Environmental stressors and violence: lead and polychlorinated biphenyls

Rev Environ Health. 2007 Oct-Dec;22(4):313-28. doi: 10.1515/reveh.2007.22.4.313.


Many environmental risk factors for antisocial and violent behavior have been described. In recent years, this topic has become widely researched in the fields of environmental health, psychology, sociology, and many other disciplines. The results from a myriad of studies have shown that the etiologies of violent and aggressive behavior range from definitive biological environmental stressors like lead or polychlorinated biphenyls to various socio-cultural environmental stressors, such as social, economic, and racial factors. The aim of this paper is (a) to provide an overview of the specific effects of the environmental stressors that have been associated with violent behavior, and (b) to discuss current policies and regulations implemented by the United States government for minimizing exposure to environmental toxins contributing to violence in our society.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / chemically induced*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / chemically induced
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Child
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / chemically induced
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Lead Poisoning / psychology*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / poisoning*
  • Violence*


  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls