August 30, 2010
EPA Rejects Lead Ammunition Ban
By Chad Love
From this AP story:
The Environmental Protection Agency has denied a petition by five environmental groups to ban lead in hunting ammunition, saying the issue is not within the agency's jurisdiction. The EPA said Friday it did not have the authority to enact the ban, aimed at protecting wildlife, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, as the groups had requested.
Good news, but the EPA announced is still considering a request in the same petition to ban the use of lead in fishing weights.
But the agency said it's still reviewing another part of the petition, to ban lead fishing sinkers. The EPA informed one of the groups, American Bird Conservancy, of the decision in a letter. The groups had argued in their petition that millions of animals are dying from eating lead-shot pellets or carcasses contaminated by lead. They said an estimated 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals die each year from lead poisoning in the U.S. In a petition filed earlier this month, the environmental groups argued that instances of lead poisoning from ammunition and fishing sinkers "present an unreasonable risk of injury" to both human health and the environment.
The petition cited nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles that the environmental groups said document the toxic effects of lead on wildlife. These studies "conclude that the lead components of bullets, shotgun pellets, fishing weights and lures pose an unreasonable risk of injury to human and wildlife health and the environment," the Aug. 3 petition argued. The EPA was required to respond to the petition within 90 days. "EPA is taking action on many fronts to address major sources of lead in our society such as eliminating childhood exposure to lead," Steve Owens, the agency's assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention said in a statement. But he said the agency "was not and is not considering taking action on whether the lead content in hunting ammunition poses an undue threat to wildlife."