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How Mercury and Lead Get Into Wildlife

What can you do to help?

  • Use nonlead fishing tackle.
  • Spread the word. Tell other anglers about the problem and encourage them to switch to nonlead alternatives.
  • Remove lead sinkers and jigs from your tackle box.
  • Remove spent fishing line and other materials from Vermont waters and shorelines to reduce entanglement, another major cause of loon deaths.
  • Maintain a respectful distance from loons and other wild animals. Use binoculars to get a great view.
  • Support continuing loon and other nongame wildlife conservation efforts by: donating to the Vermont Nongame Wildlife Fund on your Vermont income tax form; by purchasing Vermont Conservation license plates for your vehicle; or by purchasing a Vermont Habitat Stamp.

    Preventing Human Lead Exposure From Fishing Sinkers

  • Switch to sinkers that do not contain lead. Alternatives to lead sinkers are made of steel, bismuth, tungsten, resin, and glass.
  • Wash hands with soap after holding or using lead sinkers.
  • Never put lead sinkers in your mouth or allow young children to handle lead sinkers or put them in their mouths.
  • If you suspect lead poisoning in your child or yourself, call the Vermont Department of Health, Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (800) 439-8550 or (802) 863-7220.