There’s been a lot of talk in California recently about the dangers of lead toxicity arising from shooting lead-cored bullets, a lot of this from unscrupulous scientists/environmentalists not averse to lying. I will try to give this issue some proportion.
Because of the complexity of lead, this is an incomplete ‘work in process’ and I will be adding more in the future.
Shooting, and the Hazards of Lead
Lead is an element, the end product of the breakdown of radioactive elements. They can’t go any further. Lead pollution is a very serious problem in certain settings. In kids, from early pregnancy to around 6 years of age, even a little lead can be very bad. In adults, a lot more is needed to cause trouble, but no one knows where the cut-off between ‘safe’ and ‘sorry’ is. So if you are a pregnant woman or have little kids at home, it is very important to follow readily available guidelines on the internet about the shooting sports and lead.
On the other hand, let’s not be silly and insist that lead bullets are a major source of lead pollution. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 84% of U.S. lead consumption was for storage batteries, 3.5% for bullets, ammunition and shot. Now that the military is cutting back on lead in their bullets for automatic weapons, that figure can be expected to drop significantly. The California condors have been free of lead contamination from bullets for years now, with no reported drop in their blood lead levels. Surely, that by itself should tell us that lead in bullets isn’t the major source of lead found in those birds, in spite of the fact that carrion eaters appear to be the most likely victims of lead from bullets.
My suspicion is, like climate change hysteria, the tortured ‘science’ of the lead alarmists is going to be discredited over time.