Hunting season is here and so are renewed concerns about lead from bullets poisoning the meat from wild game.

Hunters and those who eat the meat from deer, elk and other large animals they shoot may find themselves at risk for memory problems and other brain and nerve functions.

The reason is that lead from the bullets or shotgun pellets can leach into the meat and then accumulate in the bodies of those who eat the game.

leadFor decades, the government has tried to eliminate all sources of lead exposure, most visibly targeting paints and gasoline.

Almost two decades ago, lead shotgun pellets were banned for hunting waterfowl, but lead bullets and shotgun slugs remain in wide use for hunting game.

But now, another comprehensive study by scientists from the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed the risk from eating meat shot with lead ammunition.

They took blood from 736 people  – aged 2 to 92 years – from six North Dakota cities and tested it for lead.

The results, reported by Environmental Health News, showed that significantly higher blood lead levels were found in those who ate more wild game and who ate it more often.

The CDC warns that no organ is immune to the harmful effects of lead, but the heavy metal can cause the most damage to the nervous, circulatory and reproductive systems. Children are especially vulnerable due to their developing brains and nervous system.

While the study group said it consumed meat from elk, bear, moose and birds, venison was the most popular game meat consumed, with some eating it weekly.

Hunters can lower the risk of lead exposure in those by using bullets without lead or by carefully removing the bullet bits when butchering the game. However, the researchers allow that even experienced butchers have a difficult time removing every lead fragment.

For more information, here is a link to the report on the study.


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