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Open Access Increase in Lead Concentration in the Drinking Water of an Animal Care Facility

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We report here the unexpected detection, and subsequent correction, of a problem that resulted in an increase in lead concentration in the drinking water of an animal research facility. At the initiation of a study, analysis of a water sample obtained from the drinking spout of an animal cage revealed a lead concentration nearly twice the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum acceptable concentration. Because the municipal water supply routinely had been tested and found to be free of lead, it was assumed that this contamination was within the animal care facility. It was hypothesized that the brass fitting connecting the drinking spout to a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe was the source of contamination. Water samples were obtained hourly from 0700 to 1600 hours before and after replacement of the brass fitting with a PVC fitting. After this change, lead concentrations in all samples were within acceptable limits. Although blood lead concentrations were undetectable in 47 rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) housed in the facility, subclinical lead toxicosis could have resulted and potentially complicated studies in which these monkeys were used. We recommend that the water supply of research facilities be monitored periodically.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53715

Publication date: January 1, 1998

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

    Attention Members: To access the full text of the articles, be sure you are logged in to the AALAS website.

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