Lead-Free Hunting Rifle Ammunition: Product Availability, Price, Effectiveness, and Role in Global Wildlife Conservation

Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada, .
AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment (Impact Factor: 2.29). 01/2013; 42(6). DOI: 10.1007/s13280-012-0361-7
Source: PubMed


Proposals to end the use of lead hunting ammunition because of the established risks of lead exposure to wildlife and humans are impeded by concerns about the availability, price, and effectiveness of substitutes. The product availability and retail prices of different calibers of lead-free bullets and center-fire rifle ammunition were assessed for ammunition sold in the USA and Europe. Lead-free bullets are made in 35 calibers and 51 rifle cartridge designations. Thirty-seven companies distribute internationally ammunition made with lead-free bullets. There is no major difference in the retail price of equivalent lead-free and lead-core ammunition for most popular calibers. Lead-free ammunition has set bench-mark standards for accuracy, lethality, and safety. Given the demonstrated wide product availability, comparable prices, and the effectiveness of high-quality lead-free ammunition, it is possible to phase out the use of lead hunting ammunition world-wide, based on progressive policy and enforceable legislation.

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    • "Although Pb-free ammunition (Thomas 2013) was introduced recently, this remains the preferred material because of its high specific gravity, malleability and ballistic efficiency (Turpeinen et al. 2000; Thomas and Anderson 2014). Several authors found that Pb concentrations in soils from these fields may range between 800 and 80,000 mg kg -1 , with levels up to 150,000 mg kg -1 in the case of the backstop of the shooting galleries (Rooney et al. 1999; Knechtenhofer et al. 2003; Vantelon et al. 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Pb pollution caused by shooting sport activities is a serious environmental problem that has increased considerably in recent decades. The aims of this study were firstly to analyze Pb pollution in soils from a trap shooting range abandoned in 1999, secondly to study the effectiveness of different extractants [CaCl2, DTPA, NH4OAc, low molecular weight organic acids (LMWOA), and bidistilled water (BDW)] in order to determine Pb bioavailability in these soils, and finally to evaluate the phytoremediation ability of spontaneous vegetation (Agrostis capillaris L.). To this end, 13 soils from an old trap shooting range (Galicia, NW Spain) were studied. It was found that Pb levels in the soils were higher than 100 mg kg(-1), exceeding the generic reference levels, and three of these samples even exceeded the USEPA threshold level (400 mg kg(-1)). In general, the reagent that best represents Pb bioavailability and has the greatest extraction efficiency was CaCl2, followed by DTPA, NH4OAc, LMWOA, and BDW. A. capillaris Pb contents ranged between 9.82 and 1107.42 mg kg(-1) (root) and between 6.43 and 135.23 mg kg(-1) (shoot). Pb accumulation in roots, as well as the presence of secondary mineral phases of metallic Pb in the adjacent soil, showed the phytostabilization properties of A. capillaris.
    Environmental Science and Pollution Research 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11356-015-5340-7 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    • "There are now good alternatives to lead ammunition , such as copper ammunition ( Caudell et al . 2012 ; Thomas 2013 ; Gremse et al . 2014 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: Game meat from animals killed by lead ammunition may expose consumers to lead. We assessed the risk related to lead intake from meat consumption of White-tailed deer and moose killed by lead ammunition and documented the perception of hunters and butchers regarding this potential contamination. Information on cervid meat consumption and risk perception were collected using a mailed self-administrated questionnaire which was addressed to a random sample of Quebec hunters. In parallel, 72 samples of White-tailed deer (n = 35) and moose (n = 37) meats were collected from voluntary hunters and analysed for lead content using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Risk assessment for people consuming lead shot game meat was performed using Monte-Carlo simulations. Mean lead levels in White-tailed deer and moose killed by lead ammunition were respectively 0.28 mg kg(-1) and 0.17 mg kg(-1). Risk assessment based on declared cervid meat consumption, revealed that 1.7% of our surveyed hunters would exceed the dose associated with a 1 mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP). For consumers of moose meat once, twice or three times a week, simulations predicted that 0.5%, 0.9% and 1.5% of adults would be exposed to a dose associated with a 1 mm Hg increase in SBP, whereas 0.9%, 1.9% and 3.3% of children would be exposed to a dose associated with 1 point intelligence quotient (IQ) decrease, respectively. For consumers of deer meat, once, twice or three times a week, the proportions were 1.6%, 2.9% and 4% for adults and 2.9%, 5.8% and 7.7% for children, respectively. The consumption of meat from cervids killed with lead ammunition may increase lead exposure and associated health risks. It would be important to inform the population, particularly hunters, about this potential risk and promote the use of lead free ammunition.
    Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment 07/2015; 32(9). DOI:10.1080/19440049.2015.1071921 · 1.80 Impact Factor
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    • "All rifles fired the same projectiles; 12g/180 grain Woodleigh hydrostatically stabilised blunt non-deforming solid bullets (Table 1; Fig. 1b). These projectiles are constructed from copper-alloy (see Thomas, 2013) and have been developed to allow deep tissue penetration in large, thick-boned game species. These projectiles were chosen on the basis that blunt-nosed non-deforming projectiles have previously been shown to successfully penetrate cetacean craniums (Øen and Knudsen, 2007) while shotgun solids, "
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    ABSTRACT: Efforts to euthanise stranded cetaceans remain highly variable in their outcomes, with few field tested operational procedures available. This study sought to validate the efficacy of using modern firearms technology to euthanise small (<6m length) stranded cetaceans. Post-mortem evidence was gathered from the standardised shooting of cetacean cadavers (n = 10), representing six species, using .30 caliber (7.62mm) firearms and blunt solid copper-alloy non-deforming projectiles, in southwestern Australia. The six species studied were Risso's dolphin, common dolphin, bottlenosed dolphin, pygmy sperm whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, and humpback whale. Post-mortem data revealed that 100% of bullet wound tracts fully penetrated the skulls of shot animals, with associated indirect skull fracturing, secondary bone missiles and brain parenchyma laceration. The results suggest that appropriate firearms technology is fully capable of inducing instantaneous fatal pathology to the central nervous system of these species. In comparison to alternative methods for the euthanasia of stranded cetaceans, the use of firearms is associated with superior animal welfare outcomes, public safety levels and accessibility. This paper provides a template for the safe, humane and repeatable use of this technique to euthanise <6m length stranded cetaceans.
    Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 01/2015; 577375(141):117-123.
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