War against ammunition heats up

Lead, first employed in weaponry by the Romans, has been the metal of choice for use in bullets and shotgun shells for more than seven centuries. However, since at least the mid-1980s, its use has been under attack by various environmental and animal rights groups, joined periodically by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  In recent months the campaign has heated up considerably, and gives no sign of cooling down; within the U.S. or abroad.

The movement against lead in ammunition has progressed much farther in Europe than here.  For one thing, the culture prevalent in Europe (Switzerland being a notable exception) considers firearms ownership a privilege rather than a right; subject to easy and frequent government control.  The environmental and animal rights movement is also well-entrenched throughout Europe and within the European Union bureaucracy.

These forces in Europe have resulted in at least three countries — Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands – banning lead shot for all hunted species.  Other European countries, including France and England, ban lead shot for hunting waterfowl.  Such actions are the result of claims — not supported by any consistent science or medicine — that hunting with lead-based ammunition, and fishing with equipment containing lead, kills millions of birds and other animals each year as a result of ingesting lead traces from these “toxic” hunting and fishing activities.

Animal rights and environmental groups on this side of the Atlantic, however, are working hard to catch up to their European counterparts.  The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) trumpets this issue as a “deadly epidemic” that threatens humans as well as animals. Such efforts have paid some dividends for the anti-lead ammunition advocates in recent months.

Last year, for example, the National Parks Service implemented a plan to ban lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle in parks under its jurisdiction. 

The CDC has long been trying to solidify its jurisdiction over firearms and ammunition (defining a shooting as a “disease” is a stretch, but one that has not deterred the dauntless folks at CDC from relentlessly pushing the envelope of their jurisdiction).  The agency even has a lead poisoning prevention office, which among other things, conducts studies of lead levels in blood of people in areas where wild game is consumed.  No studies have yet shown dangerous levels of lead, but the studies — conducted, of course, at taxpayer expense — continue; perhaps until some imaginative researcher discovers the desired results.

Across the Nation’s Capital, the EPA earlier this month was again drawn into the lead ammunition fray as a result of a petition filed by the CBD and other kindred groups.  The petition asked that the EPA assume jurisdiction over lead in ammunition and move to ban it, pursuant to terms of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA last Friday dismissed the petition – correctly concluding that the law, which did in fact grant the feds extensive power to regulate lead, exempted firearms and ammunition from its reach. 

Had the EPA decided instead to accept these petitioners’ tortured arguments that somehow the language in the law did not really exempt lead in ammunition, because the offending substance could be separated from the other parts of the cartridges and shells, a battle royal would have ensued with firearms- and hunting-rights organizations.

Still, further actions against ammunition are certain, and more petitions are likely in the months ahead.  The bottom line is that this controversy has little to do with the health of either humans or wildlife, and much to do about gun control; whose advocates have taken a beating in recent Supreme Court decisions. Rather than licking their wounds, however, the gun control crowd remains busy looking up old friends at EPA, the CDC and elsewhere in Washington; and finding a more receptive audience.

59 comments Add your comment

paleo-neo-Carlinist

August 30th, 2010
9:12 am

wouldn’t be the first time a “Trojan Horse” was used in political battle. perhaps the EPA and the FDA and the rest of the “regulators” in DC need focus attention on the toxins and unhealthy additives contained in processed foods. then they can focus attention on the envrionmental impact of the “scorched earth” nature of large corporate farms and food processing plants. I have fished my entire life and I have hunted on and off for 20+ years and politics aside; outdoorsmen are among the most environmentally concious folks I know.

Chris

August 30th, 2010
9:13 am

Two words: Cass Sunstein. This man is Obama’s regulatory czar. He is doing everything possible (under Obama’s blessing I might add) to trap all of us into serfdom and enslavement.

Peter

August 30th, 2010
9:26 am

U.S., with the highest firearm death rate among developed countries, I have to wonder why a little lead exposure be a problem? (Drill Baby, Drill!)

Supreme Being

August 30th, 2010
9:38 am

So let me get this straight. Agencies want to ban lead ammunition because an animal with a lead bullet in it might die from lead poisoning? Pure genius.

jconservative

August 30th, 2010
9:52 am

Obviously Barr is not a shot gunner.

I prefer steel shot to lead shot. I have an IC choke on a Semi and I get a tighter pattern with steel shot.

From GunnersDen website:
(1) Steel shot is harder than lead shot. (Advantage)
(2) Steel shot is lighter than lead shot. (Disadvantage

And this argument has been going on since the late 1950’s.

