Another incident with lead in ducks

Heavy-leaded ducks were seized by the US Customs and Border Protection agency, an action the agency announced in a May 12, 2020 press release:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Savannah Seaport seized 5,000 stuffed toy ducks after it was determined that they contained excessive amounts of lead.

The press release includes this photo:

Noted New York City customs attorney William J. Maloney commented on this, to us: “Inspectors will pull toy samples to check for lead and other CPSC issues. Lead paint on toys from China used to be pretty common. They could also have had a tip or prior problem. It was the lead that led to the seizure. A good catch.”

Lead in Ducks, Uranium in Ducks

There has in the past been concern about lead in non-toy ducks. Uranium was proposed as a less-harmful alternative. We wrote about this some years ago:

Depleted uranium should, perhaps, be the ammunition of choice for duck hunters. That’s the conclusion of a study called Response of American Black Ducks to Dietary Uranium: A Proposed Substitute for Lead Shot.

The recommendation, published in 1983 in the Journal of Wildlife Management, has not been much disputed. The study’s authors, biologists Susan Haseltine and Louis Sileo, were based at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Centre in Laurel, Maryland.

Lead shot is dangerous for ducks, especially if it hits them. When it doesn’t hit a duck (or another hunter, as sometimes happens), the shot falls into the wetlands. The lead leaches into the muck, slowly poisoning any ducks that have managed to avoid being shot….

We then prepared a video version of that report about the duck-lead-uranium report (the short video also includes, for variety, Jill Lepore‘s 24/7 Lecture on the topic “History”):