I’m writing as a constituent to ask you to support S. 4157 and H.R. 405 to ban lead on wildlife refuges.
Lead is an extremely toxic element that we've removed from water pipes, gasoline, paint, and other sources dangerous to people. Yet toxic lead is still entering the food chain through the widespread use of lead hunting ammunition and fishing tackle, poisoning wildlife and even threatening human health. At least 75 wild bird species in the United States are poisoned by spent lead ammunition, including bald eagles, golden eagles, ravens, and endangered California condors. Thousands of cranes, ducks, swans, loons, geese and other waterfowl ingest spent lead shot or lead fishing sinkers lost in lakes and rivers each year, often with deadly consequences.
S. 4157 and its companion bill H.R. 405 would begin the process of getting the lead out of National Wildlife Refuge land where it currently is permitted to threaten the health of wildlife.
A study published in February 2022 in the journal Science documented mass poisoning of eagles by lead. Fragments of lead ammunition in the remains of hunted animals that are left in the field are adversely impacting eagles and other wildlife.
The researchers determined that nearly fifty percent of eagles had “bone lead concentrations above thresholds for chronic poisoning.” According to the study, a third of eagles had “acute poisoning.”
Lead has also been the leading cause of death for California condors, and partly in response to the peril posed by lead to this highly endangered species, California completely phased out the use of lead in July 2019.
Animals that scavenge on carcasses contaminated with lead bullet fragments, or birds that ingest spent lead-shot or fishing weights mistaking them for food, often die a painful death from lead poisoning. In the United States, an estimated 3,000 tons of lead are dumped into the environment by hunters every year and 4,000 tons are lost in waterways as fishing equipment. As many as 20 million birds and other animals die each year from subsequent lead poisoning.
Despite the harm that lead is causing wildlife, the Biden Administration’s Department of Interior has opened more land and water acreage to hunting and fishing than any previous administration. This action taken in the absence of substantial limits on lead will likely compound the threat to birds and other wildlife. Legislation requiring the Department of Interior to act can solve this crisis.
Please support S. 4157 and H.R. 405 to ban lead in wildlife refuges. Thanks.
▶ First sent on October 12, 2022 by Jess Craven