Lead FAQ

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed that the EU should restrict the use of lead ammunition in hunting and sport shooting. This will also affect EEA countries and Northern Ireland. 

In summary, the proposal from ECHA is the following:

  • Prohibition on sale and use of lead shot for hunting with a transition period of 5 years (or 18 months according to ECHA’s committees). A very narrow derogation is proposed for the continued use of lead shot for sport shooting under strict conditions.

  • Prohibition on use (not sale) of lead centre-fire bullets for hunting after 18 months (for large calibres) and 5 years for small calibres including rim-fire (with a review clause to establish where suitable non-lead is available). The use of lead bullets can continue for sports shooting after a 5-year transition period if shooting ranges are equipped with either lead collectors or specifically defined ‘best practice’ sand barriers.

The European Commission is expected to publish a legislative proposal under the REACH Regulation in 2024, which will be submitted for a discussion and vote (if supported) by the EU Member States in the REACH Committee. Before a restriction can be adopted, it will be scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council.

If the European Commission follows ECHA’s opinion and the proposal is accepted by the main decision-makers, major impacts will follow. The following FAQs encourage decision-makers look at that matter practically and proportionally. Good administration entails that decision-making should take account of all relevant considerations, ignore irrelevant ones, and balance the evidence appropriately. It is ESSF’s view that ECHA’s opinion contains numerous weaknesses and disproportionate elements; the main ones are outlined below.