When we use the cliché, “Get the lead out,” we mean hurry up, get moving. When we actually take the lead out—of paint, water pipes, and gasoline, for instance—we are doing so because lead is a hazardous substance, especially to children. So, getting the lead out is essential to our health.
Yet, hunters use lead ammunition. First reaction may be—so what, the animal is going to die, how can lead contamination hurt the dead animal? Lead ammunition explodes and fragments into tiny particles and can spread through the flesh of the animal. If the hunter intends to take the animal home, he or she may be bringing lead contamination right into his or her refrigerator. In addition, ammunition left in the environment can leech lead into ground water and soil contaminating both. Also, lead fishing gear left in bodies of water pollutes those bodies. And then there are the wildlife who eat the carcasses of animals shot with lead or who ingest the ocean going creatures who have swallowed lead fishing gear. Lead continues to contaminate through a variety of sources, many of which wind up in our kitchens and on our plates.
When you think about it….should we be eating lead? Of course, the answer is no. But an even more basic question seems to be lurking behind this issue. Should we be hunting and fishing for sport, killing innocent animals in pursuit of the 10-point buck or the 1,500-pound marlin? NHES opposes hunting except for subsistence living. If you have to hunt, do so humanely and responsibly. Use alternatives to lead shot and lead fishing gear. However, to be truly a humane hunter, stalk your local farmer’s market for wild greens and other vegetables and fruits instead. Keep the lead out by keeping your refrigerator green.