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No Danger of Lead Poisoning from Meat Obtained by Hunting

This article was originally published on November 20, 2008 and expired on December 20, 2008. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

The media recently misquoted a study saying that eating meat killed by hunters may cause lead poisoning or lead blood levels to increase. This is not true, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the national government health advisory organization. The North Dakota health advisory had no basis; it was motivated by an environmental group's study that was found to be a fabrication. The North Dakota Department of Health is now encouraging hunters to donate venison to local food banks.

Mike Plumer, University of Illinois Extension natural resources educator, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the use of lead ammunition poses no health risk to people. In fact, in their study in North Dakota, they found that the average lead levels in hunters tested was actually less than the average American. As for children of hunters, those under 6 had lead levels less than half the national average and children over 6 had levels even lower.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has been testing blood lead levels for more than 15 years. They say that in testing 500,000 youth under age 6 and 25,000 adults, there is no problem with lead in hunted venison or they would have found it by now.

Source: Michael Plumer, Extension Educator, Natural Resources, plumerm@illinois.edu

Pull date: December 20, 2008

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