Terrestrial environments also being polluted with lead ammunition



In a recent report prepared by ECHA, the Agency recommends that measures are needed to regulate the use of lead ammunition in terrestrial environments. The report builds on the earlier proposal to restrict the use of lead shot in wetlands. We take a deeper look at the main findings of the report.

Expanding to non-wetland uses - In August 2018, the European Commission received the opinion of ECHA’s scientific committees on restricting the use of gunshot with more than 1 % of lead content that is used over or within wetlands, including at shooting ranges or on shooting grounds in wetlands.

Now, ECHA has published a report on the impact of lead ammunition on terrestrial environments. This is a response to the Commission’s request to collect information on assessing the risk and socio-economic impact of restriction for other uses of lead ammunition, including hunting in other terrains than wetlands, for target shooting, and for the use of lead weights for fishing. Military uses of ammunition are not within the scope of the investigation.

Why the focus is on lead - Lead-based ammunition is considered to be the most significant unregulated source of lead deliberately emitted into the environment in the EU. Lead is a toxic heavy metal with no biological function. It is a non-specific poison affecting most body systems, and has negative effects on general health, reproduction and behaviour.  Absorbed lead affects all animals, from migratory birds to humans. Lead presents risks to wildlife, especially wild birds. 


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