There has been some concern about the potential for restrictions on lead ammunition in Washington State. A recent email from Jason with a pointer to the Department of Ecology web page Lead Chemical Action Plan finally got me motivated enough to take a look.
After spending an hour or so scanning through the 335 page draft I was somewhat less concerned. Yes, as the NRA says, there is a “Mandatory” section to “Ban lead from certain products”. This is on page 208 where the NRA pulled it’s quote, “Products that do not need lead and directly expose wildlife include wheel weights, small fishing weights, and some ammunition.” But this is misleading because this is just one of several alternatives under the subject of “Mandatory”. Other mandatory options mentioned in the draft plan are much worse (ban all lead with some exceptions) and some are much more tolerant such as “Require labels” which is also on page 208.
Yes, the plan goes through the cost estimates of shifting to steel shot and this certainly raises concerns if the intent is to eliminate the use of all lead shot not just in the hunting of water fowl as is currently the case (someone correct me if I am wrong on this point) under Federal Law.
I haven’t written my comment letter yet (email: firstname.lastname@example.org by October 6) but it will be centered on questioning the utility of restrictions on lead shot beyond that of water fowl hunting. Basically, is there any evidence non-hunting lead ammo is a significant sort of involuntary human or wildlife lead levels? Until there is evidence of this and other more significant sources are addressed then it would be inappropriate to take action against lead ammunition in general.