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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

OLYMPIO, Kelly Polido Kaneshiro; GONCALVES, Claudia; GUNTHER, Wanda Maria Risso  and  BECHARA, Etelvino José Henriques. Neurotoxicity and aggressiveness triggered by low-level lead in children: a review. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.3, pp. 266-275. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009000900011.

Lead-induced neurotoxicity acquired by low-level long-term exposure has special relevance for children. A plethora of recent reports has demonstrated a direct link between low-level lead exposure and deficits in the neurobehavioral-cognitive performance manifested from childhood through adolescence. In many studies, aggressiveness and delinquency have also been suggested as symptoms of lead poisoning. Several environmental, occupational and domestic sources of contaminant lead and consequent health risks are largely identified and understood, but the occurrences of lead poisoning remain numerous. There is an urgent need for public health policies to prevent lead poisoning so as to reduce individual and societal damages and losses. In this paper we describe unsuspected sources of contaminant lead, discuss the economic losses and urban violence possibly associated with lead contamination and review the molecular basis of lead-induced neurotoxicity, emphasizing its effects on the social behavior, delinquency and IQ of children and adolescents.

Keywords : Lead poisoning; neurotoxicity syndromes; oxidative stress; juvenile delinquency.

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