The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 22, 2008

Lead ammo does not spoil harvested game

The opening day of the rifled deer season in Pennsylvania will find 900,000 hunters in pursuit of the state’s most popular game animal. Last year, there were more than 109,000 antlered and almost 214,000 antlerless deer harvested. That adds up to a tremendous amount of venison being consumed by families, but does venison harvested with lead ammunition pose a health risk?

According to Ted Novin, Director of Public Affairs with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the answer is a definite ‘no.’

“The notion by some that any amount of lead is a concern is scientifically unfounded rhetoric that runs contrary to nationwide, long standing standards of evaluation,” Novin said.

He further emphasizes, “A tremendous amount of misinformation has been propagated concerning the effects of lead ammunition on birds of prey and those who consume game- harvested meat taken with traditional ammunition. NSSF is focused on setting the record straight.”

What Novin is referring to is the overreaction of the North Dakota Department of Health. The agency accepted data from an independent source who claimed to have collected random packets of venison from food banks which revealed lead fragments. As a result, they banned the use of venison in their food banks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) later conducted its own study using 740 participants from six different cities in North Dakota. Blood samples were taken to determine lead levels in their bodies. The study found that hunters had lower lead levels than the average American!

“In other words,” states the NSSF release, “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.”

Other encouraging information followed. Children under 6 years of age had less than half the amount of the national average of lead. Those older than 6 had even lower lead levels. The CDC’s level of lead concern is 10; the study showed .88.

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