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Environ Pollut. 2012 Jan;160(1):118-24. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.09.031. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

Blood Pb and δ-ALAD inhibition in cattle and sheep from a Pb-polluted mining area.

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Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC (CSIC, UCLM, JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.


The effects of Pb pollution on cattle and sheep raised in an ancient mining area were studied through the use of blood Pb (PbB) levels and δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) activity. Lead levels in livestock blood from the mining area (n=110) were significantly elevated when compared to the controls (n=79). In 91.4% of cattle (n=58) and 13.5% of sheep (n=52) sampled in the mining area, PbB levels corresponded to subclinical exposure (6-35 μg/dl). Two young cattle (<2 years) from the mining area (n=5) had PbB levels indicative of clinical poisoning (>35 μg/dl). Elevated PbB was also accompanied by δ-ALAD activity inhibition in blood, which confirms that measurable effects of Pb poisoning were taking place. Observed PbB levels suggest that a potential risk to human consumers of beef from the Pb polluted areas may also exist, as has been shown previously for game meat from the same mining area.

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