Studies of indoor firing ranges by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that
Thousands of employees had elevated lead levels in their blood.
One study found employees tested during the cleaning and renovation of a shooting range, 46% of those working on the cleaning (both range employees and construction workers) had elevated blood lead levels.
Even the families of those employed at the gun range are at risk. Testing found that of four construction workers, three children and two adult family members tested for elevated blood lead levels.
Effects on the Environment:
The environmental Working Group estimates that firing ranges put more lead into the environment than any other US industry, with the exception of mining and manufacturing.
Tens of billions of rounds of ammunition fired every year translates to hundreds of tons of lead per day.
Lead, one of the most environmentally sensitive metals, has been the metal of choice for bullet manufacture.
Many bullets are jacketed in copper which makes them more environmentally sensitive in wet soils because of the galvanic corrosion potential of the copper.
Bullets that don't stay intact, usually bullets from rifles, expose maximum lead to the soil over a larger surface area.
In outdoor ranges, where soil may be wet, the lead contamination may spread into water tables.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently developed four point guidelines for the reclamation of firing ranges.
Sift munitions fragments from the soil. These fragments can be recycled (Recycling lead fragments can be lucrative. Estimates are that shooting range owners recover millions of dollars’ worth of metals from cleanups. Recycling also exempts the contamination from hazardous waste reporting and management requirements).
Analyze samples of the remaining soil to determine how much contamination has leached away. If leachable level is below the approved EPA limit no further action is needed. Proper testing methods must be used.
Analyze the soil in layers to assess the extent of downward contamination.
Treat or dispose of contaminated soil in a hazardous waste landfill or use on-site stabilization, solidification, and soil washing techniques.
MT2, LLC is the nation’s#1 ranked professional environmental firing Range Contractor with seven locations across the country. To lean more, please contact us.