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 percent of the ten billion rounds of ammunition 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, enter our waterways, and are scattered throughout the landscape. The lead pieces can be ingested by wildlife and pass lead through the food chain. The pieces can also be washed into waterways, threatening our water supplies.
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. As of July 2019, lead ammunition has been banned for hunting wildlife anywhere in California.
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. With safer alternatives already on the market, like copper ammunition, New York has no reason not to take this strong step to ban lead ammunition on public lands, with a goal of banning the use of all lead ammunition statewide.
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.