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Journal Title Abbrev.
J. Elem.
ISSN – 1644-2296
DOI: 10.5601

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Lead in game bird meat as a risk to public health: new aspects in the light of physical phenomena generated by a projectile

Issue: 2/2016

Recevied: Jul 24, 2015

Accepted: Oct 08, 2015

Published: 1970-01-01


Felsmann M., Felsmann Mi., Gulda D., Szarek J.

Categories: Pollution and environment, Review paper

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2015.20.3.989


Annually, hunters shoot millions of birds with lead ammunition. Many studies indicate diverse and often very high lead levels in the edible parts of game. Considering the number of hunters, the determined levels may pose a public health risk. Shotgun pellets are the main source of lead contamination of game animal tissues. Despite numerous studies indicating lead contamination in game birds, no significant reasons for diverse contamination of tissues with this toxic metal have been reported. The personal analysis presented in this paper suggests  that the explanation for diverse levels of contamination of game animal tissues should be sought in physical phenomena generated by a projectile in damaged animal tissues. The projectile penetrating a target generates a multi-phase medium from destroyed tissues and simultaneously changes the shape of its front part. This movement of projectile is an example of a turbulent flow. The interpretation of the interaction between a projectile and damaged tissues indicate that the variable and unpredictable parameters of a projectile for each shot and the medium created by a projectile make it, impossible to determine, the degree of this interaction. The phenomenon of a temporary cavity created by a shot seems to determine the magnitude of lead transfer into tissues surrounding the path of a wound. Fluid mechanics also explains the relatively high lead levels in game birds in comparison with the levels determined in big game animals. In view of the unpredictability of projectile-animal body interactions, it should be assumed that game bird shot with lead pellets contains the lead levels dangerous to human health. Therefore, the use of lead pellets for bird shooting should be banned.


Felsmann M.Z., Szarek J., Felsmann M., Gulda D. 2016. Lead in game bird meat as a risk to public health: new aspects in the light of physical phenomena generated by a projectile. J. Elem., 21(2): 595 - 607, DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2015.20.3.989


lead, ammunition, birds, hunting, gunshot wounds, temporary cavity, public health

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