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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 May;155(5):579-82.

The relationship between lead exposure and homicide.

Author information

  • 1Department of Sociology, B258 Clark Bldg, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA. pstretes@lamar.colostate.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Previous studies have suggested that excessive lead exposure is related to aggressive and violent behavior.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between estimated air lead concentrations and homicide rates.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional ecological study.

SETTING:

All counties in the contiguous 48 states of the United States. EXPOSURE MEASURE: Estimated air lead concentrations and blood lead levels.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

The homicide rate in each county.

RESULTS:

Negative binomial regression was used to examine the relationship between air lead concentrations and the incidence of homicide across counties in the United States (N = 3111). After adjusting for sociologic confounding factors and 9 measures of air pollution, the only indictor of air pollution found to be associated with homicide rates was air lead concentration. Across all counties, estimated air lead concentrations ranged from 0 to 0.17 microg/m(3). The adjusted results suggest that the difference between the highest and lowest level of estimated air lead is associated with a homicide incidence rate ratio of 4.12 (95% confidence interval, 1.02-16.61).

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study support recent findings that there is an association between lead exposure and violent behavior.

PMID:
11343501
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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