Are You Inadvertently Being Poisoned at The Indoor Shooting Range?
Without a solution in place to remove all of this lead from the air, and the environment, lead poisoning is not just a risk, it is a certainty
The sport of shooting is popular in the United States. Current estimates put the number of firing ranges in the country at somewhere between sixteen and eighteen thousand, with about ten thousand of those being indoor firing ranges. People of all ages and from all walks of life enjoy the freedom to practice their shooting skills and even fire exotic and legendary guns they’ve only read about or seen in movies.
What many shooting enthusiasts don’t realize is the danger of lead poisoning that is associated with their hobby. The bullets used in any type of gun contain lead. From the bullets themselves, to the primer compound contained in the bullet casings, lead is a major component in the manufacture of gun ammunition.
Lead Lingering in The Air
The danger is not so much in handling the ammunition, although one should take special care to clean their hands properly after doing so. The real danger comes from the large amounts of lead dust and particles that are released into the air every time a gun is fired, or a bullet impacts against any surface, especially indoors. Literally, millions of microscopic particles of lead are dispersed into the air whenever either event occurs.
Several things happen when a gun is fired that set lead particles loose into the environment. The primer compound is made up of about 50% lead containing compounds. When a bullet is fired, the explosion itself creates hot gases that contain lead. The reaction of the heat from those gases on the end of the bullet itself also creates more lead particles. Adding to the poisonous mixture, still more lead particles are produced from the friction created as the bullet travels through the barrel of the gun, and finally, another burst of particles and dust are released when the bullet makes impact with a target or backstop.
In The Air and in Your Body
Tests performed at indoor shooting ranges show that once a gun is fired, the levels of lead in the air increase as the distance from the shooter increases, with the highest level of air contamination being at the target or backstop where the bullet finally makes its impact. Even so, the amount of lead present in the air within the breathing space of a shooter at an indoor shooting range is usually at a level considered to be toxic, which is greater than 50 micrograms per cubic meter. Various tests in this area have recorded results ranging from just 14 micrograms up to nearly 35,000 micrograms per cubic meter.
A side effect of all this lead floating through the air at a shooting range is that these particles and dust, if left unchecked, will eventually settle on surfaces within the building, and even on the clothing of customers and staff. The risk of ingesting lead goes farther than just breathing in particles. Anyone can touch a surface coated with microscopic particles and unknowingly ingest more of this poisonous metal when eating, drinking, smoking, or even just rubbing an itchy eye. Without a solution in place to remove all of this lead from the air, and the environment, lead poisoning is not just a risk, it is a certainty.
Air Filtration Is the Key To Healthy Air
The only viable solution to combat these risks at indoor shooting ranges is proper, consistent and aggressive air filtration. Studies have shown that even ventilation systems which move air in and out of a building in a one-way pattern, never allowing indoor air to recirculate, are not enough to reduce the levels of lead in the air to a non-toxic level. In order to protect customers and staff, airflow patterns must be properly controlled and particulate matter has to be actively removed from the air. Filtration is absolutely essential to keep the air at an indoor firing range clean enough to breathe safely.
Camfil firing range air filtration products are designed specifically for environments where toxic substances are a part of the day to day business. Camfil filters are capable of removing the microscopic particles of lead from the air to help ensure the highest level of protection. In addition to superior air filtration, they provide increased cost savings over competitive products by providing a significantly longer filtration service life, reducing the quantity of filters that need to be ordered and disposed of and reducing the power consumption of fans and circulation equipment. From replacement filters to complete air filtration systems and analysis, Camfil has a solution to fit any need. Camfil gun range air filters capture more lead dust and last longer than any other filter on the market today.
Camfil USA Air Filters