Even though the construction industry completely banned the use of lead in 1977, and state health reports from the 1960s warned of lead poisoning due to working in gun ranges, law enforcement officers across the country remain exposed to dangerous levels of lead at shooting ranges that fall far short of passing OSHA standards. According to the Seattle Times, “Lead contamination at police-operated ranges has gone unchecked for years because federal and state regulators rarely scrutinize them, …”
Lead is an ingredient in ammunition; lead particles form as a bullet travels down a gun barrel, and are released into the atmosphere as the gun fires. The particles are small enough to remain airborne, where they can be inhaled. Over time, the lead will precipitate onto surfaces, where it will sit until intentionally removed.
When ingested or inhaled lead can cause headaches, muscle and joint weakness or pain, excessive tiredness or lethargy, behavioral problems or irritability, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, constipation, renal and respiratory failure and death.
For those already exposed, the most effective remediation therapy may be chelation, which introduces a chemical substance to bind hazardous materials in the blood so the body can excrete them.
Avoiding exposure to lead remains the best treatment. Gun range cleaning would appear to be the simple solution for law enforcement agencies. Surfaces in locations where lead is used (shooting ranges) should be wiped off continuously. Properly installed and maintained ventilation systems can remove airborne lead particles before they are inhaled.
To learn more about how our proprietary ECOBOND® technology mitigates effects of lead in over 800 indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, contact us.