I’m just going to point to this comprehensive and insightful Washington Post article which talks about Freddie Gray (whose death while in Baltimore police hands sparked the recent riots there) and lead paint. Like many inner city kids, Gray lived in sub-standard housing with peeling lead paint, and in his case, it specifically was blamed for ADHD and other problems.
It wasn’t long after that he was given the first of many blood tests, court records show. The test came in May of 1990, when the family was living in a home on Fulton Avenue in West Baltimore. Even at such a young age, his blood contained more than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood — double the level at which the Center for Disease Control urges additional testing. Three months later, his blood had nearly 30 micrograms. In June 1991, when Gray was 22 months old, his blood carried 37 micrograms.
“Jesus,” Dan Levy, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University who has studied the effects of lead poisoning on youths, gasped when told of Gray’s levels. “The fact that Mr. Gray had these high levels of lead in all likelihood affected his ability to think and to self-regulate and profoundly affected his cognitive ability to process information.”
Levy added, “And the real tragedy of lead is that the damage it does is irreparable.”
This isn’t unusual, and any discussion of violence in the inner cities needs to consider this as a factor.