Lead in paint, water, soil, and elsewhere may cause a significant proportion of violent crime, a researcher argued at the American Association for the Advancement of Science convention in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports. Herbert Needleman, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that the government needs to do more to lower lead levels in the environment, and that parents need to think more about where their children may be getting exposed.
“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,” he said. His study suggested that between 18 percent and 38 percent of delinquent crimes in the Pittsburgh area could be attributed to lead toxicity.