Lead shot from hunting as a source of lead in human blood

Environ Pollut. 2006 Jul;142(1):93-7. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2005.09.015. Epub 2005 Nov 8.


This study investigates the relationship between the intake of birds hunted with lead shot and the lead concentration in human blood. Fifty adult men from Nuuk, Greenland took part in the study. From September 2003 to June 2004 they regularly gave blood samples and recorded how many birds they ate. We found a clear relationship between the number of bird meals and blood lead and also a clear seasonal variation. The concentration was highest in mid-winter when bird consumption is at its highest. Blood lead was low (15 microg/L, mean concentration) among the participants reporting not eating birds. Among those reporting to eat birds regularly, blood lead was significantly higher, up to 128 microg/L (mean concentration). Concentrations depended on the frequency of bird meals: the more the bird meals, the higher the resulting blood lead. This clear relationship points to lead shot as the dominating lead source to people in Greenland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Diet Records
  • Ducks*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Food Contamination*
  • Food Supply*
  • Greenland
  • Humans
  • Lead / analysis
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead / toxicity*
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology
  • Male
  • Meat* / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Seasons


  • Lead