Can fishing lures cause cancer?


Fishing is a daily joy for many people around the world, especially anglers. Fishing lures are artificial baits designed to mimic the appearance and movement of real fish prey. This is a helpful tool for anglers to catch more fish. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. However, whether or not these fishing lures are made of risky materials that have the potential for exposure to harmful substances. Our topic will focus on the relationship between fishing lures and cancer risk and how to prevent or reduce exposure to them. Explore more in our topic below.

Can fishing lures cause cancer?
Can fishing lures cause cancer?

Can fishing lures cause cancer? The cancer risk is

The answer is yes. Fishing lures can be made of different materials, some of these materials are natural and friendly, while other fishing lures may contain harmful chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer. However, the risk of cancer from fishing lures is generally considered low. Phthalates and lead are two examples.


If you enjoy fishing, you’re probably aware that many fishing lures contain lead. Lead is a heavy metal with high density, making it perfect for fishing lures to sink quickly. It is especially useful in case you go fishing in deep water or on the bottom. Additionally, the cost of manufacturing lures made by lead is quite inexpensive, which makes lead lures affordable. Lead and other harmful chemicals that cause cancer can be found in a lot of fishing.

While lead is common in nature, it may be harmful if swallowed or inhaled. Its usage is connected with several serious risks. Lead may enter the bloodstream and cause detrimental health impacts such as cancer over time.


One of the most popular materials for fishing lures is soft plastic, which includes phthalates, as well as polyvinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Some of the phthalates are used to make products such as plastic packaging, garden hoses, and medical tubing. Both of them are known to damage children. Manufacturers use phthalates in fishing lures to make them more realistic and attractive to fish, flexible and durable.

Plastic lures in fish can have a harmful impact on predator species and the environment as a whole.  According to research, phthalates may leach from these lures into water, potentially entering the food chain and causing cancer in those who consume it.

Can fishing lures cause cancer?
Can fishing lures cause cancer?

How does lead paint lure affect our health?

Lead can affect our health through fishing lures by ingestion. We can get lead poisoning if we swallow a lead fishing bait or a fish that has eaten one. Another way is by inhalation or skin contact. If we make our own lead fishing lures at home, we can breathe in lead dust or fumes, or get lead on our hands. Lead paint on lures is no exception due to its carcinogenic properties. So anglers need to know the health risks of lead paint.

Lead can affect the nervous system, blood pressure, and reproductive system through long-term accumulation in the body. Young children are vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and might suffer health impacts, particularly on the brain and nervous system. Lead also causes harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and kidney damage. That may cause an increased risk of several cancers, including kidney, lung, and brain cancers. 

Are Phthalates in fishing lures harmful to people?

Phthalates might leach out of fishing lures and get into the water. Then, they can get into the fish, which can make the fish have these chemicals inside them. If we eat those fish, the chemicals might affect our bodies too. Despite the difference in the number of phthalates in fishing lures, using it for a long time could be harmful to people’s health. 

Phthalates may have negative effects on the liver, kidneys, lungs, and the endocrine and reproductive systems. They may interfere with the production and function of hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, which influence the endocrine system and the functioning of multiple organs. They may also have long-term consequences for pregnancy success, child growth and development, and reproductive systems in both young children and adolescents.

How to reduce cancer causing toxic chemicals?

There is something you can do to minimize your exposure to harmful substances found in fishing lures:

  • Choose alternatives, which are natural or non-toxic fishing lures that are labeled as safe and free from harmful chemicals. 
  • Read product labels, and check the labels “lead-free” or “phthalate-free” to make sure they don’t contain lead or phthalates.
  • Wash your hands after handling lures, especially before eating or drinking. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands.
  • Keep lures out of children’s surroundings, who may be more sensitive to toxic chemicals. 

Here are some ways to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals. We hope you can enjoy fishing safely for yourself and the environment as a whole. 

What are safer alternatives for lead fishing lures? And some cancer warnings

Lead lures are not the only choice for anglers. There are now many different substances used to create fishing lures. You can choose one of them that are non-toxic and do not risk human health.

  • Tungsten: they are non-toxic and have a density compared to lead. Tungsten fishing lures are a little bit more expensive than other choices, but they give great sensitivity and performance.
  • Bismuth: a mixture of two metals that has a similar weight and hardness to lead. Bismuth lures are relatively dense and environmentally friendly, but they can be more costly and brittle compared to other alternatives. 
  • Eco-Friendly Materials: wood, feathers, natural fibers, and others. These are safe and don’t have any harmful chemicals. 

Cancer warnings on fishing lures are caused by the presence of substances that, in the long run, could cause cancer. These compounds are harmful to human health and can lead to a variety of health problems, including cancer. The above options all have their own pros and cons, but the one thing in common is that they don’t harm the environment and potential health, which is their best advantage, the fact that investigating the direct link between fishing lures and cancer risk is limited.


The advantages of fishing lures are undeniable. It is a perfect choice in many cases, for example, live fishing bait and fishing tackle are unavailable or you are aiming for a particular fish species. In addition, the variety of fishing lures also creates different fishing challenges for avid fishermen. To continue your fishing enjoyment without worrying about the possibility of causing cancer from lures of fishing, you can do such things as using lures made from safe and eco-friendly materials and maintaining proper hygiene.

We hope this information will be helpful to you. If you like this article, please share it widely. We will be appreciative of it.

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