This legislation bans the use of lead ammunition for hunting on state-owned lands, as well as on lands contributing surface water to the New York City Water supply. Given the dangers that lead poses to human health and to wildlife, this bill rightly recognizes that there is no place for lead ammunition on our public lands.
Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin, producing especially devastating effects in children by disrupting brain development. Scientists have stated that there is no safe level of lead exposure for humans.
Approximately 90% of the 10 billion rounds purchased every year in the US contain lead. Lead bullets shatter into many small pieces upon impact, and these pieces often go undetected in the carcass of an animal or are scattered throughout the landscape. The lead then passes through the food chain, poisoning wildlife and entering the water supply.
Other jurisdictions have already recognized the dangers of lead ammunition. The federal government banned the use of lead ammunition in waterfowl hunting in 1991 due to the large number of ducks and other birds that die each year from ingesting lead pellets. California passed a bill in 2013 that phases out all lead ammunition. With safer alternatives already on the market, like copper ammunition, New York should follow suit and remove this source of lead from our environment.
Lead does not belong in our water, food, or wildlife. The ongoing public health crises caused by exposure to lead paint and lead in drinking water have demonstrated that aggressive action is needed to reduce the presence of lead in our environment. New York should take a strong step towards this goal by banning lead ammunition on public lands.
This legislation amends the environmental conservation law to ban the use of lead ammunition for hunting on state-owned lands, as well as on lands contributing surface water to the New York City Water supply.