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Back when I worked in a factory that machined a lot of leaded brass, I was astonished at how much of it dissolved even in water. For those who don't know, one of the reasons "free machining brass" is so easy to machine is that the small fraction of lead makes it easer to cut and smears over the surface for lubrication. When I was testing aqueous parts cleaners, I learned that just washing machined brass parts in water would cause the lead level to rapidly build up to toxic levels. We had to ship truckloads of the cleaning solutions as hazardous waste to be treated. The stuff even dissolved into our cutting oils. That damned lead would get into almost everything it touched!

We had numerous acid etch baths, including one of diluted hydrochloric acid, the chemical in most animals' stomachs. That bath would dissolve a significant amount of the lead from the surface of brass. The relative amount of lead dissolved depended on a number of things, including the part surface area and, I suspect, whether the the surface had oxidized from long term exposure to air.*

This has made me generally wary of the lead in meat, especially from bullet fragments that can be small (a high surface-to-weight ratio) and relatively pure, ie not oxidized. In other words, the surface of a fresh lead fragment is much more soluble than that of a fishing weight that has been exposed to air for a long time. Although most human hunters try to avoid the meat containing lead fragments, it will be eventually consumed by some animal and make it into the food chain. Of course some animals are more at risk than others, but I suspect that a general accumulation still occurs. For those old enough to remember the issue with mercury accumulating in large fish like tuna, I think it might be the same thing. One animal eats lead-contaminated meat, another animal eats them, etc.


* the lack of an oxide coating on lead fragments and splatter explains why some shooting ranges, have more groundwater contamination than expected. There are lots of tiny fragments (high surface area) of fresh lead that will rapidly begin to dissolve, especially if it touches something wet, is largely shielded from oxygen, or ends up in water. If you watch 9-Hole Reviews videos when he shoots steel on a wet day, you can actually see when the many tiny particles of lead splash into the puddles of water beneath the targets. This is pretty much a worst-case, but nevertheless pretty common. The soil type also makes a difference, since some soils can trap the lead and keep it out of groundwater.
 

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Lead is relatively inexpensive, easy to form and dense. Perfect for ammunition. Lead ammunition has had a century of large government funded research and development. Non-lead, nearly nothing. That government, for political reasons, now wants to outlawed it simply because it feels good.

Whether or not we ate dirt as kids and made us stronger, it is a fact that hunters and their families have lower lead levels in their bodies than non-hunters. This is a fact true for all hunters whether they consume birds or beasts.

I have serious health issues from eating commercially produced food. I mostly eat what I grow, kill or catch. It is not uncommon for me and my family to eat many times the recommended amount of tuna and other fish in a year. We also eat hundreds of pounds of hogs, deer and elk that we have shot with lead core ammunition. We are regularly tested for toxic and heavy metals like lead and mercury. Those levels are markedly lower in our bodies then average, and get lower every year.

Lead is toxic and a valid reason to possibly use an alternative. However, the manufacturing of “facts” is what I opposed. It is not our fault, but we are blamed for it.
 

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New video titled "Lead v Non Lead Bullet Demo" from AZ Game and Fish:
. On the surface it appears to be a run-of-the-mill 13-minute informational video, but AZGFD is publicly funded, so no doubt this is a ploy to take our guns. ;)
 

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I have seen the AZGF propaganda. It doesn’t really prove a whole lot, but I know some will gobble it up as fact. I do like they called it a demonstration and not an experiment as it was designed to illustrate their preconceived point.

Despite Arizona’s State constitution guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish, Arizona Game and Fish has a strong culture of anti-hunting. AZGF runs blatantly misleading ad campaigns in public media and on anti-hunting websites again hunting. Openly anti-hunters serve as AZGF commissioners. This year‘s archery deer hunt was designed for anti-hunters to successfully interfere with the hunt. They have spent tens of thousands of dollars relocating dozens of bighorn sheep to condition mountain lions to eat them. They have released hundreds of large non-native predators to reduce the population of game animals. To me, everything AZGF does is suspect.
 
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Please note that I wrote: "Although most human hunters try to avoid the meat containing lead fragments, it will be eventually consumed by some animal and make it into the food chain."

I managed to work with hazardous waste for years and avoid high blood lead levels. In my industry, just washing one's hands before eating or smoking cigarettes was enough to do the trick. You are clearly smart enough to avoid eating the lead-contaminated meat and feeding it to your family. Good for you. Honestly. My Wife has dealt with children with mental deficiencies caused by things like lead toxicity and it is heartbreaking.

I have rifles and have no desire to take away your firearms. Nevertheless, unless you take the time and effort to bury any meat with lead fragments from bullets, other animals WILL eat it. That makes it likely to cause an issue with wildlife and eventually get into the foodchain. That is the point.
 
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