Center for Biological Diversity

Protect Wildlife From Lead Poisoning

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Although toxic lead has been taken out of paint and gasoline, tons of lead are shot or left in the wild every year from hunting and fishing. There it enters the food chain and endangers wildlife. Bald eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, loons, cranes, condors, herons and doves are needlessly poisoned by spent lead ammunition and die excruciating deaths, starving to death when their digestive systems shut down. Wolves, bears and panthers are also poisoned. There is a mountain of scientific evidence that lead ammunition and fishing tackle are the source of lead poisoning exposure for at least 130 wildlife species.

Use of lead ammunition also poses health risks to 10 million hunters, their families and low-income beneficiaries of venison donations. Lead bullets explode and fragment into minute particles in shot game and can spread throughout meat that humans eat. Studies using radiographs show that numerous imperceptible, dust-sized particles of lead can infect meat up to a foot and a half away from the bullet wound, causing a greater health risk to humans who consume lead-shot game than previously thought. State health agencies have had to recall venison donated to feed the hungry because of lead contamination from lead bullet fragments.

There is simply no reason to continue to use toxic lead materials for hunting or fishing. Effective, nontoxic bullets, shot and fishing weights are widely available and in many cases, comparable in price to lead. That is why more than 120 organizations representing birders, hunters, scientists, health organizations, American Indians and public employees are calling for a nationwide ban on lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.

The Environmental Protection Agency has the ability to regulate toxic lead in ammunition and fishing gear to prevent the deaths of millions of wild birds and wildlife each year, but has refused to act in the face of pressure from the well-heeled NRA gun lobby.
Tell the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce federal regulations intended to protect wildlife and people from preventable lead poisoning.

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Golden eagle photo courtesy Flickr Commons/mattknoth.

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Read more about the Center for Biological Diversity's Get the Lead Out campaign.