To the editor:
Responding to Bob Meinecke’s column about lead bullets in the Jan 9th issue of the Enterprise.
Susan Ahalt, our local bird rehabilitator, has written about the heartbreak of trying to save eagles who have ingested lead from carcasses, and watching them die. Here is some research on the topic:
According to the American Journal of Medicine, a deer killed with a lead bullet contains on average 356 bits of lead, some microscopic. Lead bullets fragment into many tiny pieces that radiate from the wound channel.
Eighty percent of tested packages of ground meat from deer that had been shot with lead bullets contained lead fragments. This meat was fed to pigs, which showed elevated levels of lead in their blood within two days. Just a few of these fragments can sicken or kill an eagle.
The National Park Service reports that free-flying condors, which feed on hunter’s gutpiles, have blood lead levels high enough to be considered toxic or lethal in a human. By the time they reach reproductive age of 7 years, most have had to undergo emergency chelation (lead removal treatment) at least once.
There is no safe level of lead. Pregnant women are at high risk for the damage it can do to their fetus. Children are documented to have reduced IQ as a result of lead poisoning. We’ve known this for a long time. Less toxic ammunition is now available to replace lead bullets and shot. Choose how you want to feed your family.
(s) linda raynolds