Helping To Protect Giant Pandas From Lead Poisoning

we know drinking water can contain lead, as we've had at a few elementary schools in San Diego. But lead impacts wildlife, and now captive giant pandas in china will be tested for lead exposure.

The company, Magellan Diagnostics, makes the only FDA approved analyzer that detects lead in blood.

The tests are usually done in a clinical setting, but now they will be used  on pandas.

There are several sources of lead which threaten wildlife. They include mining, e-waste processing, batteries, lead paint and coal burning production.

60 percent of China's energy comes from coal burning plants. One of the byproducts of coal combustion is lead, which can land on surfaces thousands of miles away.

With giant pandas predominantly housed near city centers, pollution reaches their enclosures and their major source of food, bamboo.

As bamboo is harvested for food, these bears are potentially ingesting harmful levels of this toxic metal. And, often their pens have lead based paint.

PDX Wildlife says they need to understand the environment of the threatened and endangered pandas so they can better assist them in their recovery.

The potential harmful effects of lead exposure on giant pandas include organ and tissue damage, reproductive system damage, neurological damage, immune system suppression and, in extreme cases, paralysis and death.

Magellan is donating the test kits because the majority of cases involving elevated blood lead levels can only be detected thru blood  tests.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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