Lead has been studied extensively for over 100 years because of its’ deleterious impacts to life on earth. In fact, lead has not been identified as being essential to any known biological system or cellular process. Conversely, lead causes widespread damage to cells and organs when it is ingested, inhaled, or absorbed in surprisingly small quantities.
The primary emphasis of lead toxicological studies have focused on humans, although the negative impacts of lead on waterfowl has been known since 1872. Rigorous scientific studies documenting the degree to which lead rifle bullets fragment when hitting big game animals has only recently been completed. An increasingly number of studies have examined the implications of inadvertent ingestion of these lead bullet fragments by scavengers such as condors, eagles, and vultures.
Even more recently, researchers have begun to review the incidence of bullet fragments in processed venison. Because historical information suggests that even low levels of lead exposure can be harmful, these studies have prompted great interest in developing a better understanding of how lead ammunition may affect human health.
Scientific studies pertaining to lead topics are summarized on the following pages that focus on: