Efforts to ban lead ammunition: a comparison between Europe and the United States

Matthew B. Ellis, Craig A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human health impacts of lead have been known for millennia but the environmental impacts of lead ammunition have only received attention during the past 100 years. To a large extent the United States provided leadership in identifying and researching these effects and then spearheading campaigns to transition away from lead shotgun ammunition for waterfowl hunting. However, the appetite for further federal transition has largely stalled in the U.S. except for apparently limited action linked to individual states, charismatic species, and specific sites. Europe, on the other hand, though generally rather late to the table with regard to lead shotgun ammunition and waterfowl hunting, is now pushing ahead with several initiatives that are likely to see substantial partial, if not total, restrictions on the use of all lead ammunition (for shotguns and rifles) within 5 to 10 years. We discuss the policy drivers behind these moves, summarize the key attitudes and perceived constraints to transition, and provide (cautious) timetables and limited recommendations for future changes. Our discussion will include comparisons between efforts in the U.S. and those in Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1449
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Europe
  • United States
  • hunters
  • lead ammunition
  • policy
  • risk
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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