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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow LEAD TOXICITY FROM BULLETS
LEAD TOXICITY FROM BULLETS

This is an important story to look at, especially since it is hunting season. Health officials in North Dakota are recommending that pregnant women and young children avoid eating meat from wild game killed with lead bullets.

 

The recommendation is based on a study released November 5 2008 that examined the lead levels in the blood of more than 700 state residents. Those who ate wild game killed with lead bullets appeared to have higher lead levels than those who ate little or no wild game.

 

The usual tag line appears for a story like this. Everybody is to be assured that the elevated lead levels were not dangerous. Yet North Dakota says pregnant women and children less than six years old should avoid eating venison killed using lead bullets. Lead poisoning can cause learning problems, nutrient deficiencies, neurological problems including convulsions, and in severe cases lead to brain damage and death.

 

This study, conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Dakota state health department, is the first to connect lead traces in game with higher lead levels in the blood of game eaters. A separate study by Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources previously found that fragments from lead bullets spread as far as 18 inches away from the wound.

 

Officials in North Dakota and other states have warned about eating venison killed with lead ammunition since the spring, when a physician conducting tests using a CT scanner found lead in samples of donated deer meat.

 

This might be a good time to pick up bow hunting if you use lead shot. One useful diagnostic I’ve used to determine heavy metal toxicity related to ammunition is a hair mineral analysis. It might be something to consider if you handle a lot of ammunition.

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