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Lead Sinkers: Alternative Products
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Ecological Health Effects
Regulations & Policies
Alternative Products
Assistance Approaches
Where to go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Lets Get the Lead Out (Minnesota)
This comprehensive website contains information about lead sinkers and their effects on wildlife as ...

Nonlead Sinkers
Provides photographs on non-lead sinkers and fishing gear.

There are many ecologically-safer alternatives to lead sinkers readily available at comparable prices and which come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, weights, and sizes to meet all fishing needs. Suitable non-toxic alternatives to lead sinkers include those made of steel, tin, bismuth, plastic, and ceramic, among others. However, zinc is one metal that should never be substituted because it is also toxic to wildlife. Anglers can find a variety of non-lead alternatives at their local retail stores, tackle shops, sporting goods stores, fishing supply stores, or bait dealers, and on the internet.

There are other benefits to using non-lead tackle and sinkers. Many alternatives are made of materials that are denser than lead, which gives them a smaller profile than equivalently weighted lead sinkers. Non-lead tackle also makes more noise underwater, which is a huge benefit to anglers. Fish pick up sound vibrations through their lateral line, a sensory organ used to detect movement and vibrations in the water and help the fish to locate prey - so a product whose sound travels a longer distance when bounced off the bottom is a fish attractant.10

Non-lead sinkers are much safer for young children to handle as they are more susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning. Children can ingest lead from fishing tackle when they put lead sinkers in their mouths or put their hands in their mouths after handling the lead sinkers or other fishing gear and tackle boxes that may have lead dust on them.11

Since lead sinkers commonly get lost while fishing, using the non-toxic alternatives keeps lead of the environment. Proper disposal of old lead sinkers and jigs when switching to alternatives is most important. Many household hazardous waste (HHW) collection sites accept lead sinkers. There are a variety of assistance activities in the Northeast and nationwide focused on the collection and proper disposal of lead sinkers and jigs (see Assistance Approaches).

Last Updated: 01/03/08

10New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
11Contra Costa County Health Services


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Lead Sinkers Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 12/4/2012