Durability + Design
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

Keim Mineral Coatings


D+D News

Main News Page


Pigeons Track Lead Dangers

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More items for Maintenance + Renovation

Comment | More

A much maligned feathered city-dweller may deserve a second look, according to researchers who say pigeons could be the key to tracking lead exposure in children.

A new study, published this week in the journal Chemosphere, looks at lead levels in pigeons in urban neighborhoods and compares them with blood lead levels in children in the same area, as reported by public health entities. The study finds a correlation between lead levels in the birds and the children.

Pigeon: Pest or hero?
By T137 - CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers say pigeons could be the key to tracking lead exposure in children.

The study was carried out by Rebecca Calisi, formerly at Columbia’s Barnard College, who is now a professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at the University of California, Davis. She worked with Barnard undergrad Fayme Cai on the research.

Neighborhood and Season

Calisi and Cai’s research centers on two main factors related to lead exposure. One is locale, and another is season—lead levels in children tend to rise in summer, and the new study found the same phenomenon in pigeons.

Chart correlating lead levels in children and pigeons
Chemosphere

Calisi and Cai found that neighborhoods that had a higher rate of children with elevated lead levels correlated with neighborhoods where pigeons had higher recorded lead levels.

Neighborhood to neighborhood, Calisi and Cai found that those neighborhoods (mostly in Manhattan) that had a higher rate of children with elevated lead levels correlated with neighborhoods where pigeons had higher recorded lead levels.

Pigeons, according to previous research, are believed to generally spend their lives within a radius of about 2 kilometers, a trait that makes localized studies tenable.

Methodology

The researchers say they studied blood lead levels in 825 “visibly ill or abnormally behaving pigeons” in New York City over a five-year period, from 2010 to 2015. They used data provided by New York’s Wild Bird Fund, a group that collects and rehabilitates sick and injured wild birds in the city.

Peeling paint
By Darwin Bell – CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

Old lead paint in buildings that are deteriorating or being demolished can lead to higher lead levels in the soil and groundwater.

Pigeons have been studied in relation to heavy-metals contamination in the past, the study’s authors say, but this research is thought to be the first correlating lead levels in pigeons and humans.

The new study notes that there are a number of factors that could contribute to high blood lead levels, in birds and humans. A correlation between heavy traffic and higher lead levels has been found; old lead paint in buildings that are deteriorating or being demolished can also lead to higher lead levels in the soil and groundwater.

Lead in paint was banned in the United States in 1978; lead as an additive in gasoline was phased out starting in the 1970s, and completely banned in 1996.

Birds for Good

The researchers hope that their data can help devise new ways of tracking and responding to lead contamination in urban areas—for the childrens’ sake, even if the birds themselves remain unpopular.

“This is a powerful example of how we can use pigeons to monitor the location and prevalence of pollutants,” Calisi said. “We can use these ‘rats with wings’—which are anything but—to monitor dangers to human health.”

   

Tagged categories: Colleges and Universities; Environmental Protection; Health and safety; Lead; Research

Comment from Dennis Guy, (7/21/2016, 11:51 AM)

Modern day "carrier pigeons" Who'da thunk it?


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Greenbuild
 
Greenbuild and ABX Together in Boston
 
Come to Boston and enjoy a 2 in 1 event! Greenbuild and ABX come together with over 700 exhibitors from the construction and design industry - register today!
 

 
LATICRETE International, Inc.
 
SPARTACOTE Flex PURE Clinical Plus Coatings
 
Equipped with antimicrobial technology, fast-cure systems and high-traction features. Ideal for demanding environments. Customizable colors and textures.
 

 
RCI, Inc.
 
RCI Building Envelope Technology Symposium
 
November 13-14, 2017 | Orlando, Florida | Learn valuable design and repair insights from 20 leading design experts. RCI, Inc. is an AIA LU provider. Learn more.
 

 
A&I Coatings
 
Vitreflon – the hallmark of colour stable protective coatings
 
Vitreflon two pack fluoropolymer coatings display unsurpassed colour and gloss retention making Vitreflon the coating of choice for high value infrastructure and architecture. Contact us today to find out how Vitreflon can outperform on your next project. Vitreflon distributorships available.
 

 
PPG Paints
 
NEW FORMULA! PPG PAINTS™ SEAL GRIP® PRIMER
 
PPG Paints Seal Grip Interior/Exterior Acrylic Universal Primer/Sealer has been reformulated to meet your toughest interior and exterior primer requirements.
VIEW PRODUCT
 

 
World of Concrete
 
WOC 2018 – Las Vegas, NV
 
Visit the WOC website for more details about the World of Concrete 2018: January 23-26; Seminars 22-26 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, USA.
 

 
Atlas Material Testing Technology
 
Helping You Put Your Products To The Test
 
  • Outdoor Accelerated Weathering
  • Laboratory Testing Services
  • Accelerated Weathering Instruments

  • www.atlas-mts.com
    atlas.info@ametek.com
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@durabilityanddesign.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 

© Copyright 2012-2017, Technology Publishing Co., All rights reserved