Marie Orttenburger: Heavy Metal Turtles

Capitol News Service:

You likely won’t find any painted and snapping turtles headbanging to Metallica in Lake Michigan wetlands. But heavy metal runs in their veins.

These turtles accumulate heavy metals in their tissues, according to a recent study in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Some of those metals come from local industries such as smelters, refineries and foundries, as well as landfills, storm sewers and farm runoff.

“There’s reason to believe the levels of metals like cadmium, chromium, copper and lead are impacted by anthropogenic sources,” said Matt Cooper, a research scientist at Northland College’s Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation in Ashland, Wisconsin, and co-author of the study. “They are much higher than would occur naturally, and the geology in the areas they were studying wasn’t known to have high levels of those contaminants.”

Interesting results. I wonder if the amounts from the results of this study compare to fish and human heavy metal loads.