Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lead In The Environment Causes Violent Crime, Reports University Of Pittsburgh Researcher

Date:
February 26, 2005
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Summary:
Exposure to lead may be one of the most significant causes of violent crime in young people, according to one of the nation's leading researchers on the subject.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 – Exposure to lead may be one of the most significant causes of violent crime in young people, according to one of the nation's leading researchers on the subject.

"When environmental lead finds its way into the developing brain, it disturbs neural mechanisms responsible for regulation of impulse. That can lead to antisocial and criminal behavior," reported Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, at the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. "The government needs to do more to eliminate sources of lead in the environment."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, humans can encounter lead through deteriorating paint and dust, air, drinking water, food and contaminated soil. Sources of lead are plentiful – until the 1970s lead was used in paint, gasoline and older water pipes. Today, much of that lead is still out there – on old window frames, in the soil of the vegetable gardens and in the drinking water of many American cities.

In the 1970s, Dr. Needleman was the first to discover cognitive effects in children who had been exposed to lead. Though the children had no visible signs of lead poisoning, they had significantly lower scores on IQ tests. As a result of these studies and others, lead has been removed from gasoline, paint and numerous other products.

Such measures have resulted in sharply lower levels of lead in children born today, compared to those born 30 years ago. Yet, Dr. Needleman's latest research shows that even very low levels of lead found in bone, as measured by a technique called X-ray fluorescence, can affect brain development.

In a 1996 Pitt study of 301 children, those with the highest concentrations of lead – still below government-recommended safe levels – had tests scores showing more aggression, attentional disorders and delinquency. In 2002, those findings were extended to show that the average bone lead levels in 190 adjudicated delinquents was higher than normal controls. The results indicated that between 18 and 38 percent of all delinquency in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, could be due to lead. Additionally, a number of recent studies have shown a strong relationship between sales of leaded gasoline and rates of violent crime.

"The brain, particularly the frontal lobes, are important in the regulation of behavior," said Dr. Needleman. "Exposure to lead, at doses below those which bring children to medical attention, is associated with increased aggression, disturbed attention and delinquency. A meaningful strategy to reduce crime is to eliminate lead from the environment of children."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Lead In The Environment Causes Violent Crime, Reports University Of Pittsburgh Researcher." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223145108.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (2005, February 26). Lead In The Environment Causes Violent Crime, Reports University Of Pittsburgh Researcher. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223145108.htm
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Lead In The Environment Causes Violent Crime, Reports University Of Pittsburgh Researcher." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223145108.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins