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Lead found in backyard chickens eggs

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GoChick, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. GoChick

    GoChick Songster

    Sep 16, 2010

  2. I think that at any time I can be walking across the floor and drop dead of some unexpected occurrence such as an aneurysm or stroke. I think that at any time I can be walking my dogs and some random car can burp the curb and kill me. I think that at any time our lives can be cut short, and eating backyard chicken eggs certainly isn't a death sentence, particularly when they said that on average, it's less than 100 parts per billion with only 1 egg having more. I also think a lot of people (not you) put too much emphasis on things that might or might not make us sick when ingested to this or that degree, at this or that temperature, etc.

    Considering the fact that the tests were done on chickens from Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens...I think the lead in the eggs is most likely a result of air quality and soil contamination. There's lead in the air from garbage incinerators, abundance of utilities, smelters and a host of other commercial plants.

    I'll keep eating fresh eggs, and I'll probably keep eating raw eggs in my egg nog too.

    What they need to do is look at air quality in those cities and the soil being affected by those air qualities and drainoffs...not the chickens who are simply victims of the consequences of over-industrializing populous areas.

    What I AM concerned about, is that if they keep testing chicken eggs and find lead - there will be strict "No chicken" ordinances popping up all over like the plague. They sure aren't going to take the time to find the cause and fix it - they'll just work bass-ackwards and remove the effect.

    [Edit] This is just my opinion, everyone has one...doesn't make it factual, it's just my point of view. =)
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    2 people like this.
  3. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    Well I suppose we could test our eggs,but I doubt I will do that.Testing the soil where they spend most time would be a maybe,but again I doubt I will.Their food could have lead.The shed could be leaded.I just don't have the money to test everything.Now if symptoms pop up I might look into blood testing and then tracking down the cause.

    I bet this is the first step in the reduction of backyard chickens in that area. So much of what we eat,drink,and breathe is bad for us. I still prefer my chickens eggs over the store ones.Been buying store eggs for 2 weeks now,and I can honestly say I can taste the difference.Lead
    or not I still like my backyard eggs.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Didn't read the article in depth... but... I mean, if you grow veggies to eat within a few feet of your house foundation, yeah there will be "elevated" lead levels in the soil and in your food. If you live near major road ways, in a city, in a old community, your lead levels will be higher. It hasn't been "that" many decades since all the cars ran on leaded fuels and houses were painted with lead based paints. I mean, live downwind of industry and you'll have way more contaminants in the air that just get washed into your gardens, on to your pets, or even floating into your homes than if you lived in a forest. But we all know we can't all live in a forest... if we did they'd just turn into a place like the city!

    Unfortunately, lead has pretty much contaminated all the soils in heavily populated areas. If it's not lead in the city, it's emissions, arsenic, or plasticizers. If you're in the country, it's pesticides, solvents, and old houses which haven't had their decades old lead painted homes sanded off into the surrounding environment and are still insulated with asbestos. It's always something that is going to give us cancer, deformities or defects. If they don't give it to us, the stress of stressing will degrade the emotional quality of life.
    1 person likes this.
  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    This seems to raise nothing but questions. The chickens were in community gardens, not backyards. Where is this land and what is the history of the soil there? air quality? What are they eating and how controlled is the environment? How many different people have access to these birds? 58 eggs seems a really small sampling. How many different chickens is this from? How many different gardens? How far apart are they from one another geographically? I could go on and on.

    The article does not present enough information to draw any real conclusions which makes the whole thing feel a bit alarmist.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'm going to take the unpopular view. I think there are a lot of myths regarding the safety of our eggs versus industry eggs. You occasionally get an outlaw that defies the regulators and regulations, but most of the commercial egg suppliers take egg safety extremely seriously. Those eggs are checked to avoid contamination and are treated to prevent disease organisms. From a food safety aspect, those eggs are pretty darn safe.

    The eggs and meat from our chickens depends in what they eat and the environment they are in. Salmonella and other disease organisms are extremely prevalent in nature. Who knows what chemicals or other stuff is in the soil. We don't have regulations regarding our eggs or meat. We don't have required testing. Who knows how safe out eggs or meat are?

