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Colorado Issues Recommendations on Lead Ammunition

Februrary 6, 2009.

For several years, discussions have been ongoing about the effects of lead rifle ammunition on wildlife populations and on those who consume venison.

Of particular note, the North Dakota Department of Health recently released a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed to determine whether eating game killed with lead bullets contributes to an increase in the lead levels in your blood.

The conclusion: "In the study, people who ate a lot of wild game tended to have higher lead levels than those who ate little or none."

Several state wildlife agencies have subsequently issued recommendations on mitigating the health risk of lead in venison. The latest to do so is Colorado.

Key recommendations from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Division of Wildlife include:

  • Pregnant women and children younger than 6 years of age should avoid eating meat from any game animals harvested with lead bullets.
  • Hunters can eliminate lead in their game meat by using lead-free bullets.
  • In recent studies, lead has been found more often in ground meat than in whole meat cuts. To minimize the amount of processed game meat potentially contaminated with lead, clean the grinder frequently, preferably between each animal.

For complete recommendations from Colorado, see the website of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

For more information on the lead in venison issue, please refer to our earlier coverage.

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