Swedish rules on ammunition containing lead

Ammunition in the form of lead shot may not be used in Sweden for hunting in wetlands or hunting in shallow areas of open water. Nor may lead shot be used for shooting that is not for hunting purposes, such as sport shooting. The purpose of the ban is to reduce the occurrence of lead in the environment.

Purpose of the ban on lead in ammunition

Lead is a metal that can cause injury to the nervous system and result in impaired intellectual development and performance. Lead can cause injury even in very small doses, especially to the brain during fetal development and to infants. There are also significant environmental risks when lead is released into the environment, such as when hunting with the use of lead ammunition. Since sea birds can easily ingest shot, there are strong environmental reasons for not having lead in ammunition that is used in wetlands.

You will find further information on the ban in the Prohibition in Certain Cases in Connection with the Handling, Import and Export of Chemical Products Ordinance (1998:944), 14a–d §§. (In Swedish only) External link.

Exemption from the ban

Despite the general ban, shot containing lead may in certain cases be used for shooting that is not for hunting purposes, according to the exemption stated in 14c § of the Ordinance. This applies if there are no acceptable unleaded alternatives to the use of lead shot, such as when taking shooting tests for the hunting exam. That said, there is no exemption from the ban regarding the use of lead shot for hunting on wetlands or in shallow water.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has also issued regulations on an exemption from the ban, which means that lead shot may be used in certain types of shooting sports at international level.

You will find the exemption from certain types of shooting sports at international level in the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Regulations (NFS 2010:9, 21a§). (In Swedish only) External link.

New and impending restriction within the EU

The European Commission has decided on a ban on the use of lead gunshot in or within a hundred meters of wetland areas. The definition of wetland in the new EU restriction means that larger areas are covered compared to the current Swedish ban. The EU ban also covers the carrying of shotgun ammunition when shooting in wetlands or on the way to or from shooting in wetlands. The rules have been included in Annex XVII (post 63) of the REACH Regulation and apply in all countries within the EU/EEA from 16 February 2023.

Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/57 amending REACH Annex XVII as regards lead in gunshot in or around wetlands External link.

Work is also underway to extend the restriction of lead in ammunition for hunting and to restrict lead in ammunition for sport shooting and in fishing tackle.

Work is also underway in the EU to extend the lead restriction in the REACH Regulation. The proposal would extend the ban to lead in ammunition (both shot and bullets) used for hunting outside wetlands and for sport shooting. In addition, a ban on the use of lead in fishing equipment, such as fishing sinkers and lures, is also proposed.

Read more about the ongoing work to extend the lead restriction in the REACH Regulation at ECHA:s webb. External link.


Last published 25 January 2022