Millions of pounds of lead used in hunting, fishing and shooting sports wind up in the environment each year and can threaten or kill wildlife, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey
Lead has long been known to be damaging to biology. It's previous use in gasoline, paint, pesticides, and solder in food cans has nearly been eliminated. Lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting in 1991, but its use in ammunition for upland hunting, shooting sports, and in fishing tackle remains common.
|©Jacobson et al. 1977, courtesy of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
|Radiograph of immature bald eagle containing numerous lead shot in its digestive tract.
Numerous previous studies have documented adverse effects to wildlife, especially waterbirds and scavenging species, like hawks and eagles, the researchers say. Lead exposure from ingested lead shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers also has been reported in reptiles, and studies near shooting ranges have shown evidence of lead poisoning in small mammals.