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Author Topic: Lead poisoning in wildlife stirs debate on hunting, fishing regulations  (Read 802 times)

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Offline mudbrook

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Lead poisoning in wildlife stirs debate on hunting, fishing regulations
By LEE BERGQUIST - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lead shot from firearms and lead sinkers have been a mainstay of hunting and fishing for generations, but a growing body of research and anecdotal accounts are raising health questions for humans and wildlife alike.

The most recent situation involves trumpeter swans in northern Wisconsin.

Since October, 10 trumpeter swans have been treated by the Raptor Education Group Inc. in Antigo, Wis. In a typical year, the center takes in only about two of the birds.

Three of the trumpeter swans have died, and three are in critical condition. X-rays revealed all had metal shot or sinkers in their bodies. Blood tests showed elevated levels of lead.

Also, a report released in November shows lead residue from gunshots has been found in Wisconsin venison, after concerns were raised in other Upper Midwestern states.

In Wisconsin, 15 percent of 199 samples of commercially processed venison contained lead bullet fragments, according to the report by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Services.

In hunter-processed venison, 8 percent of 98 samples contained lead fragments.

The study used modeling from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and suggests there may be a risk of elevated lead levels in blood among children who consume venison.

One of the worst-case scenarios involves children 7 and younger who eat two meals a month of venison that contains higher amounts of lead. The children may have a 90 percent chance of lead levels in their blood rising above tolerable limits set by the Food and Drug Administration.

The two state agencies concluded that lead in venison was an "indeterminate public health hazard," as elevated blood-lead levels hadn't been confirmed in consumers of deer meat.
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