Children can be exposed to lead in various places – from chewing on furniture or flaky walls coated with lead paint to consumer products including food cans, spices, cosmetics, toys, food, water pipes, food cans, spices, cosmetics, and traditional medicines, as well as “invisible” exposures such as contaminated air, water, and even the mud children play in.
A meta-analysis from researchers at George Washington University in Washington DC was recently published in the PLOS Global Public Health journal under the title: “The association between lead exposure and crime: A systematic review.”
“Policy action to prevent lead exposure is of utmost importance as our research shows an excess risk for criminal behavior in adulthood exists when an individual is exposed to lead in utero or during childhood”
Research team, George Washington University
The analysis, headed by environmental health scientist Dr. Maria Jose Talayero Schettino, suggested that exposure to lead in the womb or in childhood is linked with an increased risk of engaging in criminal behavior in adulthood.
Lead exposure can cause a variety of health problems including cardiac issues, kidney damage, immune system dysfunction, reproductive problems, and impaired neurodevelopmental function in children. Research has also uncovered statistical associations between lead exposure and criminal behavior, both at the level of the entire population and at the level of individuals – however, the findings of individual-level studies have been inconsistent.
The review highlighted a wide range of findings among the studies. For instance, in some cases, no statistical links were found between early childhood lead exposure and later delinquent behavior. One study showed a link between exposure and antisocial behavior but not arrests. Still, several studies found links between early childhood exposure to lead and later arrests, including drug-related arrests.
The study must impact policy
“Policy action to prevent lead exposure is of utmost importance as our research shows an excess risk for criminal behavior in adulthood exists when an individual is exposed to lead in utero or during childhood. Preventing lead exposure is crucial to safeguard public health and promote a safer society for all,” the analysts concluded.