European Union not stopping lead poisoning birds

This video from the USA says about itself:

2 November 2014

In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that bans the use of lead bullets for hunting in the state. The law may help boost the survival of the endangered California condor, a scavenger that can get lead poisoning when ingesting animal carcasses left shot with lead bullets.

From BirdLife:

Failure to ban toxic ammunition putting bird lives at risk

By BirdLife Europe, Thu, 04/02/2016 – 14:15

Birds in Europe will continue to be put at risk from lead poisoning, as the European Commission today announces it will continue allowing the chemical’s use in ammunition.

Lead ammunition use will be regulated on a limited basis under the EU chemicals regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), despite it being responsible for thousands of bird deaths every year.

Under REACH, the use of lead in ammunition could be banned completely through a so-called “restriction process”. Sadly the Commission has only chosen to focus on lead in wetlands, where a ban is already supposed to have been in place for many years. By taking this course, the Commission is ignoring the evidence of damage done by lead shots in other habitats and by rifle ammunition.

Lead is highly toxic to birds and people alike. A review by the University of Oxford found that 50,000 to 100,000 birds in the UK alone die of lead poisoning. Ducks and waders often mistake lead shot (small bullets) for grit (the stones they eat to help with digestion) and die a slow and painful death from the toxic effects.

Throughout the EU there are also frequently major cases of lead poisoning of raptors. One example is the poisoning of White-tailed Eagles, which eat carcases containing lead bullets every autumn. White-tailed Eagles and other raptors and vultures eat the carcasses of game species such as wild boar. Many wild boars that get shot do not die straight away and are not found by hunters. When scavenging on the carcasses of these species, raptors often ingest fragments of lead ammunition and die of lead poisoning.

The UN Convention on Migratory Species, which the EU has signed, has called on its signatories to phase out all lead ammunition within three years. Several EU Member States, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, have already done so. Partial bans have been proven to be ineffective and unenforceable. In the UK, for example, lead shot has been banned in wetlands only, but investigations showed that as many as 70% of the ducks shot in England still contained lead shot. These figures exclude Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Reacting to the Commission’s announcement, Ariel Brunner, Head of Policy at BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, told us: “The case for a complete ban of lead ammunition in the EU is crystal clear. The Commission should protect its wildlife and citizens from poisoning and meet its obligations under the Convention on Migratory Species.

“Alternatives to lead ammunition, such as steel shot and modified bullets, are readily available and there is no reason to delay banning lead in ammunition.”

For more information about lead poisoning, click here.

Mockingbirds exposed to sub-lethal levels of lead in urban areas display significantly heightened aggression, according to researchers. Their findings highlight the possibility that sub-lethal lead exposure may be common among other wildlife living in urban areas and more work is needed to better understand its full effects: here.

HOW LEAD CAN CHANGE A LIFE “Damage from childhood lead exposure lasts well into adulthood, according to a four-decade study that found that kids who were exposed to high levels of leaded gasoline in the 1970s had worse cognitive functioning and lower socioeconomic statuses at age 38 than their peers.” [HuffPost]

USA: SCHOOLS NOT CHECKING FOR LEAD IN WATER Most school districts still aren’t checking to see if there’s lead in their water, according to a new study. Only 43 percent of school districts say they tested their water for lead in 2016 or 2017. [HuffPost]

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