Relationship between soil lead, dust lead, and blood lead concentrations in bulldog pets and their owners: evaluation of soil lead threshold values.


This paper reports the results of a study conducted in Granite City, Illinois during the months of August through October 1991. The study involved a subpopulation of 77 households having 106 dogs and cats which was a corollary to a major study conducted in humans by the Illinois Department of Public Health to evaluate lead exposure. A secondary lead smelter had been in operation in this town for almost 80 years and was shut down in 1982. Important soil contamination with lead was reported and this paper presents data regarding levels of soil and dust lead and associated blood lead concentrations in animals and their owners in a total of 77 households. Overall, blood lead concentrations (BLC) were low (0-13 micrograms/dl in the animal owners; 0-28 micrograms/dl in pets). There was no significant relationship between soil or dust lead and BLC in humans; however, the relationship was significant in animals. Odds ratios were computed to determine whether 500 or 1000 ppm lead in environmental samples was associated with increased risk of having a high BLC. We could not find any increased risk in humans, while the risk did increase in animals. It is concluded that animals are more at risk than their owners of having a high BLC when exposed to the same contaminated environment and can be used to monitor the bioavailability of lead.

Centre National d'Informations Toxicologiques Vétérinaires, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, Marcy l'Etoile, France.