About the European Scientists’ Open Letters

This website hosts open letters from European scientists, medical and veterinary health professionals with expertise in the risks posed by lead ammunition to the health of humans, wildlife and the wider environment.

The most recent open letter from 2023 is written in support of:

  1. a robust restriction on lead ammunition in the EU under chemicals regulation REACH1 as proposed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and
  2. a request to the International Olympic Committee and the organisations governing sports shooting to change their rules and allow use of non-lead ammunition for target shooting. This would greatly simplify the EU restriction and remove the risks posed by lead ammunition for the benefit of shooters and the environment.

The Appendix to the 2023 letter represents a summary of the scientific literature published between 2020 and mid-2023 including substantial literature published since ECHA completed its latest lead ammunition restriction proposal. It highlights that, among other findings:

  1. risks exist for a yet wider range of wild avian and mammalian species;
  2. risks extend not only to livestock but also to companion animals;
  3. negative effects are seen at ever lower levels of exposure;
  4. populations of some protected species are likely to be substantially suppressed by secondary ingestion of lead from ammunition.

The 81 European and other concerned global scientists, medical and veterinary health professional signatories are from six continents, representing 21 countries, of which 14 are European.

The second open letter from 2020 was written due to concerns about both delays in the REACH process in consideration of restrictions of lead ammunition and circulating misinformation. Moreover, it was written to provide updates on the science of both the problem of lead ammunition’s toxicity to humans and animals, and the solution of non-toxic ammunition.

The 75 European and other scientists, medical and veterinary health professional signatories represented 18 countries of which 13 are European.

The first open letter from 2018 was written in support of restrictions on the use of lead ammunition, primarily for the Annex XV restriction proposal prepared by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for the European Commission and the REACH process.

The Appendix to the letter provided a summary of risks from lead ammunition with references to (i) evidence, (ii) consumer guidance on game meat consumption, and (iii) relevant policy initiatives.

The 54 European scientists, medical and veterinary health professional signatories are from 17 European Countries (15 EU and 2 EFTA countries).

Scientific Consensus Statements: In addition to supporting this REACH/ECHA process, in 2014 European Scientists produced a Scientific Consensus Statement on the issue and need for transition to non-toxic ammunition. This complements the North American Scientists’ Scientific Consensus Statement produced in 2013.

1REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals.