CDC Releases Lead Bullet Study Results

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The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Dakota state health departments releases their study on the dangers of lead residue in wild game killed using lead bullets.

While the study did not show elevated lead levels significant enough to be considered dangerous, North Dakota officials are still recommending that pregnant women and young children under the age of six should avoid eating wild game killed with lead bullets. Those groups are considered the high-risk categories of the general population for lead poisoning.

The CDC study is the first to try and connect lead traces in game with corresponding lead levels of the people who consume that game. According to Dr. Stephen Pickard, the CDC epidemiologist who worked with North Dakota on the study, "nobody was in trouble from the lead levels." That having been said, Pickard also said "that effect was still large enough to be a concern."

The report, however, did draw one conclusion that seems logical. As Pickard said, "the more recent the consumption of wild game harvested with lead bullets, the higher the level of lead in the blood. "

Larry Keane, counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, quickly countered the CDC report with an NSSF statement pointing out "there continues to be no evidence of human health risk from using traditional ammunition. The report from the CDC appears to confirm we were right."

Meanwhile, with North Dakota's deer season beginning Nov. 7th, officials there contend the best way to avoid the entire question is to use lead-free ammunition. That ammo, while encouraged in many areas, has failed to gain much acceptance from hunters.

Video of interview and discussion available on the North Dakota Game & Fish site, towards bottom of page.