanes of reports on science and technology, produced and dis tributed by the American Assn for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D. C.)
By Dale Hurler
The approaching car is wavering from one side of the roadway to the other, exceeding the speed limit. There is a screeching of tires and a grinding of metal A human being is dead because of alcohol and the tragedy will be recounted and deplored at cocktail parties all over town
Last year, there were 217 alcohol-related fatal accidents in Iowa out of a total of 682 fatal crashes — or 31.8 percent The alcohol-related accidents
killed 263 persons.
Of counties of 5ft (HH) or more population, four were above the state average. Linn was second worst in 1973 with half the 32 fatal accidents being alcohol-related, resulting in 19 deaths Only Story county had a greater percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities Nationwide, half the fatal traffic accidents are alcohol-related. Drinking and driving. says Iowa Safety Commissioner Charles (.arson, is more acceptable in this country than in Europe
In most states, said Larson. a person is regarded as legally intoxicated if his blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0 KHI — that is one-tenth of one percent by weight.
In Europe, particularly Scandinavian countries, the legal definition is much lower Carson supports a bill introduced rn the last legislature which would make it a misdemeanor to operate a vehicle if the driver’s blood was in excess of (105 BAC, a general point where driving is impaired
"lf we could just get (he problem drinkers off the road.” said Larson, "we could make great strides in reducing fatalities.”
Larson revealed that Linn’s high alcohol -related accident record, compared to the rest of the sta*e. has prompted the consideration of a special program for the county aimed at the drinking and driving problem.
"Linn will be considered after the first of the year for what we call a mini-ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Project)," I .arson said Such programs are now being established in Pottawattamie and Dubuque counties, which had alcohol-related accident ratios of 36 8 and 38.5 percent.
Larson said such a program would bring about $6(1 (MMI in federal funding in each of three years The money would be used for expanded patrolling, help in prosecution, and additional court and rehabilitation personnel.
Woodbury county is one of ll areas in the nation to have a major ASAP program, a 14 2 million three-year project which involves a special eight-man ASAP police patrol unit. establishment of two schools for drunk drivers and extra jzersonnel in the probation [department. In all. 25 persons are involved in Woodbury [county's ASAP
The results have been a SIMI percent increase in the number #f persons arrested for drunk driving and a de-
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cline in alcohol related accidents.
Many citizens, particularly bar owners, fought the Woodbury ASAP project, according to Delores Hackett, project secretary "But I think when a drunk driver killed a pedestrian the mood changed."
Mrs Hackett said the project in large part is still a matter of catching drunk drivers who previously were not caught. But the deterrent effects are noticeable.
"People are talking about ASAP at parties and al bars." she said. "It has meant sober people driving (he not so sober home, lf a man has been drinking considerably, he doesn't argue about his wife driving.”
Why are half the fatal traffic accidents in Linn county alcohol-related when the state average in 1973 was 31 8 percent’1
In 1972. Linn county had 22 fatal accidents and ll were alcohol-related. again 50 percent The stale average in 1972 was 29 2 percent.
In 1971. Linn had 33 fatal accidents. 13 alcohol-related. or 39 3 percent The state percentage was 34 3 In 197ft. Linn had only 9 alcohol-related fatal accidents out of a total of 33
Linn count) Ally. William Laches said part of the reason (he county's alcohol-related accident figures are higher than Hie slate average ma) be due to discrepancies in reporting.
Larson said there may be reporting variances, but a statistician in his office said accuracy and uniformity in reporting is improving every year.
Although state law does not require it, medical examiners in Linn and most other major counties automatically take a blood sample from an accident victim and I** • the RA( level
Laches says, and Larson strongly agrees, that such samples and tests should be mandatory’.
