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News article16 February 2023Directorate-General for Environment

New rules banning hunting birds with lead shot in wetlands take full effect

Image of wetlands
© Dawid Protasowski, WaterPIX /EEA

From today, using lead gunshot in wetlands is banned in the EU thanks to new rules that take full effect. The new rules will help protect the health of EU wetlands and prevent around 1 million birds dying of lead poisoning each year. The regulation prohibits discharging and carrying lead shot within 100 metres of wetlands, ensuring that non-toxic ammunition is used instead. It is estimated that currently over 4000 tonnes of lead released from lead gunshot end up in EU wetlands each year. Lead is a toxic substance which, when released to the environment, contaminates both soil and water. Exposure to lead can have serious health implications for people, especially children. The restriction supports the goals of the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability and the Zero Pollution Action Plan.  

An additional restriction dossier on lead in ammunition and fishing tackle is in preparation. The European Chemicals Agency will transmit the opinion of its scientific committees on a possible restriction within the coming months. 

More information

European Chemicals Agency page on lead in shot, bullets and fishing weights 


Publication date
16 February 2023
Directorate-General for Environment

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