ISSN: 2223-2133 (Online), 1815-8986 (Print)
Vol. 9, Number 2, December 2009
Dogs and goats as sentinels for environmental lead burden in Caribbean basin islands: Jamaica West Indies
Cecil Brownie, Cavelle Brownie, Vincent Lopez, Paul Cadogan
Injected/inhaled environmental lead (Pb) continues to pose a health risk to humans (children in particular) and animals. Automobile emissions from leaded gasoline combustion (less of a problem today with the phasing out of leaded gasoline), lead contaminated foods, soil and water, lead-based paints, ceramics, batteries (more frequently encountered today), and possible electronic waste, remain major sources of environmental lead. In a study carried out in Jamaica, West Indies, blood samples from dogs (n=65 at 5 locations) and goats (n=46 at 4 locations) were collected in lead-free (EDTA) tubes and analyzed by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) for lead. The analytical method detection limit was 0.24 µg/dl. Overall (blood lead) PbB concentrations were 2.83 ± 2.96 µg/dl (dogs), and 1.02 ± 0.10 µg/dl (goats). There were significant differences among locations, and in a location of high automobile and plant foilage/grass forage density, PbB levels were 7.03 ± 2.96 µg/dl (n=8) and 1.91 ± 0.83 µg/dl (n=10) in dogs and goats respectively. Although sample sizes are small the results suggest the use of dogs and goats as sentinels for evaluating enviromental lead in developing countries.