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Sci Total Environ. 2003 Jun 20;309(1-3):117-26.

Lead poisoning combined with cadmium in sheep and horses in the vicinity of non-ferrous metal smelters.

Author information

  • 1College of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu 225009, PR China. yzslzping@pub.yz.jsinfo.net

Abstract

The diagnosis of lead poisoning combined with cadmium in sheep and horses living on farmland in the vicinity of non-ferrous metal smelters in Baiyin of Gansu province in China was based on laboratory findings as well as clinical signs. The concentrations of lead, cadmium, copper and zinc in soils, water, forages, feed and blood, hair and tissues of affected sheep and horses were determined in the surroundings of the smelters in Baiyin and controls. Haematological values were also measured. The concentrations of these elements in soils, forages, water and feed were significantly higher than those in the control area (P<0.01). The contents of lead and cadmium were 9.3 and 690 times in forages, respectively, 10 and 35.6 times in feed. The concentrations of lead and cadmium in blood, hair and tissues of the affected sheep and horses were significantly higher than reference values and control animals (P<0.01). The occurrence of anaemia in affected animals belonged to a hypochromic and microcytic pattern. Lead and cadmium intake levels, estimated according to the ingestion rates of forages, illustrates that the apported lead and cadmium through the ingestion of vegetation growing in the closest sites to the smelters were approximately 6.0 mg Pb/kg body wt./day and 1.1 mg Cd/kg body wt./day in horses, 21.4 mg Pb/kg body wt./day and 4.0 mg Cd/kg body wt./day in sheep, surpassing the fatal dosages for horses of 1.7 mg Pb/kg body wt./day and for sheep of 4.4 mg Pb/kg body wt./day and 1.0 mg Cd/kg body wt./day. It is, therefore, suggested that the disease of sheep and horses in this region is caused by lead poisoning combined with cadmium, mainly due to environment heavy metal pollution by industrial activity. Meanwhile, as such levels of contamination in animal food and grain pose a significant potential risk to human health, these results have formed the basis for subsequent research on levels of metal contamination in human tissues from affected populations. Thus, it can be seen that knowledge of lead and cadmium concentrations in livestock in this region is important for assessing the effects of pollutants on domestic animals themselves and contaminant intakes by humans.

PMID:
12798097
DOI:
10.1016/S0048-9697(03)00011-1
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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