The Contamination of Air by Lead. Free Essay

Published: 2024-01-15
The Contamination of Air by Lead. Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Environment Chemistry Gun control
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1066 words
9 min read

Significant exposure to lead can result from indoor shooting ranges, during practices with leaded bullets. To eliminate the potential risk at the shooting range, the study was carried out to determine the contamination of air by lead. The study examined the exposure from various guns, but mostly M16 guns which were prevalent in the Cheylesmore shooting range. Air sampling was carried out using Gilian GilAir Plus and lead particulates were captured using Mixed Cellulose Ester (MCE) membrane filters. A time-weighted average of 8 hours was done as needed per CLAW Regulations 2002 (Weber et al. 2007). According to the findings, the air was partially contaminated with lead fumes and particulates. All three samples came back as 0.005mg/m3 which is well below 50 % of the limit according to the Control of Lead at Work (CLAW) 2002 Regulation which means no further monitoring is needed. The study suggests that during shooting practices, especially in well-ventilated shooting ranges, there is low exposure to lead to the firers and instructors. The studies suggest that exposure levels associated with shooting practices in a semi-enclosed range do not pose any significant threat to troopers for targets across an 8-hour training session.

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Lead is used in various new products, including ammunition, projectile, and timer in guns. Other products include batteries, pottery, paints, and fishing sinkers. Lead has documented numerous health issues, especially for children. Detrimental health among kids included shortened concentration spans, poor school performance, reduced intelligence, aggressive behaviour, and violence (Bellinger and Needleman, 2003). In adults, lead exposure results in cardiac disease, low fertility levels, hypertension, and kidney damage (Hu et al., 2007). As such, lead has been categorized as the oldest established poison, with the highest impact on human health. According to Gidlow (2015), lead has both chronic and acute effects on the environment and personal health and is toxic even at low exposure levels. Lead has seemingly no benefits to the human body and is considered highly toxic. The two most common forms of lead exposure are ingestion and inhalation, both of which could be harmful (MOD, 2012). The present study is designed to examine the exposure of lead in a selected shooting ranges, to determine the effect of lead absorbed into the bloodstreams of firers and staffs, and to examine potential recommendation of reducing the solubility of lead into the body. The paper focuses on the measurement of lead released around shooting ranges through analyzing the surface and soils around the shooting ranges and examining the concentration of lead in air samples obtained from the shooting range.

Lead has been used in the manufacture of both primers and projectile in a gun and manufacture of ammunition. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, 2010), firing ranges have been recognized as the most potent sources of lead exposure and absorption. In an indoor shooting range, lead can be introduced to the firers and staffs through ignition of the lead-containing primers, friction between the ammunitions and gun barrel, dry sweeping of the indoor shooting range causing lead to becoming airborne. Once airborne, lead particles mat is inhaled or found in surfaces such as hands, equipment and clothes. The particles might be ingested unintentionally, or create opportunities to be transported home and exposed to children and other members of the family. Previous studies examine the concentration of high Blood Lead Levels (BLLs) among firers and staffs. However, the present studies involve Air sampling pump with an MCE filter placed in the firers breathing zone (30 cm) from nose and mouth (Weber et al. 2007). The study aims to determine whether the Troops to Target (T2T) firers and safety staffs in the 25-metre semi-enclosed range are exposed to high levels of lead whilst carrying out their day to day firing routine.

The CLAW 2002 Regulations obligate employers to assess the risk to employees associated with exposure to lead at work, and to prevent or adequately control such exposure (HSE, 2019). T2T personnel use Cheylesmore range in Bisley regularly as part of an Elite Shooting Programme where athletes are trained in Rapid fire .22 calibre pistol, hoping to be selected for Team GB. The semi-enclosed range is frequently used throughout the week and is likely to produce elevated levels of lead because of many rounds getting fired in a short space of time (ISSF, 2020). Cheylesmore range is part of only a handful number of ranges in the country that has permission to conduct such type of firing. Regarding the dynamic of shooting ranges, this kind of study has not been conducted in a semi-enclosed firing range before. The benefits of this study could be to highlight the importance of range time management and housekeeping with regards to lowering lead exposure to the personnel. This research may prompt a further study regarding medical surveillance such as measuring Blood lead level (BLL) if the results show high levels of lead exposure.

Research aims and objectivesThe main objective of the study was to determine if the firers and shooters are exposed to lead and if it was evident through Air pump sampling near the firers breathing zone. To achieve this, we;

  • Requested range gatekeeper for permission to survey Cheylesmore shooting range.
  • Liaised with the Environmental Monitoring Team (EMT) and obtained the necessary equipment needed to carry out the study.
  • Sent filter sample to the Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) for analysis
  • Make conclusions and recommendations that will reduce exposure of range shooters to harmful lead fumes.

The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine contamination of the atmospheric air, which affects Troop to Target shooters and volunteer workers in Cheylesmore semi-enclosed shooting range. The study reviews the health challenges that expose Troops to Target (T2T) firers and safety staffs in a semi-enclosed shooting range and possible intervention to prevent such exposures. The study is the first to be carried out in Cheylesmore and will provide quantitative and qualitative data to be utilized as guide policymakers regarding the sources of lead and measures to reduce lead exposure to the atmosphere.

About potential lead exposure, the study aims to address the following research questions:

  1. What is the evidence that Troops to Target (T2T) firers, safety staff, and cleaners are exposed to lead?
  2. What is the evidence that firers can have high blood lead level concentration? How firers’ can risks exposure to their families?
  3. What have preventive measures been instituted to reduce lead exposure among Troops to Target (T2T) firers and safety staff?

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