Lead-based ammunition is likely the greatest source of lead knowingly discharged into the environment in the United States. Despite being one of the most well-studied toxins known to affect humans and other animals, and the huge efforts that are taken to reduce exposure in our homes and water, the release of toxic lead into the environment in the form of lead-based ammunition is largely unregulated.
The discharge and accumulation of spent lead-based ammunition in the environment poses significant health risks to humans and wildlife. Lead-based ammunition is known to pose risks of elevated lead exposure to gun users; be ingested by scavenging animals such as eagles, ravens and turkeys; and even be incorporated into processed meat for human consumption. It’s estimated that lead-based ammunition adds 3,000 tons of lead into the outdoors every year, and that as many as 20 million birds die annually from lead poisoning.
SB1985 amends the Wildlife Code to make it unlawful to use lead ammunition to take wildlife in State parks or natural areas in Illinois. Lead free bullets are widely available from top manufacturers, and have not been shown to function any differently than bullets containing the toxin.
One of the last actions of the Obama administration was to ban lead ammunition and fishing sinkers on most federal lands. Unfortunately, one of the first actions of the Trump administration was to repeal the common sense ban. SB1985 recognizes the continued threat lead-based ammunition poses and is designed to make sure that Illinoisans and the state’s wildlife are protected from the toxin.
Take a moment to write your state legislators and let them know you support banning lead-ammunition.