Document Detail

Lead contamination of seabirds harvested with lead shot--implications to human diet in Greenland.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11291456     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Lead contamination of seabirds from the use of lead shot in Greenland was studied in thick-billed murre hunted at Nuuk in November 1998. In each bird shot pellets were located and counted using X-ray. The birds were skinned and viscera, head, wings and legs removed, after which the carcass was cooked. The soup and breast meat were then analyzed for lead after removal of visible shot pellets. In the soup the lead concentration was quite low, mean 6.3 micrograms/l (95% confidence interval between 4.4 and 8.2 micrograms/l), whereas breast meat lead values have a mean of 0.22 microgram/g (wet weight basis; 95% confidence interval between 0.10 and 0.36 microgram/g). This is more than 10 times higher than in birds not killed with lead shot. We found no correlation between lead concentration measured and number of pellets recorded in the whole bird or in the soup or in meat. The study indicates that lead in the meat exists as small lead fragments, left during the passage of pellets through the breast. Because of inhomogeneous lead distribution in samples, the uncertainty of estimated lead concentration in breast meat is high. Based on this study, it is concluded that birds killed with lead shot are a significant source of lead, probably the most important single source, of the diet of many people in Greenland. We estimate an intake of 50 micrograms lead from eating one boiled murre with soup. In addition people will occasionally eat whole lead shot pellets which have documented health effects. An intake of 50 micrograms lead is about twice as much as the daily average lead intake from all dietary sources in Denmark, about 25 times the daily lead intake from other marine food items in Greenland, and about one-fourth of the accepted tolerable daily intake.
P Johansen; G Asmund; F Riget
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)     Volume:  112     ISSN:  0269-7491     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Pollut.     Publication Date:  2001  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-04-06     Completed Date:  2001-04-26     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8804476     Medline TA:  Environ Pollut     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  501-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Arctic Environment, National Environmental Research Institute, Frederiksborgvej 399, Box 358, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark.
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MeSH Terms
Food Contamination
Food Supply*
Lead / chemistry,  toxicity*
Pectoralis Muscles / chemistry*
Reg. No./Substance:

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