LEAD found in coop and we've been eating the eggs !Freaking out !

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by urbanolive, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. urbanolive

    urbanolive Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    OMG I can't believe I never tested the old recycled windows for lead before we used them in the coop ! yesterday I noticed a hen pecking at the window wood and most likely eating the flakes of paint. The windows were old and peeling but I just never thought about it. Well I just went to get a lead test kit and they are so positive !!!! We -my whole family including 2 small children- have been eating the eggs since they started laying 2 weeks ago . I am totally freaking out now. Will I have to get rid of all our chickens ? Are they permananetly contaminated ? Have I poisoned my kids ?!?!
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009

    I am interested to see what people say--but some questions:

    1-How many chickens, how much paint?
    2-How old are the chickens? Lead builds up over time.
    3-How long have they been ingesting it? An educated guess?

    I wouldn't worry. Eggs have a short "life" in the chicken's system, compared to their muscle. So the egg itself is unlikely to be terribly contaminated. The chickens would have to eat a bunch of paint to have buildup in their tissues.

    You would have to eat a LOT of contaminated muscle to be affected.

    I would guess you are ok. How many of us ate lead paint as kids? (not admitting to anything here...) I would remove the source, and wait. Maybe get a chicken tested at the vet to calm your nerves. Give a vet a call and see what they say!

    EDITED: someone PLEASE chime in here if I am wrong. I always err on the side of caution, but try to avoid the over-reaction.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  4. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    The amount it takes is actually fairly high to cause problems...so you are okay. Will the hen pass on the lead to the eggs...probably..not for sure...DDT got passed so i would guess so but that was something else...remove the source and you will be okay. The real problem with lead is that the body doesn't get rid of it and the levels build up...we know this know so sources of ingestion have been looked and and elimenated so as long as you don't take lead from a gun you should be okay...
  5. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Quote:ooohhh! Good info! I don't know much about heavy metals. To the research-mobile, Batman!

    I will see what I can find.

    Edited: I hate quoting wikipedia, but:
    No safe threshold for lead exposure has been discovered—that is, there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm.

    better safe than sorry... BUT:
    Farm animals such as cows and horses[146] as well as pet animals are also susceptible to the effects of lead toxicity.[120] Sources of lead exposure in pets can be the same as those that present health threats to humans sharing the environment, such as paint and blinds, and there is sometimes lead in toys made for pets.[120] Lead poisoning in a pet dog may indicate that children in the same household are at increased risk for elevated lead levels.[69]

    So if the birds don't present symptoms--probably no big whoop?

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  6. usschicago1

    usschicago1 Suburban Cochins

    Aug 11, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    You should go to your doctor. Get a lead test. I imagine they have one. I have been tested for mercury (yup i was positive) so lead im sure you could get. Get ride of your flock?...No i wouldnt i would wait a whole laying year before eating them though. But thats the same time as buying chicks and getting them to growing age, your choice.How Does Lead Effect the Nervous System?

    Most of the dysfunctions produced by the absorption of lead are due to lead's ability to mimic and inhibit the actions of calcium. (2) In humans the lead is directly absorbed, distributed, and excreted. Once in the bloodstream lead is distributed to three main compartments: blood, soft tissue (kidney, bone marrow, liver, and brain), and mineralized tissue (bones and teeth). (3) Lead effects children and adults in different ways. Low lead levels in children can cause the following side effects:

    Nervous system and kidney damage.
    Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence.
    Speech, language, and behavior problems.
    Poor muscle coordination.
    Decreased muscle and bone growth.
    Hearing damage.
    Seizures, unconsciousness, and death. (4)
    In adults high levels of lead in their systems can cause the following:
    Increased chance of illness during pregnancy.
    Harm to a fetus, including brain damage or death.
    Fertility problems (in men and women).
    High blood pressure.
    Digestive problems.
    Nerve disorders.
    Memory and concentration problems.
    Muscle and joint pain. (4)
    Once lead enters the body it interferes with normal cell function and physiological processes. Some of the physiological effects of lead include harm done to the peripheral and central nervous system (PNS, CNS), blood cells, metabolism of vitamin D and calcium, and reproductive toxicity. The nervous system seems to be the most sensitive to lead poisoning. (3)
    Neurons are the functional unit of the nervous system and are specialized for the transmission of signals from one location to the next. The dendrites of the neuron receive the input signal and relay it to the rest of the neuron. The axon of the neuron relays this input signal in the direction of its tips. The tips of the axon have specialized endings known as synaptic terminals that relay the signal to other cells by using a chemical messengers, neurotransmitters. The neuron will release the neurotransmitter molecules, located in synaptic vesicles, into the synapse only when an action potential arrives and depolarizes the surface of the synaptic terminal that before the cleft. Calcium ions play an important role in the nervous system; they help convert the electrical pulse into a chemical signal. The depolarization of the presynaptic membrane causes the calcium ions to travel through voltage gated channels into the neuron. The sudden increase in the concentration of calcium triggers the synaptic vesicles to fuse with the presynaptic membrane, spilling the neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft by means of exocytosis. The neurotransmitters then go on to diffuse through to the postsynaptic cleft, which is the plasma cell body (or dendrite) on the other side of the synapse. (5)