Common Sense

August 30th, 2010
10:04 am

I thought the whole point of lead in shot was for the animal to die pretty much immediately from the lead in the shot, that’s the whole point. Can’t kill a deer with the wadding.

Peter

August 30th, 2010
10:04 am

“Supreme” the shot that misses ends up as collateral damage.

Supreme Being

August 30th, 2010
10:09 am

Well Peter…put this apple on your head and lets check out your moronic theory.

Tigers Woody

August 30th, 2010
10:13 am

So how long does it take to die from lead poisoning…10 or 15 years? Most birds lifespan is not more that 5 years. An old Pheasant is 2 years of age. Just what we need…more regulations and a government that thinks it knows best

What Me Worry

August 30th, 2010
10:15 am

How much lead shot would one have to swallow to do any harm. Having owned an old house I was told that kids could eat lead paint chips and pass them without harm. The problem is lead dust from door jambs created from opening and closing them over time.

Barring The Truth

August 30th, 2010
10:40 am

Barr, you continue to interject your biased opinion in everything. As an educated reader, it is sad and rather easy for me to pick apart almost everything that you write.

Can you please write anything with facts and then some reasonable conclusion or opinion? Must everything that you write be so biased and verging on absurd?

Barring The Truth

August 30th, 2010
10:41 am

@Common Sense – You are not common and you make no sense. Change your name.

Jess

August 30th, 2010
10:44 am

Create an agency or commission, and they will find a cause which will need additional funds and resources to champion.Wait until the 155 new agencies in the health care act kick in. As much of Europe tries to disentangle itself from the web of government it has created, we are boldly rushing down the same path they have discovered does not work.

Barring The Truth

August 30th, 2010
10:47 am

There is no reason why not to use steel shot as opposed to lead shot. In fact, many hunters prefer steel shot to lead shot.

What’s wrong with lead? Well, to start is the manufacturing. Lead is poison. Human contact with poison is not good, even in manufacturing.

Intentionally putting lead into an animal intended for human consumption doesn’t make sense. Especically when there is a viable alternative (steel) that is not poison.

Why not?

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 30th, 2010
10:48 am

Another Bob Barr tempest in a teapot. Before any of you John Birch Society bunkernuts swallow Bob’s bait (hook, line, and LEAD sinker), I suggest that you ease the hammer to a full down position and reflect on what he’s saying. Do you really think the EPA or the CDC thinks they have any chance at all of influencing gun-control legislation in this country? No politician will touch this issue with a 10-mile pole. This is THE biggest political loser ever. The real question is, why would Bob Barr want to demonize the EPA and CDC. My guess is he’s still pissed that he never got that Jr. Hitler Anthrax Kit he wanted for Christmas.

mike

August 30th, 2010
10:49 am

You know this man is a republican and he is fool of ideas that we can undertake.

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 30th, 2010
10:53 am

Barring The Truth,

Perhaps steel shot is no big deal for a shotgun, but a steel bullet will strip the rifling out of a pistol or rifle pretty fast.

David S

August 30th, 2010
10:55 am

This is not about controlling lead but about controlling people. The rats are cornered, they know that an armed citizenry is the only thing standing in their way and they are worried and desperate.

Expect more from out ruling elites before its all over.

Tigers Woody

August 30th, 2010
11:07 am

Barring the Truth – Do you care to enlighten us all with how grand and wise you are? It is easy to spout off and crticize without example. Me thinks you are nothing but an empty suit…like the man in the white house. All show and no go.

Jimbo

August 30th, 2010
11:13 am

soetoro and his idiot sidekicks ought to try out stell vs lead … on each other.

nativeamerican

August 30th, 2010
11:24 am

“Such actions are the result of claims — not supported by any consistent science or medicine — that hunting with lead-based ammunition, and fishing with equipment containing lead, kills millions of birds and other animals each year as a result of ingesting lead traces from these “toxic” hunting and fishing activities.”
This is another attempt by IslamObamao and his Marxist Clones to back door gun control. This time there wasn’t enough evidence or trends showing this to be true, this time. The EPA didn’t have the authority, but someone else does, so they will find out and submit it to them to get it passed. But before they do, they are going to have to come up with enough kickback monies to replace what the gubment makes off taxes from sales. And since this current Marxist Regime has been office, there has been a ginormus amount of ammo purchased.
I sent a letter to the CDB, this is what I said:
I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. I recently read where you the CBD, was petitioning the EPA to ban lead bullets and shot (as well as lead sinkers for fishing) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). I’m pretty sure that lead is part of an ore that is mined from the earth, not just part of it, but it’s all over the earth. Uranium and Plutonium are alot more dangerous to living things, shouldn’t we be more concerned about banning these than lead” They sent a reply with a copy of the petition, but not enough evidence. I sent them a reply, I told them they didn’t offer enough kickback money, still haven’t received a reply to that. Besides, the EPA has bigger fish to fry(sorry about the pun), they have Cap and Trade to work on.

