Lead Exposure in Military Outdoor Firing Ranges

Several studies have reported significant airborne lead exposures during training at indoor firing ranges. Scarce attention has been given to airborne lead exposures in outdoor shooting ranges with automatic weapons. This study assessed the prevalence and magnitude of airborne and blood lead levels (BLL) among firing instructors and shooters in military outdoor ranges. Exposure assessment, for both trainees and instructors, included airborne and BLL during basic and advanced training at outdoor firing ranges. Personal airborne samples were collected in both day and night shooting during both training periods. During basic training, there is 95% likelihood that up to 25% of instructors and 99% likelihood that up to 5% of trainees might be exposed above the action level (AL) (25 ?g/m(3)). During advanced training, there is 90% likelihood that 10% of instructors and 99% likelihood that up to 10% of trainees might be exposed above the AL. Military personnel participating in automatic weapon marksmanship training can be exposed to considerable levels of airborne lead during outdoor firing range training. As a result, the Israel Defence Force Medical Corp has classified firing range instructors as workers that require periodic medical examinations.

Authors: Greenberg N, Frimer R, Meyer R, Derazne E, Chodick G. ;Full Source: Military Medicine. 2016 Sep;181(9):1121-6. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00454. ;