February 29, 2024

Duckworth Reintroduces Bill to Protect Wildlife and Water Sources from Toxic Lead Poisoning


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder and co-chair of both the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus and Senate Lead Task Force, today reintroduced legislation to help protect animals and the environment from toxic lead poisoning by limiting the use of lead bullets on federal lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Lead Endangers Animals Daily (LEAD) Act of 2024 would direct the Department of the Interior (DOI) to issue a final regulation prohibiting the use of lead ammunition on USFWS lands and directs DOI to establish and update annually a list of non-lead ammunition.

“There is no safe level of lead in our environment—not for humans or our wildlife,” Duckworth said. “As we continue our ongoing work to remove lead pipes and reduce the risk of lead poisoning in our communities, I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation to help us protect our health, environment, water sources and innocent animals from lead poisoning too.”

Along with Duckworth, the bill is co-sponsored by fellow co-founder and co-chair of both the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus and Senate Lead Task Force, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Studies show that lead ammunition kills as many as 130 species of wildlife per year, including our country’s national bird—the bald eagle. In fact, 46 percent of bald eagles have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies. When animals are killed with lead bullets, the lead contaminates the carcass. This leads to lead poisoning in humans and predators that consume these contaminated carcasses, water sources and animals who live in these water sources like fish.

A copy of the bill text can be found on the Senator’s website.

Duckworth has been a vocal advocate for addressing the lead poisoning health crisis, including by leading the charge for lead pipe removal in Illinois and across the nation to prevent lead contamination in drinking water. Duckworth’s bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is the most significant federal investment in water infrastructure in history, including $15 billion for national lead pipe replacement. As a result of her leadership, Illinois—which contains the most known lead service lines of any state in the nation—and the entire country are able to accelerate projects to remove dangerous lead pipes and protect countless children against permanent, irreversible brain damage from drinking lead-contaminated water.