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The Humane Society of the United States has called for a nationwide ban on lead ammunition in the wake of a federal study released last week that showed North Dakotans who ate venison killed with lead bullets appeared to have higher lead levels in their bloodstream.

"If there was any doubt about the urgent need to rid our country of lead ammunition, here is proof positive," Andrew Page, senior director of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for The Humane Society, said in a press release. "Extremist hunters have long contaminated watersheds and habitat, dooming animals to slow and painful deaths. Now that hunters know their actions are directly putting themselves and other people at risk, there are no more excuses to use the ammo that just keeps on killing."

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Not surprisingly, the firearms industry interpreted the findings differently, seeing the study results as confirmation that lead ammunition is not a concern. Furthermore, groups such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation see the publicity over the issue as another step by anti-hunting groups to dismantle "the culture of hunting one step at a time."

"Traditional ammunition poses no health risk," said Ted Novin of the NSSF. "We think the CDC results speak for themselves. Hunters on average had a lower lead level content than most Americans."

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