The Lead Ammunition Group (LAG) has agreed to consider both unpublished and non-peer-reviewed evidence in making its risk assessment of lead shot.
The minutes of the group?s second meeting, which were put up on its website on 23 June, stated that, in addition to published, peer-reviewed science, the group had agreed to take into account unpublished reports of recognised quality such as internal reports that have been commissioned but not necessarily published.
The group then decided to go further, agreeing to consider articles from other journals or other sources that contain evidence of recognised quality and relevance but not falling within the other two categories, i.e, ‘grey literature’.
LAG also agreed to widen the scope of the evidence used to assess the risks posed by lead shot to animal and human health to include research from countries outside the UK.
The Group discussed in further detail the use and applicability of research from sources outside the UK.
Examples of research, influencing factors and considerations from biological, human health and veterinary fields were considered?
It was determined that research in the fields of physiology, human and veterinary health and in the technological fields such as ballistics might be especially relevant whatever its origin? medical or veterinary research into the physiology or clinical effects of lead on animals or people could be relevant wherever it had been conducted.
Studies from the US-based Peregrine Fund conference in May 2008, which started from a position opposed to lead shot, are also to be included: The Group was reminded that the Peregrine Fund?s Idaho conference proceedings provide freely published information and the link has been circulated to those who have expressed an interest.
BASC and the CA, both of which are represented on the group, have stated categorically that their unequivocal support of lead shot would only be altered by UK-based, peer-reviewed science.
A spokesman for the CA said. ?The Alliance has always said that if incontrovertible and peer-reviewed UK evidence of relevant environmental and health problems were to emerge, we would of course all act responsibly in seeking the adoption of high-quality, nontoxic, humane and affordable alternatives. Until such time the status quo should prevail.?
In a letter to Shooting Times responding to criticism of BASC?s position on lead shot, the organisation?s chairman, Robert Irvine, wrote: “BASC is unambiguously committed to defending lead shot unless UK-based, peer-reviewed published research demonstrates that it causes significant damage to human health and the environment.
Concerns have been expressed by those in favour of lead ammunition that the UK based, peer-reviewed science available on the subject is all ‘one way’, that is to say it sets out from a position of trying to prove that it is damaging to human health and the environment.
Therefore, it has been argued that the inclusion of so-called ‘grey literature’ is advantageous to the pro-lead cause as it allows evidence in support of lead ammunition to be considered.?
The minutes of the meeting also revealed which members would form the subgroup charged with selecting the evidence on which the group will base its findings.
The Primary Evidence Subgroup is to be chaired by Professor Len Levy from the Institute of Environment and Health and will include Dr Debbie Pain of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Dr Stephen Tapper of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and BASC?s Dr John Harradine.
It is not regarded as a closed subgroup and could be enlarged if necessary.
The LAG?s next meeting is scheduled for 6 July. To read the minutes, visit www. leadammunitiongroup.co.uk