You are likely exposed to hazardous levels of lead and noise if you work or train regularly at indoor firing ranges. With an estimated 16,000–18,000 indoor firing ranges operating in the United States, some may not have sufficient environmental and occupational health controls in place. Without the safety measures from exposure to lead (from lead bullets and cartridge primers), noise, and other contaminants can be a problem. The risk extends to an average of 20 million active target shooters, more than a million Federal, State, and local law officers who are required to train regularly at these facilities, as well as thousands of employees at indoor firing ranges. Today, we at Shooting Range Industries would like to discuss the protection from these dangers.
Lead Exposure at the Shooting Range
Exposures to lead at indoor firing ranges are contributed to many elements. The types of ammunition used, and the length of time that shooting occurs are included among the environmental factors which also include the type of ventilation system used at the firing range. Especially those involving cleaning the firing range and other maintenance activities, exposure risk factors include the type and frequency of work practices conducted at the range. Lead dust from firearms discharge can be inhaled or contaminate surfaces and then transferred to people’s skin, particularly hands. While handling food, beverages, and other items that contact the mouth, the lead from the hands can be ingested. Lead poisoning symptoms can include
– Weight loss
– Poor appetite
– Kidney problems
– Excessive lethargy or hyperactivity
– Abdominal pain
Prevent Lead Poisoning from Shooting
With the correct ventilation system installed in reputable shooting ranges, such as with Shooting Range Industries’ custom shooting ranges. Another helpful contribution to avoiding lead exposure is using ammunition that had nylon-coated and copper-jacketed bullets, which substantially reduced airborne lead concentrations. Proper ventilation and good housekeeping is a must for owners, employees, and practitioners. These groups should diligently practice basic personal hygiene. Always wear full protective outer clothing when performing range maintenance and practicing on the range. Wear ear and eye protection and always wash your hands before eating, drinking, smoking and with close contact with others. Change clothes right after the return of the range and make sure they are washed as soon as possible.
Noise Induced Gunshot Hearing Loss
Exceeding the occupational health limits of 140 dB SPL is the discharge of firearms in an indoor firing range producing peak noise levels. As part of an overall hearing conservation program, it is recommended that workers and shooters who use a firing range as part of their occupation, such as law enforcement officers, wear double hearing protection, like earplugs and earmuffs. To not create an acoustical leak and degrade the performance of the hearing protectors, special attention must be paid to the use of safety glasses under earmuffs. Exposure to high levels of noise can result in the following:
– Tinnitus (ringing in the ear, which might be permanent)
– High blood pressure
– Hearing loss
– Gastro-intestinal problems
– Chronic fatigue
Custom Shooting Ranges with Ventilation & HVAC Systems
When it comes to shooting, everyone should do what the can to be safe and practice safety. Be sure to practice safe shooting and avoid serious exposure. Shooting Range Industries designs and builds custom shooting ranges with the most advanced safety systems. Contact us to learn more today.