Heavy Metals Incite Children to Violent Behaviour

Lead Poisoning Linked to Violence

Posted: 06/11/2013 6:40 pm
Ben Barber Ben Barber

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Some 30 years ago, scientists in Boston discovered that children exposed to lead from gasoline exhausts, dust and paint became impulsive, aggressive and had trouble learning in school.
Now scientists report that when those children grew up, they unleashed a wave of crime on the country.
And while our wave of lead poisoning and violent crime is on the decline, all across the Third World from India to Mexico lead levels in the environment and in children are rising due to industrial pollution, recycling car batteries, gold mining, pottery making and other activities.
If these countries experience a similar spike in violent crime linked to lead exposure, it may be far harder to control given the lack of modern and impartial, medical, counseling, policing, prosecution and incarceration services.
"Low self control" which was a characteristic of high lead children, "is among the most important predictors of criminal behavior" said the scientists in an article published in Environment International.
The study by Howard W. Mielke of Tulane University and Sammy Zahran of Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, paints a picture of tens of thousands of young people -- mainly men -- who committed crimes under the influence of a ubiquitous toxic substance that permeated the air, dust and houses where they were brought up.
"...exposure to Pb (lead) alters neurotransmitter and hormonal systems and may therefore generate aggressive and violent behavior," said Mielke and Zahran in their article, entitled "The urban rise and fall of air lead (Pb) and the latent surge and retreat of societal violence."