February 10, 2009

Lead in fishing and hunting raises concern

Experts say lead shot from firearms and lead sinkers might pose health risks for humans and wildlife alike.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that studies indicate venison often contains lead fragments, and birds have been found with fishing sinkers in their bodies and elevated lead levels in their blood.

In Wisconsin, 15 percent of 199 samples of commercially processed venison contained lead bullet fragments, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Services found in November.

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

The study suggested there may be a risk of elevated lead levels in blood among children who consume venison.

The study noted that children 7 years old and younger who eat two meals a month of venison containing higher amounts of lead may have a 90 percent chance of lead levels in their blood rising above tolerable limits set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In response, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has recommended the eventual transition to non-lead