The Great Lakes Aquarium is doing its part trying to keep lead out of loons by safely collecting the toxic lures.

The Aquarium is reminding anglers to go through their fishing gear and dispose of any lead lures that they may find hanging out in your tackle box. They have set up a collection box in their lobby for safe disposal of the lead. They also recommend dropping off any lead lures at a household hazardous waste collection site.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that one-in-five loons die from lead poisoning due to fishing tackle, and it isn't a quick death, it's generally very slow and painful for the birds. They say it isn't just loons that are harmed from the lead lures, eagles, swans, and even some mammals are killed each year because of the toxic metal.

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Loons can get lead inside them by eating a fish that has a lure in them, grabbing bait or fish from your fishing line, or by grabbing lead sinkers from the bottom of lakes while they intake small pebbles that aid in their digestion process.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that lure packaging will often indicate if lead in present in the lure, but if you don't have the packaging anymore, they say, "The reality is that most fishing tackle with any density to it, especially older tackle, contains lead." You can also inspect and test the lure by squeezing it with pliers, lead is soft. You can also rub the lure on some paper, if it leaves a gray mark, chances are it is lead.

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