SREL Reprint #1895

 

 

 

 

Birds as monitors of radionuclide contamination

I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr

4.1 INTRODUCTION

Of the major classes of environmental contaminants, radionuclides tend to be generally less well known and less frequently studied than heavy metals or organic compounds. This may be because in the past elevated levels of environmental contamination with radionuclides have generally only been a problem in a relatively few and limited geographical localities. Most of these localities have either prohibited or greatly restricted public access because of safety and security considerations (e.g. nuclear weapons production or testing sites). As a result, the contamination of free-living flora and fauna with radionuclides has tended to be less apparent to both the scientific community and the public than contaminations with such substances as agricultural herbicides and pesticides. The latter, for example, may often produce the spectre of sick or dying birds in areas where they are commonly encountered by the public.

SREL Reprint #1895

Brisbin, I.L., Jr. 1993. Birds as monitors of radionuclide contamination. In Birds as Monitors of Environmental Change, edited by R.W. Furness and J.J.D. Greenwood. p. 144-178. Chapman & Hall. London.

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