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Environmental Contaminants in Birds: Phosphate-Mine and Natural Wetlands


The results of this investigation include data on the levels of nine radionuclides and 18 potential heavy metal contaminants in the tissues and skeletons of four species of waterfowl that commonly inhabit wetland areas in the phosphate mineralized regions of central and north Florida. Two of the species , wood ducks and mottled ducks, are often hunted for human sport and consumption, and therefore, represent a potential route for radionuclides to enter into the human food chain. As a result, the investigators prepared a human dose estimate based on consuming these waterfowl.

In addition, levels of the environmental contaminants were measured in the food items of the birds (when they could be identified and collected) and in the water and mud of the birds wetland habitats. Both phosphatic clay settling areas and undisturbed natural wetlands in the mining districts were sampled.