Monday, September 3, 2012

The La Crosse River Marsh Undergoing Testing for Lead Contamination

Local Fox News reports

Gun enthusiasts of the early 20th century riddled the La Crosse River marsh with lead. And decades after the last trap shoot, traces of the toxic metal remain. 

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse researchers have found high lead levels in the sediment where La Crosse Gun Club members frequently shot skeet.

New samples taken this summer will help determine if lead is spreading from the marsh bed and threatening surrounding wildlife. Lead can be absorbed by nearby vegetation and travel up the food chain, causing neurological and developmental problems in fish. 

Whether it's a meter down in the muck or on the surface of the marsh bed, the lead is there, UW-L researchers say. Hundreds of sediment samples taken last year show varying degrees of lead contamination throughout the marsh. Belby declined to provide the exact numbers, but initial tests last year revealed levels of up to 1,200 parts per million - the maximum amount allowed in bare soil, and three times the legal limit for soil in areas with playing children.
What's your opinion? The gun-rights fanatics will always downplay the importance of this and the possible consequences of lead contamination. Some of them deny it outright.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.


  1. So how long have hunters been using shotgun shells without lead shot for waterfowl hunting? Survey says: 21 years and counting.

    Alternate materials are available that provide heavy shot options for waterfowl hunting ... and while they are more expensive than lead, they are not ridiculously priced.

    Removing lead shot from waterfowl hunting is important because the lead that misses ends up in water. Lead in water is much more dangerous than an occasional lead bullet -- in a copper jacket no less -- in a forest some place.

    I don't have any problems with the current situation. It sounds good to me.

  2. Lead in shotgun shells is one thing--other metals work about as well. But for bullets, lead is the best choice most of the time. It's cheap, being a common element. It's soft enough to grip the rifling of a barrel in unjacketed rounds and to deform in a target. It's dense, giving it better accuracy than lighter metals. The only other choices would be gold or uranium, and those aren't cheap. Nor is the latter safer than lead.