    I think you have to differentiate between what can happen and what will happen. Several decades ago, most Americans lived in conditions where they ate eggs from their own hens and meat from chickens they raised themselves. They did not sanitize everything or run lab tests to show that everything was safe. There were occasional problems (remember that Abe Lincoln's mother died from milk sickness for example) but for the most part what they ate was healthy for them.

    I'll try this as an example, though I know it will upset some people and it's about milk, not eggs, but I think the principle is the same. If you look at the statistics, the rate or the total amount (whichever way you want to look at it) of disease from milk products has dramatically decreased since the regulations on treating milk sold commercially went into effect. The danger from raw untreated commercially sold milk was clearly there. I still would have no problem drinking raw milk if I milked the cow myself. It's when I don't have control over the process, like if you milked the cow, that I might have some concerns. I'd probably still drink it, but I might want to know a bit about it and how it was handled.

    Same thing with the eggs and meat. I don't have any problem eating eggs or meat from chickens I raised myself. With all the regulations in place, I really don't have any problems eating eggs or chicken meat from the commercial operations from a health safety aspect. Taste is another thing. I would not have a real issue eating eggs or meat from your chickens, though I'd probably wash the eggs before I cracked them because I don't know how you handled them.

    I think the percentage possibility of what can go wrong versus what will go wrong leaves me really safe. The possibility of what can go wrong versus what actually will go wrong gets blown way out of proportion by the media and by people that just like to create drama where none really exists.

    I'll use another example. About a decade ago, there was an uproar in Louisiana about mercury levels in a certain lake. There were a lot of newspaper articles and spots on the local news. They did not give a lot of detail though. I looked up the actual warning. It said that pregnant women should not eat fish from that lake more than twice a week. Some similar warning for kids. That was quite a bit different from the media blitz that scared everyone away from that lake and really hurt the sale of fish from anywhere, whether from out of state or from salt water, not just that fresh water lake.

    There is the possibility that my eggs or chicken meat are contaminated. Same for vegetables from my garden or fruit from my trees. But I’m not going to worry about it. I don't think it is worth worrying about unless you have a specific reason to worry, like maybe you spread lead-based paint chips around where they forage.
    1 person likes this.
  7. FrogDoc

    FrogDoc In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2011
    I am a toxicologist... so here's my perspective. When toxicologists look at the toxicity of things, we speak in terms of risk, which takes into consideration both hazard (how dangerous or poisonous it is) and risk (the chance you'll be exposed). That is, if something is really toxic but we're not exposed to it, it's not a big deal. Conversely, something can be relatively non-toxic but if we're exposed to too much of it (think water, or vitamin A) then it can be toxic. While lead has been banned in many applications, it's persistent and can remain in the environment... so there's always going to be some level of exposure regardless of where you live- but there will be more in some areas than others.

    Lead is everywhere and can be found in things like candy, lipstick and garden gloves. The Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard has set the safety level for lead in children’s products (e.g., candy) at 100 ppm. The levels found in the eggs in the study range from 10 to 73 ppm. And they were found in less than half the eggs tested. So, not a lot of exposure unless you're eating loads and loads of eggs. But, if you're concerned because you believe you have other routes of exposure then perhaps testing your eggs would make you feel better.

    Personally, one of the reasons I have chickens is because I hate the thought of chicken "factories" that produce store-bought eggs. So, it's not only for my health, but for ecological sustainability. And, because they're super cool.
    1 person likes this.

  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    x2 Just have to stay that I love this. They really are super cool.
  9. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Songster

    from what i have read and been told the stuff they feed the chickens in factorys and the anitbotics and suck I will take a speck of leed over all the stuff the other chicken give us.
  10. hillbillyfarmer

    hillbillyfarmer In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2010
    Lead was also used years ago as water pipes and in the solder that they used to solder together copper pipe for plumbing in houses so if you live in an older house that still has the original plumbing you could be exposed by drinking, and cooking with the water coming out of your faucet. Now all solder used for plumbing must be lead free. All I know is that since I been raising and growing most of my own food I fell better. Unlike factory processed and factory farm products I know what I used to grow and raise that food.

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