View Full Version : More lead bullet attacks.

11-07-2008, 5:18 AM
Ban the bullet if you cant ban the gun...


Lead bullets may harm humans and golden eagles
Story by Jeff Osteen | November 5, 2008
Montana Kaimin

Local golden eagle migration research may indicate dangers associated with the use of lead bullets, especially health risks to human consumers of big game meat, researchers say.
The high levels of lead found in the eagles is a result of the birds feeding on the carcasses of animals that were shot by hunters using lead bullets, meaning the meat could be unfit for people to eat.
“A lot of these eagles are coming in with lead levels that could be fatal to human beings,” said Tyler Veto, a wildlife biologist for the Missoula-based Raptor View Research Institute.
Rob Domenech, executive director and founder of the institute, said more than 50 percent of the eagles they tested in 2007 have a greater-than-background level of lead in their blood.
“And that’s cause for concern,” he said.

According to Veto, the institute defines background levels as ten micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. He said the background level is “basically the point where we should start to worry.”
“Any amount of lead is bad, so it’s really hard to call it background level,” he said.
Two main concerns are exposed by the research done by the institute, said Heiko Langner, research assistant professor and director of the Environmental Biogeochemical Laboratory in the Geosciences Department at the University of Montana. Langner, who manages the laboratory testing of the blood for the institute, said there is a health risk for humans who eat venison that was shot using lead bullets.
Veto said that when a bullet penetrates the body of an animal, the lead could fragment up to two feet from the entry wound, spreading poison throughout.
“A lot of people think they’re doing themselves a favor by avoiding beef and going out and shooting their own venison, when some may be bringing home lead to their wives and children,” Veto said.
Langner said there is also an environmental health concern associated with the use of lead bullets.
There are more common animals — like bears, mice, coyotes and ravens — that feed from carcasses left by hunters, he said.
Domenech said they aren’t able to pinpoint the source of the lead found in golden eagles but one possible explanation could be that the eagles are feeding on carcasses that were killed with lead-based bullets.
He said the institute is currently researching a host of potentially poisonous heavy metals with an emphasis on lead and mercury.
“We’re not trying to ban bullets,” Domenech said of the research-based organization that monitors Montana raptor migration and researches the factors, both human and not, that affect migration.
Langner said this year’s results haven’t been analyzed in the lab yet, but that tests done with a field kit show similar results to last year’s tests.
He said there is no other major source of lead that eagles would come in contact with other than gut piles left by hunters.
“This is the big factor,” he said.
Several organizations and state departments have recently sought restraint on the use of lead bullets used for hunting.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a warning in a recent newsletter against deer harvested with lead bullets. According to the newsletter, tiny lead fragments may be too small to be seen and can disperse far from the wound.
The Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act has effectively banned the use of lead bullets when hunting in range of the condor since July 1, 2008.
Washington state’s Department of Ecology is also targeting lead ammunition as part of a proposed “Lead Chemical Action Plan.”
Langner said the chief reason for the continued use of lead bullets is their thrift. He said lead bullets are cheaper but copper bullets may perform as well or better.
The National Rifle Association is an outspoken advocate for the maintained legalization of lead ammunition.
In response to the Lead Chemical Action Plan, the NRA has organized an effort aimed at Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, urging the public to speak out in favor of lead ammunition supported by claims that their affect on humans and wildlife do not justify a ban.
“It’s a big health concern for humans and it’s a big health concern for the environment, too,” Langner said, “and it’s really something that’s so easy to get rid of.”

11-07-2008, 5:21 AM
The results of CDC study on game eaten that were shot with lead bullets.


Firearms Industry Statement on Results of
CDC Blood Lead Levels in Hunters Study

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry -- issued the following statement in response to study results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released by the North Dakota Department of Health, showing no evidence that lead or "traditional" ammunition pose any health risk to those who consume game harvested meat.

The CDC report on human lead levels of hunters in North Dakota has confirmed what hunters throughout the world have known for hundreds of years, that traditional ammunition poses no health risk to people and that the call to ban lead ammunition was nothing more than a scare tactic being pushed by anti-hunting groups.

In looking at the study results, the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that of the average American. In other words, if you were to randomly pick someone on the street, chances are they would have a higher blood lead level than the hunters in this study.

Also of note, the lead levels of children under 6 in the study had a mean of just 0.88, less than half the national average. Children over 6 had even lower lead levels. The CDC's level of concern for lead in children is 10.

A media advisory released by the North Dakota Department of Health cited the highest lead level reading of an adult study participant as still being lower than the CDC lead level threshold of concern for a child, and significantly lower than the CDC accepted threshold of concern for an adult. Furthermore, during a tele-press conference hosted by the ND Department of Health, officials stated they could not verify whether this adult even consumed game harvested with traditional ammunition. Correspondingly, the study only showed an insignificant 0.3 micrograms per deciliter difference between participants who ate wild game harvested with traditional ammunition and non-hunters in the non-random control group.

Also demonstrating their understanding that game harvested with traditional ammunition is safe to consume, the ND Department of Health, following the release of the CDC study results, encouraged hunters to continue donating venison to local food banks as long as processing guidelines were adhered to.

NSSF was critical of the ND Department of Health when earlier this year the Department overreacted to a non-peer reviewed study by a dermatologist who claimed to have collected packages of venison from food banks that contained lead fragments. North Dakota health officials did not conduct their own study, but merely accepted the lead-contaminated meat samples from the dermatologist. The ND Department of Health then ordered all food banks to discard their venison. Serious questions were raised in a subsequent investigative journalism piece published this summer about the scientific validity of the testing of venison samples from the ND food pantries, including concerns regarding the non-random selection of the samples.

It has since come to light that the dermatologist's efforts were not the independent actions of a concerned hunter, as he claimed. It was an orchestrated strategy by the Peregrine Fund -- an organization dedicated to eliminating the use of lead ammunition for hunting. The dermatologist serves on the Fund's Board of Directors.

For more than a century, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely consumed game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition, and despite there being no scientific evidence that consuming the game is endangering the health of individuals, special interest groups like the Peregrine Fund and anti-hunting groups are continuing to press state legislatures around the country to support a ban on this common, safe and effective ammunition.

These politically driven groups understand that while an outright ban on hunting would be nearly impossible to achieve, dismantling the culture of hunting one step at a time is a realistic goal. Banning lead ammunition is the first step of this larger political mission. We can only hope that with the conclusive CDC results concerning the safety of traditional ammunition, legislatures across the country will listen to science and not anti-hunting radicals.

The notion by some, that any amount of lead is a "concern," is scientifically unfounded rhetoric that runs contrary to nationwide, long-standing standards of evaluation. The NSSF is pleased that hunters and others can now comfortably continue consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition that has been properly field dressed and butchered, yet we remain unsettled that for so many months good and safe food was taken out of the mouths of the hungry as nothing more than a political gambit by special interest groups.