DaveTheHunter

August 30th, 2010
11:26 am

No serious hunter prefers steel. A tighter pattern can be achieved by using a tighter choke, but there’s nothing you can do to overcome the lighter mass. Other alternatives are prohibitively expensive.

Your Progressive Thinking Neighbor

August 30th, 2010
11:51 am

After realizing the depth of the loathing and hatred that my conservative Christian Repubican neighbors have for their fellow human beings, and their support for right-wing, whitie, fascists politics, and realizing that they blame all their [perceived] problems on MY lil’ ol’ middle-class, tax-paying behind because I voted for [*gasp!*] the black guy, who has not actually revoked any of their rights or freedoms, but who have such a grand ol’ time gathering in the park to screech that he has, I BOUGHT A GUN and learned to use it. Keep your hate rallies off my lawn, creeps. I’m not afraid of you or your tight patterns.

Old Man

August 30th, 2010
12:04 pm

Really stupid article. The catapult was also used for several centuries by those Romans. Why don’t you gun people go out and lobby so I can get one of those shoulder-mounted missile shooters? I can protect myself better with one of those than a 38 calibre pea shooter.

Jefferson

August 30th, 2010
12:04 pm

“Life is so strange when it changes, yes indeed”

nativeamerican

August 30th, 2010
12:24 pm

Your Progressive Thinking Neighbor Rights, you mean like states rights to impliment their own laws, i.e. Az Immigration Law, Also, I don’t care what color he is, Marxism, came from a White guy, if he were in the WHITE House I wouldn’t like him either. So how do you play with a deck of cards when they are all the same(RACE CARD). You own a gun, why, your going to have to change you screen name to Your Conservative thinking neighbor. No Progressive would be caught alive or dead with a gun, so did you purchase the non-lead ammo. Are did you go with the Rightwing, whitie, environment destroying, buzzardkilling, KKK, Whitesupremist, Aryan Nation, stuff. If you answered yes to this, then it’s confirmed, your a right wing extremist. And as for your lawn, your have us confused wif yo bros SEIU Thugs. And you voted not for platforms, by according to race, that, makes you a racists. And he’s not black(i.e.African), he’s Arabian.

Dr. Pangloss

August 30th, 2010
12:25 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested 736 people, mostly adults, in six North Dakota cities and found that those who ate wild game had 50 percent more lead in their blood than those who did not eat it. The lead exposure was highest among people who consumed not only venison, but also birds and other game, according to the study published last month in the journal Environmental Research.

Full story at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=wild-game-deer-venison-condors-meat-lead-ammunition-ban

Keep eatin’ that lead, Bob!

Your Progressive Thinking Neighbor

August 30th, 2010
12:39 pm

nativeamerican,

Yellow Book has an extensive listing of psychiatrists in your area, or you can consult your employer’s EAP for recommendations. Good luck, and God bless!

tm

August 30th, 2010
1:05 pm

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested 736 people, mostly adults, in six North Dakota cities and found that those who ate wild game had 50 percent more lead in their blood than those who did not eat it.”
More evidence that the safe lead level has been courrepted.

nativeamerican

August 30th, 2010
2:06 pm

Your Progressive Thinking Neighbor

I called one, he said my appointment would be right after yours

Halftrack

August 30th, 2010
2:10 pm

Why is it that Pro-environmental folks can get themselves all worked up over a natural element as lead and yet they become rigid and declare all kinds of rights for abortion that kills innocent life. Seems like their agenda doesn’t coincide for everyone. Conservation and Stewardship covers both of these things.

Annabelle Malo

August 30th, 2010
2:55 pm

quote from article:

… Such actions (banning lead shot) are the result of claims — not supported by any consistent science or medicine — that hunting with lead-based ammunition, and fishing with equipment containing lead, kills millions of birds and other animals each year as a result of ingesting lead traces from these “toxic” hunting and fishing activities.

