Human Health

Lead in the environment may pose a health threat to people who are exposed to it. This threat can exist at active and inactive ranges where lead is left to accumulate. Lead dissolves in groundwater and surface water that people and wildlife drink, and dust particles from lead shot may be inhaled. Low lead levels can affect learning and development. Higher levels damage kidneys, nerves, blood, and the digestive system.

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MassDEP staff sampling in a wetland drop zone in central Massachusetts.

Wildlife

Lead can be poisonous. Wildlife can be poisoned by lead from swallowing lead shot while feeding. Small mammals and birds of prey can be poisoned by lead in soil and through the food chain. When an animal ingests lead, it enters the bloodstream and damages vital organs. If a bird swallows as few as six pellets, it will likely die in a few days from acute lead poisoning. If a bird swallows a smaller number of pellets, it may die a gradual death from starvation because the digestive system becomes paralyzed (chronic lead poisoning).

<p>[INSERT IMAGE]</p><p>Canada goose X-ray provided by Tufts Veterinary School in Grafton.<br />The goose died after ingesting lead shot. A mass of lead shot is visible in the goose's gizzard.</p>
Canada goose X-ray provided by Tufts Veterinary School in Grafton. The goose died after ingesting lead shot. A mass of lead shot is visible in the goose's gizzard.

Ecological Risks of Lead Shot pdf format of    Ecological Risks of Lead Shot  doc format of Ecological Risks of Lead Shot

This paper summarizes information related to assessing ecological effects of lead and lead shot pellets from shooting practice ranges in Massachusetts.