It's way too early to conclude anything about the reason behind yesterday's rampage in Alabama, in which a man killed his mother, 9 others and himself. But it is not too early to point out a couple of facts.
First, the place he chose to end his life was the parking lot of a former employer, Reliable Products in Geneva, Ala.
Second, according to Reliable's Web site, "Reliable Products is the leader in louver manufacturing for the thru-the wall a/c and heating industry." All these products -- grilles, louvers, vents -- appear to be made of aluminum. Reliable is, in essence, an aluminum products manufacturing facility.
Aluminum, as we know, is toxic -- see Kent Heckenlively's post right below this. Numerous sources say it can trigger violent outbursts and irrational behavior. There is a debate over whether it is behind the rise in Alzheimer's -- in which violent unprovoked outbursts can occur -- as well as its use in vaccines.
The reason I'm putting this out there right now is I can guarantee you it will be the LAST thing anyone looks at when they try to figure out what sent this deranged man went on a horrible rampage. They'll conclude it was the full moon before considering whether workplace exposure was a factor.
For what it's worth I keep reading about cases of autism -- especially Asperger's -- among children of sheet metal workers.
Weirdly, just before watching the news last night on which this awful episode was the lead story, I'd been watching Law & Order S.V.U., in which a young man committed murder but was acquitted when his behavior was finally attributed to its actual cause: Lead poisoning.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.