195967 Lead, Health & the Environment: Old Problem & 21st Century Challenge

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Mark Allen Pokras, DVM , Center for Conservation Medicine, Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, N. Grafton, MA
Conservation medicine examines the linkages among the health of people, animals and the environment. Few issues illustrate this approach better than an examination of lead (Pb) toxicity. Lead is cheap and there is a long tradition of its use. But the toxic effects of Pb have also been recognized for many years. As a result, western societies have eliminated or greatly reduced many traditional uses of Pb, including many paints, gasoline and solders because of threats to the health of humans and the environment. Legislation in several countries has eliminated the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl. Despite these advances, a great many Pb products continue to be readily available. Wildlife agencies recognize that angling and shooting sports deposit thousands of tons of Pb into the environment each year. In recent years our knowledge of the lethal and sublethal effects of Pb has grown dramatically. Given what we are learning about the many toxic effects of this heavy metal, there is every reason to switch to non-toxic alternatives. To accomplish this, a broad, ecological vision is important. This presentation will review the current state of knowledge on the toxicity of lead and its behavior in the environment, including the effects on wildlife, humans, and domestic animals. We will also discuss the importance of bringing together all interest groups to find safe alternatives, to develop new educational and policy initiatives, to eliminate many current uses of Pb, and to clean up existing problems.

Learning Objectives:
Compare sources of human and animal lead (Pb) exposure. List two sources of lead (Pb) in human and animal environments Identify solutions that may prevent lead (Pb) exposure in the target groups & species discussed.

Keywords: Lead, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This presentation will represent the summary of my 20+ years of studying lead poisoning in a variety of species
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.