… studies of lead levels in blood of people in areas where wild game is consumed. No studies have yet shown dangerous levels of lead.

>> Apparently you did not actually take the time (whole 2 minutes of google search) to look for studies that may have been done. If you had, you would have found MANY of them, and from credible sources. As an example, one of them (from page 1 of google search results):

(( This hypothesis is based on published studies showing elevated blood lead concentrations in subsistence hunter populations, retention of ammunition residues in the tissues of hunter-killed animals, and systemic, cognitive, and behavioral disorders associated with human lead body burdens once considered safe.

We conclude that people risk exposure to bioavailable lead from bullet fragments when they eat venison from deer killed with standard lead-based rifle bullets and processed under normal procedures. At risk in the U.S. are some ten million hunters, their families, and low-income beneficiaries of venison donations. ))

If you’d like to read the whole report about this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669501/

Annabelle Malo

August 30th, 2010
2:56 pm

And just in case, you actually want more facts to help you make informed and educated comments and not look like a fool, here are only a few examples out of the many, MANY studies out there. Again, a simple search would have enabled you to find these yourself before writing your biased tirade and ignorant propaganda.

- Low-level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: an international pooled analysis.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002379

- Reduced intellectual development in children with prenatal lead exposure.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16675439

- Lead poisoning.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14746518

- Ammunition is the principal source of lead accumulated by California condors re-introduced to the wild.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051813

- Lead poisoning and the reintroduction of the California condor in northern Arizona
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19673462

- Lead toxicosis and trace element levels in wild birds and mammals at a firearms training facility.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11462145

- The identification of lead ammunition as a source of lead exposure in First Nations: the use of lead isotope ratios.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18272204

- A review of the environmental impacts of lead shotshell ammunition and lead fishing weights in Canada.
link: dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection/CW69-1-88E.pdf

- UNDERSTANDING LEAD UPTAKE AND EFFECTS ACROSS SPECIES LINES: A CONSERVATION MEDICINE BASED APPROACH
link: http://www.peregrinefund.org/lead_conference/PDF/0101%20Pokras.pdf

And if that’s still not enough for you to realize what you’re writing is ignorant garbage:
http://tinyurl.com/244obzn
http://tinyurl.com/2ajz5ma

Annabelle M

August 30th, 2010
3:00 pm

And just in case, you actually want more facts to help you make informed and educated comments and not look like a fool, here are only a few examples out of the many, MANY studies out there. Again, a simple search would have enabled you to find these yourself before writing your biased tirade and ignorant propaganda.

- Low-level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: an international pooled analysis.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002379

- Reduced intellectual development in children with prenatal lead exposure.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16675439

- Lead poisoning.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14746518

- Ammunition is the principal source of lead accumulated by California condors re-introduced to the wild.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051813

- Lead poisoning and the reintroduction of the California condor in northern Arizona
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19673462

- Lead toxicosis and trace element levels in wild birds and mammals at a firearms training facility.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11462145

- The identification of lead ammunition as a source of lead exposure in First Nations: the use of lead isotope ratios.
link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18272204

- A review of the environmental impacts of lead shotshell ammunition and lead fishing weights in Canada.
link: dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection/CW69-1-88E.pdf

- UNDERSTANDING LEAD UPTAKE AND EFFECTS ACROSS SPECIES LINES: A CONSERVATION MEDICINE BASED APPROACH
link: http://www.peregrinefund.org/lead_conference/PDF/0101%20Pokras.pdf

And if that’s still not enough for you to realize what you’re writing is ignorant garbage:
http://tinyurl.com/244obzn
http://tinyurl.com/2ajz5ma

Jim In Houston

August 30th, 2010
3:33 pm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669501/

The blood levels reached in these studies were quite low…well below the action level in humans. I doubt that a moderate diet of this game would produce any problems, particularly considering that lead is cleared slowly from the body.

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 30th, 2010
4:16 pm

Wow! The crackpots are out in full force. I love your argument, btw, that lead is safe because it occurs in nature. I’d like to point out that grizzly bears occur naturally too but we still don’t want them minding the day care.

Al Gore

August 30th, 2010
4:27 pm

Lead ammunition is one of the primary causes of global warming.

Karl

August 30th, 2010
4:39 pm

Once again Al Gore proves himself an idiot.

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 30th, 2010
4:42 pm

First it’s a war on Christmas, next it’s a war on ammunition. Barr is like some second-rate Turkey Neck O’Reilly.