Law enforcement agencies here have been critical of the county attorney's office, particularly regarding plea bargaining results of some drunk driving cases
But Fiches said his office has already processed 91 drunk driving eases this year compared to 107 in all of 1973; Ml in 1972, and 145 in 1971
"They are just Phi damn lenient in the courts.” said Linn
Sheriff Walter Grant bluntly "If we don't get blood tests, we usually lose our case I would say our rate of conviction on OMYT without a blood test is only about 25 percent
"I know the county attorney’s office has its problems too with so many cases to handle," said Ll Richard Reddick, commander of Iowa highway patrol post ll, "so the tendency is for them to treat OMV! with less seriousness than we do
"It doesn’t do any good lo vigorously enforce the law if vigorous prosecution doesn t follow And there has been a general trend toward greater leniency in the courts toward drunk drivers.' Reddick claimed
"lf a man is accused of drunk driving, and the charge is reduced through plea bargaining. I don’t think it is established in his mind that he should no longer drink and drive
Not Ego Thing
"This is no! an ego thing with our men," said Reddick "They know what this kind of driver is doing out on the highway."
Cedar Rapids police (apt. Louis Stepanek. head of the department’s traffic division, said the lack of manpower "doesn't allow us to hold the number of traffic checks we used to.
"In my opinion, this stimulates drivers to do things, to take risks they might not ordinarily take. We intend, as soon as our manpower situation improves, to increase our surveillance.’’
Stepanek estimates that on a Friday or Saturday night a check of First avenue drivers would reveal 5ft percent have had al least one drink just prior lo driving, and that 39 percent of Hie drivers would have consumed sufficient alco hoi to impair driving
There are opposing views and reports concerning the relationship of lowering the legal drinking age to 18 in Iowa and alcohol-related accidents.
A recent report by the Iowa department of public safety said allowing Iowans 18 to 20 to consume alcoholic beverages had not significantly increased (14 percent) alcohol-related traffic fatalities
Yet the safety department’s own 1973 report said that "... young drivers have higher involvement in fatal accidents
Traffic Lights No Safety Guarantee
MINEOLA, NY. (AP)-A study of the Nassau county department of public works indicates that traffic lights are no guarantee against accidents.
Comparing accident rates at 26 intersections before and aft
er installation of traffic lights, the researchers discovered there had been 154 accidents in a two to three year period before, and 157 after. Injuries increased from 83 to 95 and fatalities dropped from three to two.
and their vulnerability to traffic accidents is increased when drinking is involved
"One feature which differentiates young drivers from their older counterparts is that young drivers are particularly vulnerable to small amounts of alcohol.”
Of live 235 drinking drivers Involved in fatal accidents last vear in Iowa, one was It; six were age 17; 15 age 18; 14 age 19; and 12 age 20 About half of the drinking drivers involved in fatalities were 24 years of age or less.
The state study also showed that these younger drivers had a time pattern distinct from those 25 years old and above. The peak time for young drivers involved in fatal accidents was during the early morning hours (between midnight and 3 a rn.) while peak time for the older group was between 6 and 9 p m The effect of alcohol on young drivers was graphically shown in the fatalities study The mean BAC for those 19 and younger involved in fatal accidents was 0 161, while for those 25 to 35 had a mean BAC of 0 191 and those 35 to 44 had a mean BAC of 0.200 Two-thirds of single vehicle and alcohol-related fatal accidents were caused by a drinking driver not able to hold his vehicle under control and one-fourth were due to speeding Driving left of the center line was the the main violation of drinking drivers in multi-vehicle fatal accidents.
The state searched three years prior to the fatal accident to determine the driving record of drinking drivers involved in fatal crashes. Records of 199 were readily available About half of the drinking drivers studied had had at least one accident in the three-year period About two-thirds had some sort of traffic conviction in that period.
Following is a listing of alcohol-related fatal accidents in 1973 for other Iowa counties Allamakee, four fatal accidents. one alcohol-related; Benton. 9 fatal accidents, two alcohol-related; Black Hawk, 21 fatal accidents, five alcohol-related; Buchanan. 5 and 4; Cedar, 2 and 9; Clayton, 7 and 2. Clinton. Ii) and 3.
Delaware. 4 and I; Dubuque, 13 and 5; Fayette, 7 and 3; Iowa, 7 and I; Jackson, 9 and 5; Johnson, 15 and 2; Jones. 4 and 2; Keokuk, It and 3; Marshall, IO and 3.
Muscatine, 9 and 5; Polk. 43 and 6; Pottawatamie. 19 and 7; Poweshiek, 9 and 5, Scott, .WI and 9. Tama. 9 and 3; Washington, 9 and I; Winneshiek, 8 and 3; and Woodbury, 13 and 4
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