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Lead poisoning may drive juvenile delinquency

Posted on Feb 12, 03:22PM | IANS

Washington, Feb 12 : Lead contamination, not normally apparent, could damage the organs, the kidneys, and the nervous system of children, even drive juvenile delinquency in some instances, says a study.

"Published research shows that lead exposure and criminality is linked to evidence of poorer intelligence, low communication skills, and behavioral problems, such as vandalism and bullying," said Summer Miller of Southern University Law Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Studies have found delinquent juveniles to have raised concentration of lead in their bones compared to that in "non-delinquent" juveniles, said Miller, the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry reports.

The effects of high lead exposure amongst children can bring on 'learning disabilities', behavioural problems, lowered intelligence, stunted growth, and hearing impairment. Lead is found in paints and old piping, according to an university statement.

Miller points out that data from the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) shows that six percent of all children aged one to two years and 11 percent of African-American children aged one to five years have blood lead levels in the toxic range in the area a lead poisoning.