A Canadian biologist is urging the International Olympic Committee to ban the use of the lead shot in biathlon events at the Winter Olympics.
A study in the Environmental Policy and Law journal suggests the “thousands of tons of lead shot discharged every year during training by Olympic shooters pose a threat to birds and mammals and to water resources.”
According to UPI, the study is co-authored by University of Guelph biologist Vernon Thomas.
Thomas argues that the use of lead at the games themselves is not the problem. Rather, he said it “is the amount of lead released during the four year interval by the many hopefuls in each country and the Olympic team members of each country who practice assiduously with over 1,000 shots a week.”
He says the lead shot used in practice “is rarely recovered and poses real toxic risks to wildlife.”
Thomas is hopeful the Olympic Committee will phase out lead for the 2016 games, replacing it “with non-toxic steel shot.”
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Photo: Miho, Creative Commons