The Stream Doctor

January 26th, 2004

Email YOUR Questions directly to the Stream Doctor. This is your opportunity to get an experts professional opinion on anything stream related.

Q. With the banning of lead shot and gasoline and so many other toxic items, do you feel the banning of the lead fishing weight will come sooner than later? With three hundred million pounds of lead being lost every year, how many more years do you think our environment can handle?

A. Response: Your question is difficult to answer; in fact, all I can give is my opinion because there are no definitive answers to either question. I won't be surprised to see lead fishing weights banned, but it will probably be done more for good public relations and suspected harm rather than on good science or fact. There are substitute products already on the market.

I don't know what you are including in your 300,000,000 pound figure, so can't even hazard a guess as to how much of this reaches the environment, where it is "lost," or how long the environment can "handle" it. But remember, all of that lead was originally in the environment before it was removed, used, and discarded by man, so I would suspect that if it is spread somewhat uniformly over the globe, the environment can handle it again. This is not to say, that problems cannot arise when high concentrations occur in restricted areas. In this case, toxic conditions may occur for selected biota or harmful concentrations can be transferred through food webs leading to humans.

Don't forget, these are my opinions, not fact.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me.
~ C. E. (Bert) Cushing, aka Streamdoctor
105 W. Cherokee Dr.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-1584

The 'Stream Doctor' is a retired professional stream ecologist and author, now living in the West and spending way too much time fly-fishing. You are invited to submit questions relating to anything stream related directly to him for use in this Q & A Feature at

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