Transition to Non-toxic Gunshot Use in Olympic Shooting: Policy Implications for IOC and UNEP in Resolving an Environmental Problem
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.
KeywordsOlympic Games UNEP Shooting Lead Toxicity Policy
- Ahmad, M., S.S. Lee, D.H. Moon, J.E. Yang, and Y.S. Ok. 2012. A review of environmental contamination and remediation strategies for heavy metals at shooting range soils. In Environmental protection strategies for sustainable development, strategies for sustainability, ed. A. Malik, and E. Grohmann, 437–451. New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-1591-2_14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Avery, D., and R.T. Watson. 2009. Regulation of lead-based ammunition around the world. In Ingestion of lead from spent ammunition: Implications for wildlife and humans, ed. R.T. Watson, M. Fuller, M. Pokras, and W.G. Hunt, 161–168. Boise: The Peregrine Fund.Google Scholar
- Beintema, N. 2008. Non-toxic shot: A path towards sustainable use of the waterbird resource. Technology Series No. 3, 30 pp. Bonn: UNEP/AEWA Secretariat.Google Scholar
- Booth, L.H., F. Palazs, C. Darling, R. Lanno, and M. Wickstrom. 2003. The effect of lead-contaminated soil from Canadian Prairie skeet ranges on the neutral red retention assay and fecundity in the earthworm (Eisenia fetida). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22: 2446–2453. doi:10.1897/02-582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ceccarelli, G., and S. Rosi. 2004. Future range design. In Sport shooting and the environment: Sustainable use of lead ammunition. Proceedings of the World Symposium on Lead Ammunition, September 9–10, 273–278. Rome: World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities.Google Scholar
- European Shooting Confederation. 2012. Lead and steel. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from www.esc-shooting.org.
- Government of Victoria. 2011. Steel shot standards, pressures and proofing. Department of Primary Industries, Victoria Australia: State Government of Victoria. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from www.dpi.vic.gov.au/game-hunting/education-and-training/non-toxic-shot.
- IOC. 2012. Factsheet. The environment and sustainable development. Update, July, 2012. International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland.Google Scholar
- ISSF. 2012. Shotgun rules for trap, double trap and skeet. In Official Statutes Rules and Regulations, 2009 Edition, 359–422. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from www.issf-sports.org.
- Jørgensen, S.S., and M. Willems. 1987. The fate of lead in soils. The transformation of lead pellets in shooting range soils. AMBIO 16: 11–15.Google Scholar
- Lessler, M.A. 1988. Lead and lead poisoning from antiquity to modern times. Ohio Journal of Science 88: 78–84.Google Scholar
- Nriagu, J.O. 1983. Lead and lead poisoning in antiquity. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Picatinny Arsenal. 2010. Army begins shipping improved 5.56 mm cartridge. News release. June 23, 2010. Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, USA, 2 pp.Google Scholar
- Sears, J., and A. Hunt. 1991. Lead poisoning in Mute Swans, Cygnus olor, in England. In Proceedings of the Third IWRB International Swan Symposium, Oxford, 1989, ed. J. Sears, and P.J. Bacon, Wildfowl—Supplement No. 1, 383–388. Slimbridge: International Waterbird Research Bureau.Google Scholar
- Takamatsu, T., T. Murata, M. Koshikawa, and M. Watanabe. 2010. Weathering and dissolution rates among Pb shot pellets of differing elemental compositions exposed to various aqueous and soil conditions. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 59: 91–99. doi:10.1007/s00244-009-9449-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thomas, V.G. 2003. Harmonizing approval of non-toxic shot and sinkers in North America. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31: 292–295.Google Scholar
- Thomas, V.G. 2009. The policy and legislative dimensions of non-toxic shot and bullet use in North America. In Ingestion of lead from spent ammunition: Implications for wildlife and humans, ed. R.T. Watson, M. Fuller, M. Pokras, and W.G. Hunt, 351–362. Boise: The Peregrine Fund. doi:10.4080/ilsa.2009.0311.Google Scholar
- UNEP. 2006. Interim review of scientific information on lead. Appendix. Overview of existing and future national actions, including legislation, relevant to lead. DTIE/Chemicals. United Nations Environment Programme, Paris, France, 76 pp.Google Scholar
- UNEP. 2012a. Sport and the environment: UNEP and the International Olympic Committee. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from www.unep.org/sportenv/OlympicsUNEP.aspx.
- UNEP. 2012b. Environmental governance: Harmful substances and hazardous waste: UNEP Priority Area. United Nations Environmental Programme. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from www.unep.org/environmentalgovernance/.
- UNEP. 2012c. Global chemicals outlook: Towards sound management of chemicals. United Nations Environment Programme, Paris, France, 44 pp.Google Scholar
- Watson, R.T., M. Fuller, M. Pokras, and W.G. Hunt. 2009. Ingestion of lead from spent ammunition: Implications for wildlife and humans. Boise: The Peregrine Fund.Google Scholar
- WFSA. 2004. Sport shooting and the environment: Sustainable use of lead ammunition. In Proceedings of the World Symposium on Lead Ammunition, September 9–10, Rome, Italy. World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar