Human Health Risk

Recent documentation has shown that lead bullet fragments frequently end up in processed game meat. The small particle size of the fragments makes it extremely unlikely that you will see or feel them when the animal is butchered. Trim scraps tossed into the "burger pile" can contain lead and even whole steaks have been found to have lead fragments.

Medical researchers generally agree that children under age six and pregnant women are extra sensitive to lead exposure and should take special care to avoid ingestion of lead, though it can negatively effect the health of all individuals.

One study that investigated the prevalence of this health risk brought 30 different eviscerated white-tailed deer carcasses to 30 separate meat processors and asked for steaks and burger packages. The packages were sub-sampled and the researchers found that 32% of 234 ground venison packages contained at least one metal fragment and 93% of all fragments were positively identified as lead.

Ground venison packages being x-rayed for the presence of lead bullet fragments.

Ground venison packages being x-rayed for the presence of lead bullet fragments.

20 separate, one-pound packages of ground venison viewed with a C-T scanner. Bright objects are lead fragments.

20 separate, one-pound packages of ground venison viewed with a C-T scanner. Bright objects are lead fragments.

Recommendations for
Game Meat Consumption & Ammunition Use

Increased awareness that lead bullet fragments can end up in game meat intended for human consumption has prompted many states and organizations to investigate the issue further.

 

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