, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 746-754
Date: 26 Mar 2013

Transition to Non-toxic Gunshot Use in Olympic Shooting: Policy Implications for IOC and UNEP in Resolving an Environmental Problem

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Olympic shooters discharge, annually, thousands of tons of lead shot which pose toxic risks to animals and may pollute both surface and ground waters. Non-toxic steel shot is an acceptable and effective substitute, but International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) rules prevent its adoption. The present policy and rules of the ISSF on lead shot use contravene the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter position on environmental protection. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a formal Olympic partner on environmental protection, has no stated policy on contamination from lead ammunition, despite having declared lead a Priority Area for remedial action, and is pressing to remove lead from the global human environment. The IOC Sport and Environment Commission and UNEP could examine the continued use of lead shot ammunition and advise the IOC Executive Board on appropriate changes in policy and rules that could halt the massive lead shot contamination of shooting range environments world-wide.