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No Health Risk with Traditional Ammunition

Advice for the Shooter

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study on human lead levels of hunters in North Dakota has confirmed what hunters throughout the world have known for hundreds of years, that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition poses absolutely no health risk to people, including children, and that the call to ban lead ammunition was and remains a scare tactic being pushed by anti-hunting groups to forward their political agenda.

Today, additional information became available about the CDC study, originally released yesterday, that is important to disseminate to hunters, their families and the general public about the total and complete lack of any evidence of a human health risk from consuming game harvested using traditional ammunition. For instance, in the study the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that of the average American.

In the CDC's study, children's lead levels had a mean of just 0.88 micrograms per deciliter, which is less than half the national average for children and an infinitesimally small fraction of the level that the CDC considers to be of concern for children (10 micrograms per deciliter). Yet, despite the total and complete lack of any evidence from this study of the existence of a human health risk, the Department of Health nevertheless urges that children under 6 and pregnant women not eat venison harvested using traditional ammunition. The North Dakota Department of Health's recommendation is based on a "zero tolerance" approach to the issue of blood lead levels that is not supported by science or the CDC's guidelines.

To further put in perspective the claims concerning the safety of game harvested using traditional ammunition, consider this statement from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) -- a state agency that has conducted an extensive panel of blood-lead testing for more than 15 years: "IDPH maintains that if lead in venison were a serious health risk, it would likely have surfaced within extensive blood-lead testing since 1992 with 500,000 youth under 6 and 25,000 adults having been screened." It has not.

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