Lead-based ammo leads to lawsuit

Lead poisons wildlife

Two conservation groups—Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Center for Biological Diversity—and a hunting outfit called Project Gutpile recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to ban lead in fishing tackle, bullets and shotgun shells, according to a press release.

In August, a coalition of groups presented a petition to the EPA to ban lead in ammunition and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act, citing mounds of scientific evidence that lead-poisoning endangers wildlife and public health. However, the EPA refused, saying the agency cannot regulate ammunition because shells and cartridges do not fall under the law’s definition of “chemical substances.”

More than 70 organizations—including veterinarians, birders, hunters, zoologists and Native American tribes—have expressed support for banning lead, which poisons animals including birds such as the swan (pictured) that eat lost fishing sinkers and ammunition fragments in scavenged carcasses.