Is Lead the Cause of Criminal Teen Behavior?

February 14, 2013  |  
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As if you needed another reason to carefully check your home for lead, new findings from International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry point to a link between juvenile criminal behavior and lead poisoning. Most alarming, 6 percent of all children between ages one and two and 11 percent of African-American children up to age five have toxic levels of lead in their bodies.

Lead, often found in places like old paint, old pipes and soil, is incredibly harmful. At high levels, it can lead to death but in lower levels the symptoms are common problems like headaches. But small bodies can experience serious damage when exposed to lead. Lead can cause cause irreversible damage to the internal organs, most notably the kidneys and the nervous system, especially the brain.

Summer Miller, the author of the article, hypothesizes that lead exposure may be responsible for juvenile delinquency in some cases. The article notes that lead’s effects are progressive, meaning a child who is exposed to lead at an early age will experience increasingly worse effects as he ages. She builds on existing research that found higher levels of lead in the blood of juvenile delinquents. Though scientists know very small amounts of lead are required for lead poisoning, there is not yet a “safe” amount of lead in the blood.





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