    Cells absorb lead through the same channels they absorb calcium from. The drugs that regulate the intake of calcium also increase the amount of lead uptake. High levels of lead decrease transport of calcium and vice versa, therefore these two metals function as competitive inhibitors. Lead can enter through the same ion channels as calcium and regulate the activity of those channels to uptake more lead into the cell. (2)
    .Lead, even at low concentrations, has the ability to increase the basal release of the neurotransmitters from the presynaptic nerve endings This can occur both in the PNS and CNS. Micromolar concentrations of lead can cause the spontaneous release of dopamine, acetylcholine (ACh), and gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA). (2) Control movement and emotional response are some of the brain processes that are affected by dopamine. (6) An acetylcholine receptor has the responsibility for transducting nerve impulses to muscular contraction. (7) GABA is an amino acid classified as a neurotransmitter. GABA is thought to play a role in the secretion of growth hormones according to some studies. (8) Lead can also block the release of neurotransmitters when the action potential is taking place. This double effect of lead can have serious consequences on a developing nervous system. It can result in a decrease of pruning, what shapes the early brain, of an infant. The early brain, which has more synapses than an adult brain, is patterned according to the stimuli received during development. If there is an increase in neural activity, brought about by lead, the development process can be inhibited and have permanent effects on synaptic anatomy and function of the brain. It is believed that this is one of the causes of learning and behavioral problems that occur in children. (2)
  7. bigstack

    bigstack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    As stated before the egg passes quickly through the chicken. The eggs should be fine and so should ya'll. If you haven't fixed the problem Then DO IT NOW!!! Then just to be safe you can have a blood test done on either the chickens or your selves. (or both) Who ever ate the most eggs (people) is the one I would have tested. Since I am cheep, I wouldn't test every one. If you would feel better you can have every one tested to be safe. I for one will admit to living a poor country life. We chewed leaded paint and even used to handle mercury bare handed. even put it in our mouths once. DO NOT DO THIS!!! We had to entertain ourselves but as stated before lead is built up in the muscle tissue and blood. If you are still worried you can just discard any eggs until the test comes back. Personally I would fix the problem, wait a week or so to give a lil time for the system to flush. Then resume as before. But thats just me!

    Good luck and God Bless!
    P.s. I will put you and yours on the prayer list just to be safe.
  8. bigstack

    bigstack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    we also used to run throught the crop dusters spraying pestacide. I have no problems physical or mental (Don't ask my wife) and I have a tested IQ of 142. I will admit I do have a problem with spelling and punctuation and a touch of adult ADD. But other than that I am fine. And pretty darn handsom too!
  9. urbanolive

    urbanolive Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    1. 10 hens and a roo. 2. they are just now 6 months old ,have been laying for 2 weeks, been living in the coop for 4 months now. 3. who knows how long but probably the whole time !

    I just went down there and stapled up hardware cloth so they can't get to the windows anymore, until hubby can figure out something more permenant.

    And I made doctor's appointments for the 2 little ones to get lead tested ! Now I will find a vet that lead tests- I'll test the barred rock that was pecking the windows and assume they were all doing it.

    This totally sucks. I took the leftover testing pads and tested some of my jadite dishes. Well guess what ? They have freakin lead in them too !!!
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I wouldn't worry about such small amounts. My dad has worked with lead solder his entire life, grew up in a time were leaded gas was normal, had us when he was like 44 and 46 (no reproductive harm there as I was born only a year after my parents married), is very successful as an electrical engineer with 8 patents to himself (lead over 65 years didn't make him stupid)... We are healthy even though we grew up playing with electronic stuff, soldering old things together with leaded solder above fumes and all... and do recall rolling mercury around as a kid and using a mercury based antibiotic ointment (from china) for cuts .. and excelled though my BS in Bioengineering... and am now two years into my PhD at 23 so it couldn't have caused that much harm if any.

    High does = bad... a few paint chips here and there isn't going to do anything so no need to freak out. [​IMG] I mean, drink too much pure water and you'll cause yourself electrolyte imbalance and can die from it.

    I bet if you tested the dirt in your lawn... you'd find lead.

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