General Question

Pandora's avatar

What are the chances that the last few years of mental illness is due to toxins in our water and soil?

Asked by Pandora (30205points) 1 month ago

For years our infrastructure has been basically ignored as Congress plays their games our water is being ignored and so is the pollution of land.

I grew up in the 70’s when there were tons of junkies and lead paint and I swear the people today are loonier than they were back then.

What do you think are the chances that most of our mental illness that is being blamed on the opioid crisis, is really due to the poisoning of our environment?

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14 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Is mental illness blamed on the opioid crisis? I didn’t even know that. I think most often it’s the other way around, the opioid crisis is at least partly due to the mental illness in the country. People self medicate.

I blame a lot of the mental illness on poverty and/or extreme stress.

As far as lead paint, it certainly affected some people, but my guess is it’s a very small group of people relative to the population at large. I think the fairly recent Flint water crisis there was lead in the water, that is a major issue, I don’t know if that was widespread back in the 70’s.

My parents never did drugs or lots of drinking, and my guess is neither did the majority of their friends. The drugs and hippies got a lot of attention, but I’m not sure how wide spread it really was. Probably, back in the 70’s a decent number of people were on well water, maybe 30%? Just a guess based on the percentages today.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie Not all mental health but the opioid crisis is considered a mental health issue and it seems for the last few years to be the only mental health issue of concern when there are so many other ones. So to me, it seems as if the government treats the opioid crisis as the main cause of mental health and they are not looking for other possible reasons for the decline of mental health in our nation.
I know more people today with mental health issues than I knew growing up. I also know more people with more younger people physical illnesses than in the 80s and ‘90s and our News is filled with news of people joining fringe groups that have insane ideas. Now with Covid, it’s just worse.
So I’m thinking there must be something in our water or our environment.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora I have to think about what you said. I don’t think about it the same way at all, but that’s based on my perception, not any facts or data.

As far as fringe groups, they can all communicate with each other better. The KKK, proud boys, groups in Europe, they all can communicate because of the internet. It’s hard for me, as a Jewish person, to think this militant, hateful behavior is anything new. It’s just being organized and stoked again.

The Republicans since Reagan have been creating a blind faith following by catering to the religious groups, and they tend to be fiercely loyal.

The Democrats use some of the same tactics of fear in the last 5 years to fight fire with fire.

I don’t know if there are more people with physical ailments. I know we save premie babies that never would have been saved 40 years ago. The very young ones often have serious mental and physical problems the rest of their life. Regarding childhood diseases people are now kept alive longer.

People publicly talk about their mental and physical illnesses more than years ago.

My family had severe mental illness on my fathers side in my grandfather’s generation and no one in my father’s or my generation is anywhere close to the mental illness. So, my perception might be skewed.

I do think we have environmental problems affecting our health, we also have more obesity, but I think it’s more physical than mental. Although, chronic physical illness almost always causes some mental problems.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

A few years back, I was chatting with my seat neighbor at a Baltimore Orioles game in Camden Yards. The man turned out to be a research scientist and Johns Hopkins’ leading authority on autism.

I asked him about the upswing in autism diagnoses; have diagnostic techniques improved and become more precise, thus a greater number of detections, or is it possible that the condition’s being over-diagnosed? He refuted both questions that said that cases of autism are increasing, and that diagnoses are valid. His own research is directed to environmental causes—a link between autism and pesticides, and other pollutants, in the air and drinking water being ingested daily. The data are persuasive, and the research continues.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Interesting. I wonder if autism is seen at the same levels in other countries.

RocketGuy's avatar

Perhaps the mental illness you are worried about could be: greed. To save a buck, govt has slowed infrastructure maintenance. This includes water works, bridges, roads, etc. No one wants to pay up. In fact, people and businesses with large incomes have greedily hoarded their $$$, and made this problem worse by reducing govt. income.

Demosthenes's avatar

I would suspect that a polluted, chemical-laden environment and food source does contribute to mental and other long-term health problems. But it would be very hard to quantify and identify a cause, especially since I think a lot of mental issues are due to societal problems and stressors, of which there are simply more now, due in part to an increasing population (not to mention the pandemic and an oversaturation of social media).

@Love_my_doggie I’m intrigued by this, however. I have long thought that there may be a link between autism and the environment and that autism is actually becoming more common, not just that diagnostic methods are improving. So that is research I’d be interested in following.

RocketGuy's avatar

I suspect autism has been around the whole time, just under different names: socially inept, quiet, strong and silent, inward drawn, retarded, etc.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ This had been my own thought. That’s why I asked the man if autism cases have remained steady over the years, but that more people are now being diagnosed.

He had spent decades working with autism patients, along the spectrum from mildly-to-profoundly affected, and he said that the data indicate increasing cases, both in numbers and as percentages of the population. His theory, still being researched, is that more autism is being caused by constant exposure to and consumption of toxins.

RocketGuy's avatar

Well, lead causes brain damage and it used to be spewed about in huge quantities due to leaded gas. Seems Dr. Patterson was able to get leaded gas banned:

Brian1946's avatar


“I was chatting with my seat neighbor at a Baltimore Orioles game in Camden Yards.”

Don’t you also go to Nationals games?

I’ve gone to Angels and Dodgers games.
I live about 17 driving miles from Dodger stadium, and about 57 from Angel stadium.

About how far do live from Camden Yards & National stadium?

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ Hi Brian! Yes, we go to Baltimore for A.L. teams, and to Washington to see the N.L.

I live in Alexandria, VA, immediately southwest of D.C. Camden Yards is a 42-mile drive; Nationals Park is maybe 3 miles and a Metro train ride away. It’s much easier to take in a Nationals game, although we did have Orioles season tickets for about 25 years. We both grew up following the A.L. (despite the DH, which I loathe).

YARNLADY's avatar

My take on this is the increase in toxic radiation introduced into the environment by the use of atomic bomb and hydrogen bombs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My mom, born in 1936, had mental illness. My sister, born in 1962 has mental illness.

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