Biological and societal dimensions of lead poisoning in birds in the USA

By: , and 

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Abstract

The ingestion of spent lead shot was known to cause mortality in wild waterfowl in the US a century before the implementation of nontoxic shot regulations began in 1972. The biological foundation for this transition was strongly supported by both field observations and structured scientific investigations. Despite the overwhelming evidence, various societal factors forestalled the full transition to nontoxic shot for waterfowl hunting until 1991. Now, nearly 20 years later, these same factors weigh heavily in current debates about nontoxic shot requirements for hunting other game birds, requiring nontoxic bullets for big game hunting in California Condor range and for restricting the use of small lead sinkers and jig heads for sport-fishing. As with waterfowl, a strong science-based foundation is requisite for further transitions to nontoxic ammunition and fishing weights. Our experiences have taught us that the societal aspects of this transition are as important as the biological components and must be adequately addressed before alternatives to toxic lead ammunition, fishing weights, and other materials will be accepted as an investment in wildlife conservation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Biological and societal dimensions of lead poisoning in birds in the USA
DOI 10.4080/ilsa.2009.0104
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher The Peregrine Fund
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 27 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Ingestion of lead from spent ammunition: Implications for wildlife and humans: May 2008 Proceedings
First page 34
Last page 60
Conference Title Ingestion of lead from spent ammunition: Implications for wildlife and humans
Conference Location Boise, Idaho
Conference Date May 12-15 2008
Country United States