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Get The Lead Out! Help save birds and other wildlife (and you)

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 6:45 am in Lead bullets.

Bald eagle. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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GET THE LEAD OUT!

Dear readers:
Please read the information below and do what you can to help GET THE LEAD OUT! As you can see, this is vitally important for you, me, and all the other living creatures on this planet. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Gary:
We’ve taken dangerous lead out of paint, gasoline, water pipes and even cooking utensils. But perversely, we continue to allow lead to poison and kill millions of birds and other animals in the wild each year. This wildlife epidemic is entirely preventable.

That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 140 other groups recently petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate lead in hunting ammunition. Fragments of lead bullets are often left in game that’s shot in the wild, and spent lead shotgun pellets can litter popular hunting areas at densities of more than 400,000 pellets per acre. Bald eagles, California condors, trumpeter swans and dozens of other bird species are poisoned when they consume lead-tainted game or ingest toxic lead shot. Some birds merely get sick, but millions die of lead poisoning annually.

Golden eagle. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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There’s a human health risk, too. Studies have shown that lead bullets fragment extensively and can spread dust-sized particles of toxic lead throughout shot game, causing a greater health risk to humans who consume lead-shot game than previously thought. Some state health agencies have had to recall venison donated to feed the hungry because of lead contamination. Nearly 10 million hunters, their families and low-income beneficiaries of venison donations may be at risk.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Today, there are plenty of affordable, nontoxic alternatives to lead bullets on the market, available in all 50 states. Just like we did with lead gas and lead paint, it’s time to make a shift toward nontoxic hunting products.

I’m writing to ask for your editorial support for this petition to regulate lead hunting ammunition.

We have plenty of information on our website http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/get_the_lead_out/index.html, including information about our petition http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2012/lead-03-13-2012.html, frequently asked questions http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/get_the_lead_out/pdfs/Lead_ammo_petition_FAQ_3-13-12.pdf, the science of lead poisoning http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/get_the_lead_out/scientific_reports.html and a list of groups in support of our petition http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/get_the_lead_out/pdfs/Get-the-Lead-Out-Coalition.pdf.

This petition isn’t about stopping hunting or taking anyone’s guns away. In fact, some of this effort’s staunchest supporters are hunters who rightfully understand this petition aligns with traditional American conservation and hunting values. (You can read one hunter’s op-ed in The New York Times here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/opinion/16prieto.html?_r=1 and a Times piece on the petition here http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/zeroing-in-on-lead-in-hunters-bullets)

Ultimately, this effort is about protecting public health and saving America’s wildlife from unintended — and preventable — killing. It’s a common-sense solution to a toxic lead-exposure problem.

Thanks for any support you can provide and, again, I’d be happy to talk or answer any questions you might have.

Best, Jeff

Jeff Miller
Conservation Advocate
Center for Biological Diversity
415-669-7357
351 California Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org

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