Case study: impact of housekeeping on lead exposure in indoor law enforcement shooting ranges

This study was conducted to determine what factors influence airborne and surface lead levels at indoor law enforcement shooting ranges. Industrial hygiene evaluations were conducted at two law enforcement shooting ranges during normal firearms training activities: Range A – indoor shooting range, built in 1970, located in a training academy and comprises several areas; and Range B – located in the basement of a police station, constructed during the 1960s. Personal breathing zone air samples were collected on three firearms instructors and one recruit in Range A, and on three detectives and one volunteer shooter in Range B. Area samples were collected to assess airborne lead concentrations in the general occupied area of the range and to compare with the magnitude of the PBZ samples. Personal lead exposures in Range B were nearly four times greater than in Range A (leaded ammunition), despite the fact that Range B used non-lead primer ammunition and had fewer shooters who fired about one-third the number of rounds as Range A. Ventilation characteristics in each facility were less than optimal and found to have backflow air currents into the shooters’ breathing zones. The most striking distinction between the two ranges was the degree of attention to maintaining an effective lead housekeeping program. The authors concluded that the results suggest that housekeeping plays a significant role in exposures of shooters and firearms instructors to lead.

Authors: Gaffney, Shannon; Scott, Erika E.; Pavelchak, Nicholas; DePersis, Ron ;Full Source: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene [online computer file] 2012, 9(3), D45-D51 (Eng) ;