And the result is that there is a mildly elevated level of lead in the blood of the sampled population. Lead levels ranged from no detectable levels to 9.82 micrograms per deciliter (CDC guidelines say that lead levels above 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood can cause physical and cognitive problems). The North Dakota health department issued this dire warning based on the study:

*       Pregnant women and children younger than 6 should not eat any venison harvested with lead bullets.
*       Older children and other adults should take steps to minimize their potential exposure to lead, and use their judgment about consuming game that was taken using lead-based ammunition.

Not so fast, says the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which issued a news release proclaiming that the study confirms that traditional ammunition is not a public health risk. The release, in part, reads:

_As noted in a media advisory released by the North Dakota Department of Health, the highest lead level reading of an adult study participant was still below the CDC accepted lead level threshold for that of a child, and significantly lower than the CDC accepted lead level threshold for that of an adult. Furthermore, during a tele-press conference hosted by the ND Department of Health, officials stated they could not verify whether this adult even consumed game harvested with traditional ammunition. Correspondingly, the study only showed an insignificant 0.3 micrograms per deciliter difference between participants who ate wild game harvested with traditional ammunition and non-hunters in the control group.

So which is it? Should your children refrain from eating the deer roast you harvest this fall? Or should we toast the wild fare with the same relish we have for centuries? Stay tuned…
– Andrew McKean_