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A Violent Element

by Anna Francesca
An op-ed regarding how lead exposure at a young age can lead to violent tendencies and characteristics.
Lead poisoning is a significant reason for violent crimes in the United States. Kevin Drum’s article "America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead." was determined to find the reason being the dramatic increase in crime during the 1970s and ’80s. A research group in Cincinnati that had been following a group of children for more than 30 years testing their neurological differences among subjects who had high or low amounts of lead exposure as children. The group found that myelin in the brain was degrading, and myelin caused the children to become slower and less coordinated according to the Cincinnati study. Lead exposure can also cause hyperactivity disorder, aggressivity, ADHD, impulsivity, and a lower IQ (Drum, 2006). These characteristics lead Drum to believe that lead exposure creates a profile for a young offender.

There are detrimental socioeconomic factors that correlate with these young offenders. Minority communities in the 21st century still deal with high amounts of lead paint in their homes. Most of the time, landlords will ignore requests to perform up to date protocol. Young children are exposed to high amounts of lead in their homes, causing health issues. A family in Baltimore found their baby gnawing on a windowpane, that was tainted with lead paint chips. The innocent act of a teething baby, now has lead entering their blood system (Drum, 2006). Parents cannot afford proper medical care. Their children live in risk during their developing years and can gain the violent characteristics due to this exposure of lead.

This is a national crisis that has been ignored. When these affected children to grow old and perform violent tendencies at school or in any general setting, who will be the blame? Violent video games? Rap music? Drugs? It won’t be the lead. This is a failure among our government. It reflects the deviant acts of government officials who ignore their lower-income towns and cities. It has been known that our children our are future, yet, the adults continue to poison the people of our future.

Drum, Kevin. 2006. “Lead: America’s Real Criminal Element.” Mother Jones. Retrieved April 17,2019.(
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