Friday, April 29, 2016

Impacts of Lead Ammunition

           I never was a hunter, the fear of guns and animals kept me far away from it. However, I had always been a fairly adventurous eater. I’ve had calamari, duck, and even alligator a few times. It seemed normal being in a Midwestern state that the next time I expanded my palette I would be trying venison. Before I got a chance to taste the delectable deer that so many speak about, I ran across some research on deer and how their hunted. According to The Scientific American's Wild Meat Raises Lead Exposure article , “Dr. William Cornatzer, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences and a radiologist, X-rayed 100 packages of venison that had been donated by a sportsmen group to a food bank. About 60 percent of the packages contained lead-shot fragments, even though it’s common practice among hunters to remove meat around the wound.” This disturbing information lead me to continue my research where I found that “Eating venison and other game can substantially raise the amounts of lead in human bodies. The findings have prompted some experts to recommend stricter regulations on lead ammunition.” I knew that lead could contaminate the body through lead based paint and even gas but this new information shows another route that the element can take that can have disastrous effects. The Center for Disease Control recommends pregnant women and children under 6 years of age to avoid eating wild game that is captured with lead ammunition.
            However, some people such as the anonymous author of “Letter: Too quick to blame lead ammo” on the Budgeteer News seems to disagree. The blog explains how a frequent venison eater had their child’s blood lead levels tested only to find that the levels were very low, indicating that eating game has not had a major impact on the families lead exposure. The author continues to explain how 99% of hunters in the area comply with the anti-lead ammo policy however animals such as the California condor are still being poisoned, suggesting there is another cause of poisoning. With limited research it is hard to say which of the two views is correct but one thing is for sure. Lead poisoning has negative impacts for adults, children, and animals alike.