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Lead Ingestion In Wildlife
 

 

LATEST NEWS:

EPA denies petition seeking a ban on lead in fishing tackle

(Nov. 17, 2010)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Nov. 4, 2010, that it had denied a petition calling for a ban on the manufacture, use and processing of lead in fishing tackle.

The petition was filed on Aug. 3 by the American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, and other groups seeking a ban of lead ammunition and fishing tackle under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. On Aug. 27, the EPA denied the portion of the petition relating to lead in ammunition, stating the agency did not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Act.

With regard to the portion of the petition relating to fishing tackle, EPA stated the following in a news release:

In a letter to the petitioners, EPA indicated that the petitioners have not demonstrated that the requested rule is necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The letter further indicates that the increasing number of limitations on the use of lead fishing gear on some federal and state lands, as well as various education and outreach activities, call into question whether a national ban on lead in fishing gear would be the least burdensome, adequately protective approach to address the concern, as called for under TSCA. EPA's letter also notes that the prevalence of non-lead alternatives in the marketplace continues to increase.”

For more information on the EPA’s actions, including links to their news release and letter to the petitioners, visit www.epa.gov/opptintr/chemtest/pubs/petitions.html#petition8.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department believes that state or local-level approaches, where and when there is scientific evidence to support them, make the most sense to address lead-wildlife concerns.

The Department has seen success in voluntary, cooperative programs such as the voluntary lead ammunition reduction program to assist California condors in northern Arizona.

The Department is committed to voluntary approaches through informational outreach, voluntary lead alternative programs, and surgically targeted responses, for addressing wildlife conservation and management needs.

The Department has been involved in lead and wildlife issues since the 1980s and continues to be actively engaged with the issue through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

In September, the Department submitted written comments to EPA regarding the petition, requesting that EPA reject the petition to ban lead in fishing tackle due to the fact that, biologically, there is currently no scientific evidence that lead fishing tackle poses a significant risk to Arizona’s wildlife populations.

For more information on lead and wildlife, visit www.azgfd.gov/lead.

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Arizona Game and Fish Department comments on petition to ban lead fishing tackle

(Sept. 14, 2010)

The Arizona Game and Fish Department submitted written comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding a petition filed with EPA to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act. That petition was filed on Aug. 3 by the American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, and others.

The EPA on Aug. 27 denied the portion of the petition seeking a ban on lead ammunition. Therefore, Game and Fish’s comments only addressed the active portion of the petition pertaining to lead fishing tackle. If the issue of lead in ammunition emerges again in the future, the Department will respond to that as well.

The Department requests that EPA reject the petition to ban lead in fishing tackle at this time. Biologically, there is currently no scientific evidence that lead fishing tackle poses a significant risk to Arizona’s wildlife populations. A nationwide regulatory ban on lead fishing tackle at this time, combined with the increased cost and lack of availability of alternative tackle, could reduce angler participation rates. Anglers contribute greatly to fishery conservation through their license fees, time, and concern for the resource. In 2006, 422,000 anglers fished 4.2 million days in Arizona with a total economic impact of $1.3 billion. Ill-informed or unfounded regulatory actions that discourage anglers from participating would be counterproductive for maintaining healthy fisheries in Arizona.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department believes that state or local-level approaches, where and when there is scientific evidence to support them, make the most sense to address lead-wildlife concerns. Science, not sweeping regulatory change, is the foundation for the conservation and management of healthy wildlife populations. The Department has seen success in voluntary, cooperative programs, such as the voluntary lead ammunition reduction program to assist California condors in northern Arizona; and recommends to EPA that information programs, voluntary lead alternative programs, and surgically targeted responses when and where real challenges exist are a better foundation for public wildlife resource management policy.

The Department has been involved in lead and wildlife issues since the 1980s and continues to be actively engaged with the issue through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

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EPA denies petition calling for lead ammunition ban; fishing tackle analysis continues

Public comments can be submitted to EPA on fishing tackle portion of the petition through Sept. 15
(Aug. 27, 2010)

The following is an update regarding the petition submitted Aug. 3 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy and three other groups, seeking a national ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle.

The EPA on Aug. 27 denied the portion of the petition calling for a ban on lead ammunition, stating the agency (EPA) does not have the legal authority to regulate ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

In a news release posted Aug. 27 on the EPA’s website, Steve Owens, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, issued the following statement:

“EPA today denied a petition submitted by several outside groups for the agency to implement a ban on the production and distribution of lead hunting ammunition. EPA reached this decision because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – nor is the agency seeking such authority.

“This petition, which was submitted to EPA at the beginning of this month, is one of hundreds of petitions submitted to EPA by outside groups each year. This petition was filed under TSCA, which requires the agency to review and respond within 90 days.

“EPA is taking action on many fronts to address major sources of lead in our society, such as eliminating childhood exposures to lead; however, EPA was not and is not considering taking action on whether the lead content in hunting ammunition poses an undue threat to wildlife.

“As there are no similar jurisdictional issues relating to the agency's authority over fishing sinkers, EPA – as required by law – will continue formally reviewing a second part of the petition related to lead fishing sinkers.”

