Document Detail

Lead toxicosis in tundra swans near a mining and smelting complex in northern Idaho.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1759849     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Die-offs of waterfowl have occurred in the Coeur d'Alene River system in northern Idaho since at least the early 1900's. We investigated causes of mortality and lead and cadmium contamination of 46 tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) from 1987 to 1989; an additional 22 swans found dead in 1990 were not examined. We necropsied 43 of the 46 birds found from 1987 to 1989; 38 of these were from the Coeur d'Alene River system, which has been contaminated with mining and smelting wastes for a century, and the other 5 were from a nearby, relatively uncontaminated area. Of the 36 livers of swans from the contaminated area that were analyzed, 32 contained lethal levels of lead (6 to 40 micrograms/g, wet weight) and all birds exhibited several symptoms of lead poisoning, notably enlarged gall bladders containing viscous, dark-green bile. Only 13% of the lead-poisoned birds (10% when data were included from other studies of swans in the area) contained shot, compared to 95% of lead-poisoning swans in studies outside northern Idaho. Lead concentrations in blood samples from 16 apparently healthy swans (0.5 to 2.3 micrograms/g, and 4 lead-poisoned birds found moribund (1.3 to 9.6 micrograms/g) indicating that tundra swans accumulated high levels of lead from ingestion of sediment that contained up to 8,700 micrograms/g of lead and plants that contained up to 400 micrograms/g. The swans spend only a few weeks in the area staging during the spring migration. The five tundra swans from the uncontaminated area had low levels of lead and essentially no symptoms of lead poisoning.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
L J Blus; C J Henny; D J Hoffman; R A Grove
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology     Volume:  21     ISSN:  0090-4341     ISO Abbreviation:  Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol.     Publication Date:  1991 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1992-01-31     Completed Date:  1992-01-31     Revised Date:  2003-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0357245     Medline TA:  Arch Environ Contam Toxicol     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  549-55     Citation Subset:  IM    
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon 97333.
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MeSH Terms
Bird Diseases / chemically induced*,  metabolism
Cadmium / analysis
Industrial Waste / analysis*
Lead / analysis,  blood
Lead Poisoning / veterinary*
Water Pollutants, Chemical / poisoning*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Industrial Waste; 0/Water Pollutants, Chemical; 7439-92-1/Lead; 7440-43-9/Cadmium

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