Lead Exposure and Violent Crimes

In a study conducted by Ahed and colleagues (2014) at Jordanian prisons, prisoners had a higher whole blood lead (B-Pb) level (0.924+1.79 μg/dl) compared with a control group (0.570 +0.560 μg/dl) (1). The study included 46 prisoners in prisons in the Northern of Jordan, who had criminal behaviors that led to their arrest and placed them in the prison. The control group consisted of 27 persons outside the prisons from the general populations. No significant variation was observed between the prisoners and the control group (P 0.480). The results revealed a positive relationship between crowded traffic and Pb exposure among prisoners (P 0.038). A positive correlation was also found between B-Pb level and monthly income (P 0.000), and the number of family members (P 0.000). It was not found a significant association between B-Pb concentration between the prisoners and the control group. However, the B-Pb concentrations were about the double in prisoners compared with the controls. The authors conclude that the findings from their study most probably support the environmental hypothesis which explained the effects of removal of Pb from gasoline in lowering crime rates in the US (2-4).

The original article is published in European Scientific Journal (2014; 10, No. 30: 1-8). Ahed Jumah Alkhatib is researcher at the Department of Neuroscience, Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan. He is a CONEM member.



1. Alkhatib AJ, Alta’any HM, Abdelal QM. Lead exposure and possible association with violent crimes: a field study in two Jordanian prisons. European Scientific Journal 2014; 10, No. 30: 1-8.

2. Dietrich KN, Ris MD, Succop PA, Berger OG, Bornschein RL. Early exposure to lead and juvenile delinquency. Neurotoxicol Teratol 2001; 23: 511-518.

3. Stretesky PB, Lynch MJ. The relationship between lead exposure and homicide. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001; 155: 579-582.

4. Stretesky PB, Lynch MJ. The relationship between lead and crime. J Health Soc Behav 2004; 45: 214-229.