AmmoLand.com Shooting Sports News, January 25, 2013
By William J. Snape, III
USA- (Ammoland.com)-Obviously, there is a lot of discussion right now about changes to our gun laws as a result of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.
This article is not about gun control or the Second Amendment, but rather about removing toxic materials from hunting ammunition and fishing tackle.
For the past decade there has been debate over regulation or restrictions on the use of lead ammunition for hunting activities that cause lead exposure and poisoning for birds and other wildlife. The effectiveness, cost and availability of copper and other non-lead hunting ammunition has dramatically improved in recent years. Increasing numbers of hunters are switching to non-lead rounds because they are better for hunting, better for wildlife, and safer for hunters and their families.
Almost three hundred groups from around the country have joined the Center for Biological Diversity’s call to finally phase lead out of lead hunting ammunition. For the sake of people, wildlife and a lead-free environment, it’s time to make this happen.
Let’s be clear about what this is, and isn’t, about. This has nothing to do with restricting hunting or the Second Amendment. Our organization has hunters and non-hunters as members. Many hunting groups are promoting non-lead ammunition. The legal effort to restrict lead in hunting ammunition and fishing equipment has everything to do with getting toxic lead out of our environment and nothing to do with restrictions on hunting and fishing. Nothing.
Fortunately, there are proven, effective alternatives to lead for nearly every caliber of ammunition used in hunting. A recent scientific article, Lead-Free Hunting Rifle Ammunition: Product Availability, Price, Effectiveness, and Role in Global Wildlife Conservation, found that:
What are the costs of not switching to non-toxic ammunition?
Of more personal concern to hunters is increasing information about health impact to humans from hunting with lead ammo. We know that when lead is ingested it attacks organs and many different body systems. Lead is especially dangerous to fetuses and young children, causing damage to the brain and nervous system, and measurably decreasing IQs. See, e.g., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level Lead (National Toxicology Program, June 2012).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is consensus among medical researchers that there is no safe level of lead exposure in young children. Numerous studies link elevated lead levels with aggression, destructive and delinquent behavior, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, and criminal behavior. See, e.g., John Paul Wright et al., Association of Prenatal and Childhood Blood Lead Concentrations with Criminal Arrests in Early Adulthood, PLOS Medicine (May 2008). Several studies using radiographs have also demonstrated to hunters that the deer, elk or other game they shoot with lead ammo and feed their families is tainted with dangerous toxic lead fragments. States such as South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan and Indiana have all concluded that pregnant women and children should not eat venison harvested with lead bullets because of health dangers. This is also a real concern for many food bank programs that serve shot venison.
So how do we move forward so that we are not needlessly poisoning our wildlife or jeopardizing our own health, while allowing hunters and anglers to continue to hunt and fish?
Nationally, the most logical initial step would be for the Environmental Protection Agency to compile all available information on the environmental and health impacts of lead ammunition and sinkers, as well as details on viable alternatives, into one comprehensive report that the public could comment upon and participate in. The EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should then begin the process of phasing out lead under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other relevant existing laws.
The common sense answer to our current conundrum is to phase out toxic lead, adopt the readily available alternatives, and fully embrace life on Earth – from our children and our mothers to our many majestic forms of wildlife. It’s the right thing to do.
© 2013 AlmmoLand.com Shooting Sports News.
This article originally appeared here.
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