Are lead bullets, or bullets containing a lead core a credible danger to consumers of game meat shot with them?
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 harvested game meat. Recent scare tactics by anti-hunting and anti-gun groups have included the suggestion that lead poisoning can occur from eating meat that had been killed with any bullet containing lead. Anti-hunting groups want to call for a ban on ammunition or bullets containing lead. This study by the CDC proves that there is no threat to humans of lead contamination from game meat.
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.
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.
The Peregrine Fund — an organization dedicated to eliminating the use of lead ammunition for hunting, was among those pushing for a ban on lead in North Dakota. 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.
Facts Hunters Should Know from the CDC Study . . .
1. Consuming game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition does not pose a human health risk.
2. Participants in the study had readings lower than the national average and well below the level the CDC considers to be of concern.
3. Children in the study had readings that were less than half the national average and far below the level the CDC considers to be of concern.
4. The study showed a statistically insignificant difference between participants who ate game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition and the non-hunters in the control group.
5. Hunters should continue to donate venison to food pantries.