Archive for August, 2010

Drinking Water, Lithium, and Suicide

August 8, 2010

Over at my day job, at, a debate is brewing about whether Washington should spike our drinking water with lithium because two studies concluded that places with higher levels of naturally occurring lithium in their drinking water had significantly lower suicide rates.  The argument put forward by bioethicist Jacob Appel was interesting but spooked those who think the government has no right to alter our moods, even if 13,000 lives might be saving by doing so.  He argued that people who really objected could just opt out by buying bottled water.

Then a geneticist at Yale weighed in and argued that the studies showing the life-affirming effect of drinking-water lithium were pretty shoddy.  Then I jumped in with a wrap-up on the subject called Death by Cruise Ship, Lithium, and Suicide.