Each day police officers around the world put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve the public. In return, we should make every effort to safeguard those who wear the uniform. A little known health risk that law enforcement professionals face every day is lead poisoning. In order to properly use their firearms, they must spend a great amount of time practicing at the firing range. Every time a bullet is fired lead particles become airborne. These particles can cause serious health issues and even lead to death. There are a few measures that frequent firing range patrons, including law enforcement, can take to protect their health and vitality.
Health Risks Due to Lead Poisoning
The CDC warns of the health risks that elevated lead levels can produce, including:
- Kidney problems
- Mental Retardation
- Neurological defects
These issues are not limited to frequent firing range patrons. Small lead particles can attach to clothes, and other surfaces, and cause health problems for friends and family members.
Firing ranges must take measures to protect the public from the effects of elevated lead levels.
Ensure Proper Ventilation in Firing Ranges
Indoor firing range operators must ensure that all proper measures are taken to provide adequate ventilation. When a bullet passes through the barrel in a poorly ventilated range the harmful particles settle on surfaces that are both inside and outside of the body. Proper ventilation will decrease the amount of these particles by cleaning the air so that less particles remain in the air.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Proper maintenance of a firing range should be a paramount concern for range owners and operators. A reputable cleaning and reclamation company can eliminate excess lead and provide a safer environment for employees and customers.
The individual is also responsible for mitigating the effects of elevated lead levels.
Proper hygiene is another way to decrease lead exposure. It is extremely important to thoroughly wash hands, face, forearms, etc. after a firing range session. It is also important to change your clothes after leaving the firing range. Proper hygiene is the key to decreasing illnesses of all types.
Law enforcement professionals must practice with their firearms in order to protect and serve. They must also protect themselves from the dangers that come along with frequent firing range visits. Proper ventilation and maintenance of firing ranges are two important steps that owners can take to protect themselves and their customers. Using proper ammunition and practicing good hygiene are two measures that individuals can take to ensure their protection.
MT2 is the Leading Nationwide Professional Lead Reclamation & Maintenance Contractor for BOTH Indoor & Outdoor Firing Ranges and has served over 1,000 public and private firing ranges nationwide since 2000. MT2’s firing range services include complete range maintenance, improvements and lead remediation services.
MT2’s extensive list of clients includes over 400 law enforcement agencies such as NYPD, State Departments of Corrections, and the US Military. Since 2006, MT2 has been implementing a BMP Program for lead management and maintenance that successfully reduces lead hazards at the NYPD training range where over 40,000 officers and recruits train annually. The NYPD BMP Program includes removal and recycling of lead bullets and bullet fragments; sampling, analysis and monitoring of soil and groundwater conditions; and chemically converting potential leachable lead fines remaining in range soils utilizing MT2’s patented ECOBOND® lead treatment technologies so that treated soils are considered non-hazardous and can be replaced back onto range berms.