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The transition to non-lead sporting ammunition and fishing weights: Review of progress and barriers to implementation

  • Vernon G. ThomasEmail author
  • Niels Kanstrup
  • Anthony D. Fox
Lead Use in Hunting


This review presents evidence of lead exposure and toxicity to wildlife and humans from spent shotgun and rifle ammunition and fishing weights, and the barriers and bridges to completing the transition to non-lead products. Despite the international availability of effective non-lead substitutes, and that more jurisdictions are adopting suitable policies and regulations, a broader transition to non-lead alternatives is prevented because resolution remains divided among disparate human user constituencies. Progress has occurred only where evidence is most compelling or where a responsible public authority with statutory powers has managed to change mindsets in the wider public interest. Arguments opposing lead bans are shown to lack validity. Differing national regulations impede progress, requiring analysis to achieve better regulation. Evidence that lead bans have reduced wildlife exposure should be used more to promote sustainable hunting and fishing. Evidence of the lead contribution from hunted game to human exposure should shape policy and regulation to end lead ammunition use. The Special Issue presents evidence that a transition to non-lead products is both warranted and feasible.


Bullets Effectiveness Exposure Regulations Shot Socio-politics 



The authors are grateful to the reviewers for their constructive comments on this paper. Funding was provided from the personal private resources of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vernon G. Thomas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Niels Kanstrup
    • 2
  • Anthony D. Fox
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of BioscienceAarhus University, KaløRøndeDenmark

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