August 19, 2010
Phoenix, AZ — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is in
the process of reviewing a
petition filed Aug. 3 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) by the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird
Conservancy and three other groups seeking to ban the use of lead in
ammunition and fishing tackle.
The petition requests a national ban under the federal
Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). TSCA addresses the
production, importation, use and disposal of specific chemicals
and/or chemical mixtures. The EPA is required to respond to the
petition within 90 days.
Game and Fish is analyzing the petition and its potential
ramifications in Arizona. The department believes that further
research regarding population-level effects on wildlife is
appropriate, given the effectiveness the department has seen in
The department believes that voluntary, state-level approaches,
where the science shows them to be necessary, are the best
approaches to address lead-wildlife concerns. Science, not sweeping
regulatory change, is the foundation for the conservation and
management of healthy wildlife populations.
Arizona Game and Fish has been actively working on lead and wildlife
concerns as part of working groups of experts from the Association
of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (representing wildlife agencies and
professionals of all 50 states and other entities) and the Western
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (representing wildlife
agencies of 23 western states and Canadian provinces).
The department has been proactively engaged in reducing the
scientifically known impacts of lead to wildlife since the 1980s.
When lead toxicity was identified as a concern for waterfowl in
1985, the department implemented a non-lead shot zone for waterfowl
hunting in Coconino County prior to a national ban instituted by the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service six years later.
In 2003, after incidents of lead poisoning were identified in
California condors, Arizona Game and Fish initiated a successful,
hunter-supported voluntary program to reduce the amount of spent
lead ammunition available in northern Arizona. This is one more
instance in which hunters and anglers have stepped up to conserve
Arizona’s natural resources.
The department is currently following the direction provided by the
Arizona Game and Fish Commission in 2009 to work with the public to
increase discussions on the impacts of lead on wildlife and possible
voluntary strategies to minimize those impacts in the near future
The department and commission believe that meaningful progress on
this wildlife challenge will occur with full public participation
and cooperation. The department has demonstrated that successful
voluntary or incentive-based programs developed in cooperation with
the conservation community, the sporting goods industry, and state
wildlife agencies can be effective.
The department will continue to provide updates on this issue to its
For more information, visit