May 28, 2007
More than one billion people don't have access to safe drinking water, even though cost-effective solutions to the problem are available now. Urge Congress to include funding in upcoming appropriations bills to help ensure safe drinking water throughout the world.
Take action here.
May 26, 2007
Officials in the Bush/Cheney Interior Department intend to allow harmful new drilling in more than 84 million acres off the coasts of Alaska, Virginia and Florida. These areas are teeming with wildlife, including imperiled whales, sea otters and sea turtles. New drilling could destroy these sensitive coastal ecosystems and the wildlife and tourist economies that depend on them.
The gray wolf's extraordinary comeback from extinction in Greater Yellowstone is one of America's greatest environmental success stories. But a new Bush Administration proposal threatens to reverse this progress by paving the way for mass killing of wolves in the northern Rockies. Urge the Bush Administration not to strip Greater Yellowstone's wolves of protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Help Save Alaska's Last Belugas
May 25, 2007
Did you know more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail? About 28 billion gallons of water are also wasted, and the energy used to produce and dispose of junk mail exceeds 2.8 million cars.
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This warning is only required on products sold in California. However, since most companies distribute nationally and don't know where their their products will ultimatley end up, it's usually put on all products going anywhere in the US. If you don't see the warning on a rod or reel, it still doesn't mean it's lead free. It could be only marketed in a geographic region outside of California.
Lead is considered cancer-causing, and hence, you'll see this warning on fishing rods and reels because they almost always use lead paint (that's how you get that shiny look).
Now, instead of a specific warning about lead, most manufacturers will attempt to hide this fact by using the generic "cancer" warning allowed under Prop 65. The warning often goes something like this:
WARNING: This product containts chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.Scary message, but then most people just thing "oh heck, what doesn't cause cancer these days" and move on (I doubt most people would think that it's a lead warning). And if you do hunt around, you'll find something reassuring like this message from Shakespeare.
Interested in finding a lead-free alternative? Good luck. It's basically non-existent (if you find otherwise, please post a comment).
What is fairly astounding is that both Shakespeare and Zebco tried to sell "kids" fishing rod and reel combinations that had lead paint in them. There was a subsequent recall, and it appears that the children's new rod and reel combos are lead-free.
Now, there are really only two ways that I know of to get a lead-free fishing rod and reel: Buy the Zebco or Shakespeare children's fishing kits (these are the ones with colorful Batman and Robin, etc. -- real kiddie stuff); or buy the Jr. Fisherman Rod and Reel combination from Outdoor Adventure (only the 2007 models, not the earlier 2006 models). In fact, at this point, I would only recommend the Outdoor Adventure models as Zebco and Shakespeare both had the audacity to ship a "children's rod and reel" combination with lead in them (although they have apparently stopped doing this subsequent to the recall).
In order to be lead-free, also make sure to also use lead-free tackle (jigs, weights, etc.).
Good luck and good fishing.
UPDATE: We've heard that MountainBaby has lead-free fishing poles. Hope that helps. If you
Tampa Bay Conservation League
It's not only an environmental problem. It's a health issue.
Going lead-free makes sense. And it's trivially easy, with no real added cost. The Minnesota Pollution Control agency has a good list of suppliers, here.
I'm still researching the subject, but have contacted a couple of manufacturers, First Mate Lures and Timmy Toms, who both assure me that they use only non-lead materials and lead-free paint.
I will also cover the problem of lead in fishing poles and rods in my next blog post.
Tampa Bay Conservation League