Documents recently obtained by RVOTDS through Freedom of Information show unsafe lead levels in ducks at about 20% of waterways surveyed.

 

 

Guide to FOI Docs: - click on the underlined title to view each document.

 

 

  • Doc 1: EPA Report Oct 2018: Biota Project tested 4 duck species at 23 wetlands (yet there are thousands of shooting waterways and 8 “game” duck species). Results shown here for Gippsland wetlands only (later results confirm lead also found in ducks outside safety guidelines, at Serpentine Creek and Richardson’s Lagoon). Lead outside food safety guidelines found in 2 composite duck samples: Pacific Black Duck at Heart Morass and Grey Teal duck at Macleod Morass Gippsland. Lead found in livers of all ducks tested.

 

  • Doc 4: Email trail September 2020  EPA “reviewing data analysed in 2018” (Presumably only because of pressure from our group - RVOTDS). High lead levels found in duck breasts confirmed “not an error”.

 

 

  • Doc 6 sept 2020: Email from EPA to Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) asking what sort of ammo used to capture ducks. ARI confirm lead ammo no longer legal. (Hence the bullet pieces in the duck samples were illegally used lead shot).

 

  • Doc 9 – EPA Report confirms also high lead levels outside food safety guidelines found in 2018 in ducks at Serpentine Creek and Richardson’s Lagoon. Second lot of tests confirmed “well above safety standards”. “EPHU” assessed but decided data too limited to “make any conclusions”. Not even precautionary advice issued.

 

 

  • Doc 16: second test results & draft recommendation: Core Message in report: Unclear risk to human health. Someone at EPA suggested further testing. Manager’s comment “Why would we do that? Isn’t it clear? Is there a confidence in results issue that needs to be highlighted?”.  Richardson’s Lagoon 3 breast samples – 1 had high lead. “If reflective of the lagoon, consumptive advice is                            warranted, but higher breast lead level than liver, suggests lead shot contamination” Water at Richardson’s lagoon also showed high lead levels which “further suggests potential duck contamination at this wetland”. (NB lead levels in water at Boort and Cairn Curran reservoir (both duck shooting areas) were also found to be high in lead levels in an earlier study of some duck shooting waterways by EPA in 2017. EPA did not issue warnings because “the water is not used for human consumption” (but children take gulps of it and fish/ducks which humans eat, live in it.)

 

  • Doc 20 (Last two pages): May 2021. Slides outline lead found in ducks at Heart Morass and Macleod Morass at Gippsland in 2018 but no warning issued because “already warning in place for PFAS”. Lead found in ducks at Serpentine Creek and Richardson’s Lagoon never made public. Wanting to re-test ducks here. Concerned with reputational risk if make results public.

 

  • Doc 23: November 2021, email trail re trying to get more ducks tested at Richardson’s Lagoon and Serpentine Creek but can’t find someone to “donate” ducks. (Field and Game Australia appear to have been reluctant to assist). 

 

 

  • PFAS & other chemical negligence? Doc 22: PFAS in Waterfowl” report 1734, March 2019. PFAS & other chemicals in ducks tested at 19 wetlands May/June 2018. At 9 out of 19, chemical levels in ducks exceeded food safety guidelines. Seemingly inconsistent warnings issued: Macleod Morass and Hospital Swamp, “Restrict” consumption, but at Heart and Dowds Morass “Do Not Eat”.

 

      Arsenic was also found at 5% of sites tested.