Round 3: CDC Weighs in on Lead-Poison-in-Deer Issue

Round 1


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Fall Excitement!


The Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a study citing their concern that hunting bullets (containing lead) break up inside a deer and pose a lead poisoning risk in humans eating the venison.

Although they labeled the report as “preliminary,” they were quick to spread the word. This reaction came from finding some lead in packaged game – donated to food banks in North Dakota, Minnesota and a few other mid-western states.

On the basis of this report, some states collected all of the donated venison and had it destroyed.  (Many hunters have the deer they shoot processed/packaged and donate the meat to foodbanks across America.)

Round 2

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms, hunting and recreational shooting industry – released a long report that said, essentially -“there is no credible, peer-reviewed scientific evidence that using traditional hunting ammunition creates a human health risk.”

As part of their report they highlighted the state of Iowa, which has been randomly testing children (500,000+) and adults (25,000+) for lead contamination for 15 years. They did not toss the food because they could find no connection between lead ammunition used and heightened lead contamination in humans.

NSSF also indicated that CDC (Centers for Disease & Prevention) was conducting tests regarding this issue.

Round 3

The CDC did not find a connection between ammunition used and lead contamination in humans. The short summary is in a box on this page – You can read the full 31 page report:

Now the Story Gets Interesting

“The baseless claim that caused concern about consuming venison harvested with lead ammunition was born out of the anti-hunting movement. The story started when a dermatologist with ties to the Peregrine Fund–an organization dedicated to eliminating the use of lead ammunition for hunting–claimed to have collected packages of venison from food banks that contained lead fragments.

Out of fear and an overabundance of caution, health officials (who never conducted their own study) accepted the dermatologist’s findings and ordered all food banks to discard their venison.” (from the report issued by FSSN: “Firearms Industry Statement on Results of CDC Blood Lead Levels in Hunter’s Study”).

It turns out that the dermatologist is a board member of the Peregrine Fund, not “the independent actions of a concerned hunter, as he claimed.” According to FSSN, this group is dedicated to more than taking the lead out of ammo. They are an anti-hunting group trying to ban hunting.

My Interpretation

I don’t know anything about this group. From a quick reading on Google, they seem to be a group of tree huggers and savers of birds. I’m not into conspiracy theories or worries that everyone is trying to kill the sport of hunting. If the statements about the dermatologist are true (his ties to Peregrine and their mission), I’m angry.

The dermatologist has a license to practice medicine, not his moral agenda. Look at the waste of food and the money spent testing!

When do we start to make people responsible for their actions when they are knowingly dishonest? He used his status as a physician to cry, “Wolf.” Why isn’t he liable for his actions?

He isn’t the only miscreant in this fiasco. Have the state agencies that simply took the word of a single doctor – did no testing of their own – cleaned house yet?  If not, why not?


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