LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 10 no 4, June 2010, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Anne Roberts

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Cats and Dogs – the Canaries Down the Mine
“Kuba” and “Storm”

Marsha & KubaBy Isla MacGregor

  On the 14th of February 2008 Marsha Stejskal brought her cat Kuba (photo at left) to Rosebery. Within a few days he came down with severe flu-like symptoms and developed serious breathing difficulties.  It took Kuba four weeks to recover. During that time he started showing signs of abnormal and sometimes violent behaviour. He developed diarrhoea which was constant but Marsha thought it was possibly just his diet.

In mid September 2008, Marsha saw Kuba drinking the water seepage lying in her garden. She took him away immediately. Two hours’ later Kuba could not walk properly, began vomiting violently and developed terrible diarrhoea.

Marsha suspected that there was something terribly wrong with the water seepage. She decided to send samples of the seepage water to be tested in Hobart at the Analytical Services Tasmania laboratory.

The results that came back were very alarming:

  • Arsenic - 482 µg/L (acceptable level 70 µg/L)
  • Lead -1530 µg/L (acceptable level 100 µg/L)
  • Manganese - 15100 µg/L (acceptable level 5000 µg/L)
  • Chromium - 98 µg/L (acceptable level 50 ug/L)

In early October, when Marsha received the results from the laboratory, she showed them to her neighbours Kay Seltitzas and Lindsay Phillips, and they all decided to immediately go to the mine to raise their concerns.


  In response to Kay Seltitzas' high copper blood levels, the water results and Kuba's illness, the DHHS/EPA commenced their investigations in November 2008. By February 2009 Marsha had also become extremely unwell with arsenic poisoning, and decided to take her cat and leave Rosebery.

In June 2009, Marsha returned to Rosebery to collect some of her possessions, and a friend, Wonita Arnold, gave her a cat named Storm (photo at left). Storm was also suffering symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. After he was 4 days’ out of exposure from Rosebery, Marsha took Storm to the vet and had blood tests taken. The results showed an Arsenic level of 1.1 umol/L. The vet was very concerned because the level of Arsenic in a cat's blood should be zero.

Marsha sent some hair samples from Kuba and Storm to Dr Gloria Dodd, a Californian Veterinarian with 34 years' experience with heavy metal poisoning. Results showed that Kuba and Storm had severe electrolyte imbalance and were chronically poisoned with Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and other heavy metals.

Kuba and Storm continue to suffer from intermittent paralysis, diarrhoea, extreme lethargy, tooth decay and bizarre violent behaviour.

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Last Updated 23 January 2012
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