The Gressenich disease or cow death is poisoning of cows by pasture feed contaminated with lead and cadmium with an often fatal outcome in the urban area of Stolberg (Rhineland) in the urban region of Aachen . The reason was the combination of precipitation from the Binsfeldhammer lead smelter with the soil pollution from ore deposits .
In 1965 cases from Stolberg-Binsfeldhammer as well as Gressenich and Diepenlinchen (districts of Stolberg since 1972) became officially known. In 1973, the occurrence of Gressenich's disease, together with the results of tests on so-called “ Stolberg lead children ”, led to an environmental protection program. In the second half of the 20th century, the farmers of Gressenich and Stolberg mainly raised cattle . The animals were much more affected by heavy metal pollution in the environment than humans, especially cattle , sheep and goats . The heavy metals , especially cadmium, accumulated mainly in the liver , kidneys and bones. Between 1980 and 1982, 13 animals were reported to have died of lead poisoning. It was recommended not to sell offal from Stolberg slaughter cattle.
- Itai-Itai disease (chronic cadmium poisoning)
- Federal Ministry for Health, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Documentation on the Environment and Health Action Program. 1999, Bonn (p. 92) (PDF; 496 kB)