Filled Full of Lead

Filled Full of Lead
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Standard rifle bullets disperse tiny lead fragments throughout the flesh of wild game, raising public health concerns about lead poisoning in those who consume venison, based on a study of white-tailed deer shot by hunters.

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Given this new data suggesting that the consumption of flesh from wild animals causes less inflammation, those who continue to eat meat might benefit from switching to something like venison—but it depends on what kind of ammo you use.

The “potential for human dietary exposure” to “lead bullet fragments in venison from rifle-killed deer.” “Human consumers of wildlife killed with lead ammunition may be exposed to health risks associated with lead ingestion.”

They took X-rays of “30 eviscerated carcasses of White-tailed Deer…shot by hunters with standard lead-core copper-jacketed bullets under normal hunting conditions.” For those thinking, wait a second, can’t you just kind of dig out the bullet like you see on all those old Westerns? Well, you don’t understand modern ammunition.

“All carcasses showed metal fragments and widespread fragment dispersion.” How many fragments? An average of 136. So they went to the store, and scanned the resulting meat packages, revealing tiny metal fragments in the ground meat packages from 80% of the deer. And most of those fragments were lead. They “conclude that people risk exposure to bioavailable lead from bullet fragments when they eat venison from deer killed with standard lead-based rifle bullets and processed under normal procedures. At risk in the U.S. are some ten million hunters, their families, and low-income beneficiaries of venison donations.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to: Malis via Wikimedia Commons and National Park Service.

Given this new data suggesting that the consumption of flesh from wild animals causes less inflammation, those who continue to eat meat might benefit from switching to something like venison—but it depends on what kind of ammo you use.

The “potential for human dietary exposure” to “lead bullet fragments in venison from rifle-killed deer.” “Human consumers of wildlife killed with lead ammunition may be exposed to health risks associated with lead ingestion.”

They took X-rays of “30 eviscerated carcasses of White-tailed Deer…shot by hunters with standard lead-core copper-jacketed bullets under normal hunting conditions.” For those thinking, wait a second, can’t you just kind of dig out the bullet like you see on all those old Westerns? Well, you don’t understand modern ammunition.

“All carcasses showed metal fragments and widespread fragment dispersion.” How many fragments? An average of 136. So they went to the store, and scanned the resulting meat packages, revealing tiny metal fragments in the ground meat packages from 80% of the deer. And most of those fragments were lead. They “conclude that people risk exposure to bioavailable lead from bullet fragments when they eat venison from deer killed with standard lead-based rifle bullets and processed under normal procedures. At risk in the U.S. are some ten million hunters, their families, and low-income beneficiaries of venison donations.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to: Malis via Wikimedia Commons and National Park Service.

Nota del Doctor

The new data I refer to in the beginning makes reference to yesterday’s video, Modern Meat Not Ahead of the Game. Lead has also been found in protein powder supplements (see Heavy Metals in Protein Powder Supplements); Ayurvedic medicine supplements (see Get the Lead Out); and other animal products (see Cannibalistic Feed Biomagnification). Maybe in shot kangaroo meat too (again, see Modern Meat Not Ahead of the Game). Like mercury in tuna (see Nerves of Mercury), no level of lead consumption can be considered safe. So, what’s the least unhealthy meat? Find out tomorrow in Good Grub: The Healthiest Meat.

For further context, check out my associated blog post, Lead Poisoning Risk From Venison.

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