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Compliance with the ban of lead ammunition in a Mediterranean wetland, the Ebro delta

AuthorsVallverdú-Coll, Núria ; Ortiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E. ; Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime ; López-Antia, Ana ; Martínez-Haro, Mónica ; Taggart, Mark A. ; Mateo, Rafael
Issue Date2013
Citation23rd SETAC Europe Annual Meeting (2013)
AbstractThe ingestion of lead (Pb) shot used for hunting continues being the main cause of Pb poisoning in waterfowl. In the Ebro delta (Spain), protected wetlands are surrounded by rice fields where waterbirds feed, and where Pb ammunition is still allowed. High Pb shot densities in sediments, and in turn high ingestion prevalence in waterfowl, have been detected. The use of Pb ammunition and the accumulation of Pb by birds after shot ingestion may pose a risk for human health due to consumption of contaminated meat. We assessed the degree of compliance with the ban on Pb ammunition in the Ebro delta wetlands, and studied the effect of the ban on the prevalence of Pb shot ingestion in waterbirds and on Pb levels in game meat. Waterfowl carcasses were collected and X-rayed from hunting bags (2007-2011) to determine the percentage of Pb and non-toxic embedded shot. Concentrations of Pb were analyzed in livers and muscles. In addition, gizzards were collected from hunting bags (2007-2012) and examined to determine the percentage of Pb shot ingestion. During the first study season minimum hunter compliance, estimated as the percentage of waterbirds having only embedded steel shot (the non-toxic alternative) was 48.75%, while 26.88% of birds had only embedded Pb shot (minimum hunter noncompliance). These values changed in the subsequent seasons to 68.95% and 1.13%, respectively. The little compliance detected during the first study season led local administration to notify hunters that a total prohibition of hunting in protected wetlands would enter into force if the prohibition was not observed. Pb ingestion prevalence in 2007-2008 (28.6%) was not different from the pre-ban value (30.2%), but decreased significantly to values below 17.9% in the following seasons. Birds continue ingesting Pb shot at a relative high proportion, although their prohibition slowly contributes to reduce prevalence of ingestion. Pb muscle concentrations decreased significantly after the ban, in spite of which most species present individuals with Pb liver and muscle concentrations over the maximum safety limits. Whereas muscle Pb levels were determined by the presence of both ingested and embedded shot (all p< 0.001), liver levels largely depended on ingested shot (p< 0.001). Thus, besides restrictions in Pb ammunition use, additional mechanisms to reduce Pb ingestion prevalence in waterfowl are necessary to reduce risks for human consumers.
DescriptionResumen del trabajo presentado al 23rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, celebrado en Glasgow (Escocia) del 12 al 16 de mayo de 2013.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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