Lead bullets poison people, animals

08/26/2013 5:52 PM

08/26/2013 5:53 PM

AB711 would phase out lead-based ammunition in California. This bill passed the Assembly and will be decided soon by the state Senate.

Lead is a toxin that has caused substantial damage to wildlife, humans and the environment. Lead fragments in carcasses, and lead shot on the ground, enter the ecological food chain, where they are ingested by condors, bald and golden eagles, mountain lions and other scavenger species that undergo unnecessary, painful deaths. Meat from animals shot by hunters is easily contaminated by lead pieces that are unknowingly ingested by the hunters and their families; this exposure can cause severe neurological damage. Lead is also a virulent contaminant of the soil and water.

AB711 doesn’t limit legal hunting or provide for future hunting restrictions, despite the fear-inducing rhetoric of the National Rifle Association. Many hunters are voluntarily switching to nonlead ammunition, which is competitively priced. Also, AB711 allows a four-year phasing out period, so hunters can deplete their current stock, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife can work with retailers.

I urge you to review the facts of this legislation, then contact Sen. Cathleen Galgiani and ask that she vote ‘‘yes’’ when AB711 reaches the Senate.

SALVATORE SALERNO

Modesto

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