Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.

Keywords

Soil, Street sweeping, Urban pollution, Lead toxicosis, Animal sentinels

Abstract

Where lead pollutes urban soils, both human and animals risk exposure. This exposure gives rise to similar health risks across species. A group of 50 outdoor living cats from inner city Tampa, Florida were tested for blood lead concentration (BLC). Most cats had no measurable lead loads, 14 percent had levels less than or equal to 6 micrograms per decaliter. Soil samples were taken from the home location of each cat. None of these samples, which ranged from 2.6 microgram per gram to 170 micrograms per gram, had hazardous levels of lead. Overall, BLCs were lower than expected. In addition, the BLCs were lower than those found in older industrial cities. The reduction of the use of lead as well as Tampa's location in the newly developed Sunbelt, may be responsible for the overall low levels found in the region's outdoor living cat population.

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