COLLEGEVILLE -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is launching a new program focused on encouraging anglers to switch to lead-free fishing equipment as a way to save the state bird, the loon.

Loons swallow pebbles at the bottom of a lake to help them grind up their food and they sometimes accidentally pick up a lead jig or sinker off the bottom. All it takes is one split shot or one jig to kill the loon from lead poisoning.

The agency has posted a website that lists more than three dozen companies that sell lead-free fishing equipment.

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