The EPA stated that those wishing to comment specifically on the fishing tackle portion of the petition can do so by visiting http://www.regulations.gov.

A link to the comment form is at http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480b3f0cd. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2010.

Related links:

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Arizona Game and Fish Department statement regarding petition to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle

(Aug. 19, 2010)

On August 3, 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy and other organizations submitted a Petition to US EPA to ban the use of Lead Ammunition. The petition was submitted requesting EPA to limit or prohibit uses of lead in ammunition and lead in fishing tackle under the auspices of the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department issued the following communication and links to related reference documents regarding the petition:

Arizona Game and Fish Department urges caution in the rush to judgment in the proposal to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle nationally

PHOENIX (Aug. 19, 2010) — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is in the process of reviewing a petition filed Aug. 3 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy and three other groups seeking to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.

The petition requests a national ban under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). TSCA addresses the production, importation, use and disposal of specific chemicals and/or chemical mixtures. The EPA is required to respond to the petition within 90 days.

Game and Fish is analyzing the petition and its potential ramifications in Arizona. The department believes that further research regarding population-level effects on wildlife is appropriate, given the effectiveness the department has seen in non-regulatory approaches.

The department believes that voluntary, state-level approaches, where the science shows them to be necessary, are the best approaches to address lead-wildlife concerns. Science, not sweeping regulatory change, is the foundation for the conservation and management of healthy wildlife populations.

Arizona Game and Fish has been actively working on lead and wildlife concerns as part of working groups of experts from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (representing wildlife agencies and professionals of all 50 states and other entities) and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (representing wildlife agencies of 23 western states and Canadian provinces).

The department has been proactively engaged in reducing the scientifically known impacts of lead to wildlife since the 1980s. When lead toxicity was identified as a concern for waterfowl in 1985, the department implemented a non-lead shot zone for waterfowl hunting in Coconino County prior to a national ban instituted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service six years later.

In 2003, after incidents of lead poisoning were identified in California condors, Arizona Game and Fish initiated a successful, hunter-supported voluntary program to reduce the amount of spent lead ammunition available in northern Arizona. This is one more instance in which hunters and anglers have stepped up to conserve Arizona’s natural resources.

The department is currently following the direction provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in 2009 to work with the public to increase discussions on the impacts of lead on wildlife and possible voluntary strategies to minimize those impacts in the near future and long-term.

The department and commission believe that meaningful progress on this wildlife challenge will occur with full public participation and cooperation. The department has demonstrated that successful voluntary or incentive-based programs developed in cooperation with the conservation community, the sporting goods industry, and state wildlife agencies can be effective.

The department will continue to provide updates on this issue to its constituents.

Related links:

  • Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to Ban Lead Shot, Bullets, and Fishing Sinkers Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Aug. 3, 2010 [pdf, 391kb]

  • Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies' (AFWA) response to petition, Aug. 5, 2010 [pdf, 53kb] Visit the AFWA website at www.fishwildlife.org/press_8.5.10.html.

  • Resolution from Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) on lead and wildlife, July 21, 2010 [pdf, 30kb]

  • Report (white paper) from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Lead and Wildlife Ad Hoc Workgroup, July 17, 2010 [pdf, 26kb]

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GAME & FISH CONDUCTS FOCUS GROUPS ON WILDLIFE LEAD INGESTION:

Lead and its effects on wildlife have received considerable attention at the national and state scale. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and The Wildlife Society have all identified “ingested lead and wildlife” as an important issue in wildlife management.

Furthermore, in 2009 and again in 2010, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission has instructed the Department to "continue and expand its dialogue with the public regarding wildlife mortality due to ingested lead and possible voluntary strategies to minimize that mortality over the next 10-15 years." (Director's Goal and Objective #8)

To achieve this goal, the Department contracted D.J. Case & Associates to conduct focus groups to help improve our understanding of the viewpoints and opinions of key constituencies regarding lead and its effects on wildlife.   

While reading the report, please keep in mind:

  • The Department is not pursuing a recommendation to regulate or ban lead for use in hunting ammunition or fishing tackle.

  • The Department has a good record of cooperating with hunters on lead effects to wildlife with our voluntary lead reduction efforts to aid the recovery of the California condor in northern Arizona. (learn more at www.azgfd.gov/condor)

  • Focus group research is tremendously insightful, but it is not necessarily representative of what the entire population of Arizona hunters or members of conservation organizations think and feel. Focus group results should not be construed to represent the population of Arizona hunters or members of Arizona conservation organizations.

  • AZGFD news release annoucing the report, May 12, 2010 [pdf, 70kb]

  • REPORT: Ingested Lead Communications Project Focus Group, March 2010, DJ Case & Associates [pdf, 6Mb]

If, after reading the report, you would like to comment, click here.
(Comments will be aggregated and evaluated.)

 
 

 

Related Information

North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Arizona's program on Calilfornia condor recovery

Arizona Game and Fish Department's Widlife Conservation and Management

About Arizona Game and Fish

 


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