Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal


This Comment argues that the EPA has the authority to ban lead ammunition nationwide under The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), because lead ammunition poses an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment that is not adequately addressed by other laws. Further, the EPA retains the authority to ban lead ammunition nationwide under TSCA because a national ban would not be preempted by other federal laws. Part II of this Comment explores the problematic history of lead regulation as well as the devastating effects of lead poisoning on humans. Part III begins with an in-depth explanation of the harmful effects of lead poisoning resulting from the ingestion of lead ammunition on wildlife, principally the condor. Directly following this examination of the detrimental effects posed by lead is a detailed cost-benefit analysis of a national lead ammunition ban, which demonstrates the vast benefits and marginal costs resulting from a national ban. Next, this Part exemplifies the pitfalls of current federal laws in addressing the lead poisoning problem and illustrates how current laws could effectively work in coordination with a national lead ban. Finally, this Part examines the EPA’s proposal to ban lead fishing sinkers nationwide after the EPA made a preliminary determination that lead posed an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. This Comment closes with the Center for Biological Diversity v. Jackson as a case study demonstrating a recent failed attempt by an environmental group to prompt the EPA to use its authority under TSCA to ban lead ammo nationwide. This Part concludes by urging the EPA to exercise its authority, as provided under the TSCA, to preclude the excessive unnecessary risk posed by lead ammunition through the implementation of a national lead ammunition ban.