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Firearms Industry Statement on MN Dept of Agriculture Game Donation Testing

NEWTOWN, Conn., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry -- issued the following statement in response to study results from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture claiming 5.3 percent of whole cut venison donations, processed for a Minnesota food donation program, contained "very small amounts" of lead fragments:

The question of whether traditional ammunition -- lead ammunition that hunters have used for literally hundreds of years -- poses a threat to those who consume harvested game meat has been answered by a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study.

In a word, that answer is, "No."

In looking at the CDC study results, the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that of the average American. In other words, if you were to randomly pick someone on the street to test, chances are they would have a higher blood lead level than the hunters in the CDC study.

Also of note, the lead levels of children under 6 -- those who the Minnesota Department of Health deem "the most at risk" -- had a mean of just 0.88 micrograms per deciliter of blood, that's less than 1 part per billion and less than half the national average. Children over 6 had even lower lead levels. The CDC's level of concern for lead in children is 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood.

NSSF is encouraging all hunters, and all government officials, to follow science and common sense and not respond to fear based on unscientific studies and unwarranted claims.

For more than a century, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely consumed game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition. No one has been able to produce any scientific evidence to suggest that consumption of the game would be dangerous to an individual's health.

Consider the following points:

-- Consuming game harvested with lead ammunition has never been shown to pose a health risk to anyone.

-- The Iowa Department of Health has been testing blood lead levels in children since the early nineties and has never seen a case of lead poisoning attributable to ammunition.

-- According to this MN Department of Agriculture study, 94.7 percent of donated venison whole cuts had no fragments associated with the game.

-- Participants in the CDC study of blood lead levels in hunters had lead levels lower than the national average and well below the level the CDC considers to be of concern.

-- Children in the CDC study had lead levels that were less than half the national average and far below the level the CDC considers to be of concern.

-- The CDC study showed a statistically insignificant difference between participants who ate game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition and the non-hunters in the control group.

-- Hunters should continue to donate venison to food pantries.

The only health risk in Minnesota is hungry people facing hard economic times and, during a cold winter, being deprived of low-fat, high- protein, organic food because anti-hunting, agenda-driven organizations have been able to convince some government and health officials that despite science, history and common sense, hunting, beginning with ammunition, should be banned.

SOURCE National Shooting Sports Foundation
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