Lead poisoning of waterfowl has been reported for decades in the Coeur d?Alene River Basin (CDARB) in Idaho as a result of the ingestion of lead-contaminated sediments. This study was conducted to determine whether the addition of phosphoric acid to sediments would reduce the bioavailability and toxicity of lead to mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) as related to adverse hematological effects and altered plasma chemistries. Mallards received diets containing 12% clean sediment (controls) or 12% sediment from three different CDARB sites containing 4520, 5390, or 6990 :g/g lead (dw) with or without phosphoric acid amendment. Blood lead concentrations were significantly higher in all CDARB treatment groups and ranged from geometric mean values of 5.0 ug/g for the first two sites to 6.2 ug/g for the third site. With amendments, all blood lead concentrations became 41% to 64% lower. Red blood cell ALAD activity was depressed by 90% or more with lead-contaminated sediment from all sites and did not differ with amended diets. Free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (FEP) concentrations were elevated by contaminated sediment from all sites. Amendment decreased the elevations in FEP by as much as 80%. Hematocrit values and hemoglobin concentrations were lower for all lead site sediments by as much as 30% for site 3. Plasma enzyme activities for ALT, CK, and LDH-L were elevated by as much as 2.2-fold, and plasma creatinine concentration was 1.7-fold higher for site 3 sediment. Amendments restored hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma enzyme activities so that they did not differ from controls. Although amendments of phosphorus substantially reduced the bioavailability of lead and alleviated many of the adverse hematological effects, lead concentrations in the blood of mallards fed the amended sediments were still above those believed to be harmful to waterfowl under the present conditions.
Additional Publication Details
Phosphorus amendment reduces hematological effects of lead in mallards ingesting contaminated sediments
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology