Are Fishing Lures Toxic?

You have been using fishing lures to catch fishes for a long time. But, someone has recently warned you, or maybe you read somewhere, that lures can be poisonous or toxic. Now, you really want to know: Are fishing lures toxic? And should you use them?


Below is a list of our favourite fishing gear that you check quickly if in hurry. Scroll down to read the rest of the article.

  1. Best Fishing Reel: Penn Squell Level
  2. Baits For Rainbow Trout: Berkley Power Bait 
  3. Best Indore Fishing Rod: Royale Legend
  4. Best Ultralight Fishing Rod: KastKing Perigee II
  5. Best Spinning Reel Under 100: Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
  6. Best Walleye Trolling Lure:  Original Floater Fishing Lure
  7. Best Pike Lure:  Jerk Bait Fishing Lure from Rapala
  8. Best Fishing Kayak under 1000: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
  9. Best Fishing Kayak under 300: Sun Dolphin Journey 10
  11. Best Fishing Gloves: BERKLEY FISHING GLOVES
  12. Best Fishing Cooler: AO Coolers Sportsman Vinyl Soft Cooler
  13. Best Portable Fish Finder: Reel Sonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar
  14. Best Inflatable Fishing Boat: Sea Eagle Green
  15. Best Fluorocarbon Line: KastKing FluoroKote Fishing Line

Are fishing lures toxic? Fishing lures contain toxic chemicals or substances known to be harmful. Significantly, the use of plastic in the construction of fishing lures increases the risk of toxicity. However, some fishing lures are made of materials other than plastic, which might not be as hazardous as plastic is.

If you want to learn how plastic can make fishing lures toxic, then you are in the right place. I will tell you all about the toxicity of fishing lures and the impact of this toxicity. Also, you will know what you can do to save yourself and the environment. Read further to find out!

Detailed Information About Fishing Lures

Fishing lures are artificial baits, which help in catching fishes. Color, shape, size, and design of the lures entice fishes and bait them to strike on the lure. Different lures are available for different kinds of fishes. You need to choose the right type of lure for the fish you want to catch.

How Does A Fishing Lure Work?

Fishing lures imitate what a fish eats and attract fishes’ attention by color, motion, and design. That is how fishes strike on the lure and get caught. Further, the design or type of lure does vary with species of fishes. Such as, a lure that works to catch a tuna might not be useful for bass. Thus, you need to ensure that the type of lure you are buying is suitable for your needs.

Material Used In The Manufacturing Of Fishing Lures

As said, fishing lures come in various designs, shapes, and sizes. Similarly, manufacturers use different materials in lure’s construction to enhance their effectiveness.

The materials used in the lure are:

  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Cork

Now, by knowing the types of lure, it will be easy to understand which lure uses what material in it.

Types Of Fishing Lures

A variety of fishing lures exist; they come in numerous designs, made of different materials. The material used in their manufacturing sets them apart in terms of their qualities. Also, their construction material determines whether they will be harmful or not. The types of lure are:


Jigs are one of the most famous fishing lures. They consist of a weighted lead head and a hook. Further, they can have feathers, furs, or soft plastic grubs attached to them. They come in every color and size; due to their weight, they sink easily and catch bottom feeders.


Plugs resemble baitfish or other prey by using hollow and hard plastic or wood. A thin piece of plastic, called a lip, is also present at the front. This lip helps them in diving when you drag them through the water. Moreover, they also have two or three treble hooks on them. They come in different designs, shapes, colors, and sizes. Depending on the design, they can float, dive, rattle, or wobble.


Spoons are lures made of metal with a curved and concave shape. They resemble spoons without the handle, hence the name. Their body gives them the advantage to wobble through the water and bait fishes.


You can use flies in fly fishing. These light lures resemble insects or other natural prey. Using feathers, rubber, foam, fur, or thread, they consist of just a skirt and a single hook.


You can recognize a Buzzbait by its different design. It consists of a bent wire: one side of the wire has a lead head or body, while the other side has a propeller. The body has a colorful skirt and a hook attached. The propeller spins and creates sound or vibration to catch the fish’s attention.

Soft Plastic Baits

As the name suggests, these baits are flexible, soft, and rubbery. Manufacturers make these lures by pouring liquid plastic in molds and adding color dyes or scents in them. These baits could be anything, like minnows, crawfish, worms, and critters.


Spinners consist of blades and a shaft made from metal. In the water, these blades spin when you pull it through the water. This spinning catches the fish’s attention, and they attack it.

What Cause Fishing Lures To Become Toxic?

The topic of fishing lures to be toxic raised because of the use of plastic in its manufacturing. Several dangerous chemicals were used in the manufacturing of fishing lures. Chemicals like dioxin, lead, PVC, DINP, and phthalates, used in lures’ construction, have caused the toxicity. Coming in contact with these chemicals can harm both animals and humans.

Manufacturers add these chemicals, like phthalates, to make the plastic soft. However, they do not realize that these chemicals are detrimental to the environment and sea animals. If a fish ingests the lure, it can clog its intestines. Also, toxic chemicals accumulate in the animal’s body and harm them.

Secondly, these toxic lures are non-biodegradable; they remain intact at the bottom of the lakes, rivers, or streams. Sometimes, lures get off the hook and sink in the water. This increases water pollution and causes harm to nature and wildlife.

How To Minimize The Impact Of Any Toxicity In A Fishing Lure?

It is an inevitable and everyday routine for lures, sinkers, or jigs to sink in the water. Many aquatic animals or even birds mistake them for food and eat them, especially when split shot. To prevent this, it is the anglers’ responsibility to avoid using products with hazardous effects.

One way to minimize the impact of any toxicity in a fishing lure is to choose lures made of biodegradable material. Eco-friendly lures are now available; it takes only a few moments to find one. By finding an alternative to lead or toxic baits, you will ensure that you are playing your part in reducing the toxicity.

Secondly, the impact of any toxicity can reduce if you discard your lures properly. To keep a bait secured on the hook is your responsibility. If you assure this, then none of the sinkers will sink in the water. Also, do not throw lures out anywhere when they become useless. Dispose of the lures appropriately to avoid environmental pollution.

Why Do Fishing Lures Have Cancer Warnings? Do They Really Cause Cancer?

In the State of California, many fishing lures come with California prop 65 labels. This label is a warning for products identified by the State of California, containing chemicals that can cause cancer. California law issued this warning due to the use of lead, DINP, or phthalates in the manufacturing of fishing lures.

The topic is controversial: Whether these fishing lures can cause harm or not. Some are in favor, while some consider it unnecessary to issue a cancer warning on fishing products.

The reality is that: This warning label is required for any product made of lead or other harmful materials. But, would that product lead to cancer depends on the quantity of the toxic chemical present in it. Also, the warning insinuates that it can create a problem in some other ways too. For instance, if a child swallows the fishing lure, then it can cause more harm.

However, we must not forget that whether plastic lures have carcinogens or not, they do cause environmental pollution. So, it would be a safe practice to use lures made of non-lead or biodegradable materials.

What Is DINP And Can It Cause Cancer?

Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) belongs to a group of chemicals called Phthalates. This group mainly functions as plasticizers and make the plastic soft and flexible. Many products contain DINP, such as wire and cable insulation, fishing products, polyvinyl chloride flooring, gloves, toys, and rubber or inks.

California law has prohibited the use of DINP and listed it under Proposition 65 because of its harmful effects. DINP works like a carcinogen and increases the risk of cancer. That is why it is advisable to minimize DINP’s exposure and avoid products that may contain it.

How Does The Exposure To DINP Occur?

Exposure can occur by:

  • Breathing in the air or dust that contain DINP
  • Hand to mouth transfer by swallowing or touching
  • Exposure to products that contain DINP

How Can I Avoid Exposure to DINP?

You can keep yourself safe from DINP or any other carcinogen by:

  • Reducing the use of plastics or products that might have it
  • Wash your hands before eating
  • Clean your floors to avoid dust particles that might carry DINP
  • Avoid processed foods


I hope I have cleared up all the doubts regarding fishing lures and their toxicity in this article. Not every fishing lure would have a carcinogen in it. Even if they do, the amount of that substance would be so little that it might not cause any immediate harm. Also, you can always check with the manufacturers about the quality of the lure. So, go out and have fun catching your favorite fishes with a suitable lure!

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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