Citation Marshall K, Watson S, McDonald P, Copplestone D & Watts SJ (2010) Exposure of birds to radionuclides and other contaminants in Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in North-West England, Science of the Total Environment, 408 (12), pp. 2567-2575.
Abstract There has been a decline in the population of some bird species at Morecambe Bay and the Solway Firth Special Protected Areas in North-West England during the last fifty years. It was suggested that the declines were caused, in part, by contaminants in the food and environment, primarily from the radioactive effluent discharge from the Sellafield Ltd nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Cumbria. This study analysed bird feathers and tissues, vegetation and sediment for radionuclides, metals and persistent organic compounds. The non-radionuclide results were all low compared to relevant action limits. The ERICA model was used with field data to estimate the radiological dose to birds from exposure to 137Cs and 241Am with results between 1.26 to 3.83 μGy h− 1, below the ERICA screening level of 10 μGy h− 1 and within the IAEA 40 μGy h− 1 guideline value below which potential adverse impacts on biota are unlikely. The study showed no link between bird population decline and anthropogenic discharges to the SPAs.