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Lead Poisoning maybe Responsible for Children Developing Behavior Problems, Aggression

Update Date: Feb 12, 2013 09:16 AM EST

Exposure to lead from paints, toys and burning fuel can not only cause headaches and harm liver in young children, but also affect their nervous system. Changes in brain can increase risk of delinquency, stunted growth as well as a tendency to bully others and take part in acts of vandalism, according to a new research article.

 According to Summer Miller of Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who wrote the article, data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about six percent of all children and 11 percent of African-American children aged between one and five have high lead levels in the body.

 She said that the symptoms of lead poisoning are so common that they often go unnoticed. Public need to be educated about effects of lead so that many children may be saved from health complications related to lead poisoning.

According to Medline Pus, symptoms of lead poisoning include abdominal pain, aggressive behavior, headaches, irritability, reduced sensations and low appetite. At higher levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

"Lead poisoning has a progressive effect over time and its symptoms are those experienced by most people, such as headaches and abdominal pain. Because these symptoms are so common, this allows detection to go unnoticed, hence the need for education regarding sources of lead exposure," said Miller.

Exposure to lead is common and preventable, says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the agency, lead based paint and dust are the common source of lead exposure. Kids under 6 years of age must not be allowed near peeling walls or chewable surfaces that may have lead based paints. In May this year, CDC lowered the recommended lead levels from 10 micrograms per deciliter to 5 micrograms. Currently about half a million children have 5 micrograms of lead in their body.

A recent study published in the published in Environmental Health Perspectives, had reported that exposure to mercury and lead can increase the risk of ADHD in children.

"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," Miller added. 

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