It's now commonly recognized that exposure to lead-based paint results in reduced IQ, ADHD and other cognitive harm. Medical researchers have also concluded that there is a link between lead exposure in children and aggression and in violent crime in teenagers and young adults.
Kids growing up in East Los Angeles housing who as babies or toddlers were exposed to lead through the cracked and peeling paint on walls and buildings may be able to link their aberrant behaviors and violent tendencies to an early-life exposure to lead paint.
There is no safe blood lead level
Early exposure to lead-based paint cause structural changes to a children's developing brains. That is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has repeatedly stated that "there is no safe blood lead level." What that means is that any amount of lead in a child's body is unsafe and capable of causing neurological, behavioral and physical harm included reduced IQ, aggression, ADHD, delayed puberty and other harm.
Lead paint used in old houses
Lead-based paint is so dangerous it was outlawed in 1978. Lead-based paint is no longer used on toys and homes in the United States. But just like asbestos, which was once a very common building material used across industries, many older apartment buildings and home have walls, windows and doors that are covered with lead-based paint. In fact, the law presumes that every house and apartment built prior to 1978 contains lead-based paint. If that lead-based paint is chipping, chalking or deteriorating, your child may be getting poisoned without you even knowing.
Could your teenager have been exposed to lead paint as a youngster?
Not every teen with violent tendencies can link these and other negative behaviors to early exposure to lead-based paint. Sociopaths have existed since the first caveman bopped his caveman neighbor over the head with a mastodon bone. But if you suspect that your teen's aggression could be attributed to the paint chips they nibbled on as a toddler, you might be on to an important discovery.
Help is out there for those who seek it
If the damage is permanent and irreversible, you may wonder why you should even look for a link. After all, if it can't be fixed, what's the point? But linking the violence to the paint exposure opens the door to possible legal action that could lead to a financial settlement that might make life significantly easier for your child.