Look out, folks. Pretty soon Obama will be hosting abortion parties at the White House for young women in “trouble” — BYOC (bring your own coathanger).

Oooooohhhhh Lordy!!! The death panels is comin’ to take granny off to the Kevorkian Assisted Living Collective Farm!!! It’s people! Tender Vittles is made of people!

Al Gore

August 30th, 2010
4:42 pm

Once again Karl proves his genius.

Mike

August 30th, 2010
6:52 pm

Bob Barr needs to shave that silly barbershop quartet mustache he’s got going.

Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my…..

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 30th, 2010
7:28 pm

Lead levels in Harry Whittington’s face increased dramatically on February 11, 2006. When asked why he shot his friend, Dick Cheney responded, “hiccup”.

aeroflame

August 30th, 2010
8:36 pm

Steel is hard on my expensive shot gun (wear). Also whats next a ban on sugar or fat. When and where does this stop. How about a little common sense. I think of better things to spend our tax payer money on. Lets put some people to work.

aeroflame

August 30th, 2010
8:47 pm

In response, I am a “BLACK” outdoorsman. I was mislead, I voted for Obama. Biggest political mistake of my life. I support the constitution, the fighting men and women of this country, and my RIGHT to “keep and bear arms” Take back the American way of Life. “Freedom for all men and woman. The government works for us, not us for it.

After realizing the depth of the loathing and hatred that my conservative Christian Repubican neighbors have for their fellow human beings, and their support for right-wing, whitie, fascists politics, and realizing that they blame all their [perceived] problems on MY lil’ ol’ middle-class, tax-paying behind because I voted for [*gasp!*] the black guy, who has not actually revoked any of their rights or freedoms, but who have such a grand ol’ time gathering in the park to screech that he has, I BOUGHT A GUN and learned to use it. Keep your hate rallies off my lawn, creeps. I’m not afraid of you or your tight patterns.

Barring Logic

August 30th, 2010
8:47 pm

So many people jumping on another republican bandwagon. Get a brain for yourselves, PLEASE. One person here (at least) did and spent a few minutes to google lead shot and poison and found multiple studies that proved it. Yet, so many of you chose to believe Barr??!!!???!!!

I guess you are the same people that watch FOX news and believe everything they say. Pity.

For America to work, each individual must use their brain and seek out true evidence and come to their own conclusion. When you turn over that ability and simply adopt whatever Barr or Beck or FOX news says, you are destroying what America has provided to you…. the freedom to be an individual.

Don’t buy in to the republican (aka FOX) proven strategy to HATE and to claim everything you like is a BATTLE to save. Recall when they had to “battle the gays to save marriage”. Then they had to “battle the mexicans to save our borders”. Now they have to “battle the Muslims to save the American way of life”. Can’t you clearly see a theme here? They SCARE you into voting for republicans because they will SAVE you! What crap!

Barring Logic

August 30th, 2010
8:49 pm

By the way – news flash…. Senate republicans, today, stopped a small business bill. They did this – so was the explanation – so that the economy will continue to stall and unemployment will not improve. They think that this will help them in the election.

And you will consider voting for anyone that plays these types of games????

gus

August 30th, 2010
10:05 pm

its part of ”arrested development ” in part of the guild stones of ga -to level the living standards to the grass hut without fire because it pollutes too …to control the people so no one can rebel against the coming rule of terror !!!

Doug

August 31st, 2010
1:43 am

“Barring Logic”
You fully live up to your name!
“They SCARE you into voting for republicans because they will SAVE you! What crap!

The left is trying to scare you into banning lead to SAVE you from ammunition. What crap you spout! The hubris you display is almost as painful as Bob’s.

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 31st, 2010
8:38 am

Doug,

I think what Barring Logic is trying to say is that this is largely a manufactured story, much like Turkey Neck O’Reilly’s dubious War on Christmas. Like I said before, gun control is a political loser for anyone. No politician will touch it. The gun control lobby is pretty weak.

Bob may be a small timer compared to the real blowholes like Beck and Limbaugh, but he still needs publicity to stay in business. Posts to his column message board = job security. Provocative inflamatory claptrap works better on his preferred demographic than does thoughtful fact-based reporting. Without his troglodytic readership, he couldn’t afford mustache dye and bow ties.

Kretzahl Slagfish

August 31st, 2010
9:20 am

As aeroflame hinted, all this is mere prelude to the coming War on Sugar and Fat. Lordy! What WILL the poor troglodytes do without they bickits and fried gravy?