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Study: Eating Venison Killed With Lead Bullets Increases Lead Levels in Your Blood
November 7, 2008.
Increasing evidence has made it clear that when you use lead bullets to shoot game, lead particles will end up in your venison due to bullet fragmentation. (See our October 20 update).
Now, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a correlation between eating venison shot with lead bullets and increased levels of lead in your blood.
The study was undertaken in May 2008, when 738 North Dakotans participated in a study conducted by the CDC and the North Dakota Department of Health. Results were released November 5th.
In the study, people who ate a lot of wild game tended to have higher lead levels than those who ate little or none. The study also showed that the more recent the consumption of wild game harvested with lead bullets, the higher the level of lead in the blood.
Wild game is not the only or most important risk factor for human lead exposure; however, the study findings suggest that it is one important risk factor.
The lead levels among study participants ranged from none detectable to 9.82 micrograms per deciliter. Other studies have made it clear: "There is no safe level of blood lead."
Lead consumption can have devastating health effects, especially for children under the age of 6 and pregnant women.
What to do?
If at all possible, switch to one of the outstanding non-toxic ammunition alternatives such as the Barnes TSX bullet.
If non-toxic ammunition is not available for your hunting rifle, consider these steps:
- Pregnant women and children younger than 6 should not eat any venison harvested with lead bullets.
- Older children and other adults should take steps to minimize their potential exposure to lead.
- Avoid ground venison, which has been shown to have higher lead levels than whole cuts.
For more information:
- Fact Sheet from the North Dakota Department of Health, based on the CDC study
- The Minnesota Lead Fragmentation homepage
- Check out Cabelas, in particular the Federal Premium line of ammo, for non-toxic ammunition options.
- Article on the Barnes series of copper bullets.
- Information on the Nosler E-Tip non-toxic bullet.