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Rhode Island Legislation

Sponsor(s): Sens. Joshua Miller (D-28) and Gayle Goldin (D-3); and Reps. Art Handy (D-18), Teresa Tanzi (D-34), Chris Blazejewski (D-2), Linda Finn (D-72), and Thomas Palangio (D-3)

S. 2628/H. 7838 Banning Toxic Ammunition [2014]

Born Free USA Position: SUPPORT

Update: This bill failed to pass before the session ended.

Bill Description:
This act would require the use of nontoxic ammunition for hunting purposes whenever such ammunition is available.

Background:
Fifty years of research have shown that the presence of lead in the environment poses an ongoing threat to the health of the general public and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin, for which no safe exposure level exists for humans. It can affect almost every organ and system in the human body, including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system and is therefore particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders.

Exposure to lead can occur through contaminated air, water, soil, and food. Lead ammunition in felled wildlife is often consumed by other animals and passed along the food chain. Dairy and beef cattle have developed lead poisoning after feeding in areas where spent lead ammunition has accumulated. Spent lead ammunition can also be mingled into crops, vegetation, and waterways.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting 6 decades ago, and both hunting and waterfowl have thrived since. However, because these restrictions only apply in certain areas or to the hunting of particular species, many species of wildlife remain threatened by the use of lead ammunition and more protections are needed.

A variety of nontoxic ammunition is readily available. Studies have shown that nontoxic ammunition performs as well as, or better than, lead-based ammunition.

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