Expert says the government must do more to eliminate lead from the environment
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.
Craig Dunhoff | EurekAlert!
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