LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 14 Number 1, October  2013, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Elizabeth O’Brien, Editorial Team: Hitesh Lohani, Anne Roberts and David Ratcliffe

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Info Pack - Lead-safety for shooters and workers at shooting ranges

This Info Pack (collection of articles which form a great reference list for a fact sheet) has resulted from a request for a fact sheet for shooters and their doctors from a NSW public health officer and is presented in the hope that a Public Health Officer will write an appropriate fact sheet and web-publish it for the benefit of everyone shooting in NSW (and beyond) and everyone managing the lead poisoning cases which result.

Some good references can be found in my earlier Info Pack at http://www.lead.org.au/lanv13n2/lanv13n2-15.html which states:

Other useful articles are:

When I did a Google search for a fact sheet on the topic, the result was: No results found for "fact sheet for shooters" "lead exposure". However, some of the first 10 results are relevant or partly relevant:

Results for fact sheet for shooters lead exposure (without quotes):

Search Results

  1. Lead poisoning | Better Health Channel www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au  Environmental health - Chemical risks
  2. Sources of lead exposure in Australia include lead-based jobs and hobbies, paint,...Download the PDF version of this fact sheet Email this fact sheet...for fishing; Recreational shooting, including casting bullets and shooting at a pistol range. Lead: Environmental health - Department of Health, Victoria, Australia www.health.vic.gov.au Environmental health hazards
  3. Aug 27, 2013 - Further information on how to prevent lead exposure from damaged or...Lead dust and your health - Information for gun shooters - Fact sheet. Prevention of Exposure to Lead at Work in Indonesia www.lead.org.au/fs/fst61.html‎
  4. Mar 25, 2013 - FACTSHEET. Prevention of Exposure to Lead at Work in Indonesia. Which occupations have more risk of high lead exposure? Shooters and ... 
  5. Info Pack - Lead contamination and lead exposure at shooting ranges www.lead.org.au/lanv13n2/lanv13n2-15.html
  6. May 7, 2013 - A Manageable Hazard - Aiming for Lower Lead Exposure: Shooting and Exposure to Lead. ...Library-Fact Sheets · Home Page
  7. Fact sheet: Recommendations for operators - Auckland Regional ... www.arphs.govt.nz/.../Health%20advice%20and%20recommendations-O...‎ Minimising Lead Exposure in Shooting Club Ranges. Public Health....Fact sheets from MidCentral District Health Board in regards to “lead hazards and indoor.
  8. DRAFT CMP FACT SHEET - VogelUSA www.vogelusa.com/fact1_lead.pdf‎ This fact sheet was prepared by Gary Anderson, Director of Civilian Marksmanship. Additional ...completed work on the question of lead exposure for shooters.
  9. Aiming for Lower Lead Exposure | Cornered Cat www.corneredcat.com/article/firearms.../aiming-for-lower-lead-exposure...‎  Lead exposure in the shooting sports is a real hazard that all shooters should be aware of....We're all familiar with the fact that lead is used in making bullets, but not every shooter remembers that lead....Fact sheets and FAQs about lead.
  10. Rifle Team Lead Safety Fact Sheet.pub - CT.gov www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/.../pdf/rifle_team_lead_safety_fact_sheet.pdf‎ years due to lead exposure from target shooting and indoor firing range use.....Fact Sheet: Indoor Firing Ranges, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ...
  11. Exposure to Lead in Indoor Shooting Ranges Lead is a well ... www.portal.state.pa.us/.../website_exposure_to_lead_in_indoor_shooting...‎ Therefore, managing and controlling lead exposure in this setting....Fact Sheet: Indoor Firing Ranges, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National.
  12. Fact Sheet: Lead - Toxics Action Center www.toxicsaction.org/sites/default/files/tac/.../the-facts-on-lead.pdf‎ However, the general public may also be at risk of lead exposure from the pollution caused by the... OSHA Fact Sheet: Protecting Workers from Lead Hazards.


I note that two of the above web search results are fact sheets for shooters, but both focus on lead-safety only at indoor firing ranges (and omit to say that lead poisoning prevention is also important for shooters anywhere):

  1. Minimising Lead Exposure in Shooting Club Ranges Public Health Advice for Operators The following recommendations are endorsed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) as part of best practice design and operation of indoor shooting ranges. [URL: http://www.arphs.govt.nz/Portals/0/Health%20Information/HealthyEnvironments/
  2. http://www.vogelusa.com/fact1_lead.pdf which is about protecting shooters from the lead in air rifle pellets, fired at indoor ranges. Some simple guidelines for lead poisoning prevention for shooters and workers at shooting ranges can be found in the article “Gun range under fire over lead in blood of workers” at http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020353191_gunrangeleadxml.html

 but a Google search for "Guns, ammunition and risk of exposure to lead" provided nearly 8 million results, the first 10 of which are:

Results for Guns, ammunition and risk of exposure to lead (without quotes):

Search Results

  1. EHP – Health Risks from Lead-Based Ammunition in the Environment ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1306945/‎ Jun 1, 2013 - Health Risks from Lead-Based Ammunition in the Environment ...of lead-based ammunition poses risks of elevated lead exposure to gun users 
  2. PDF Version - Environmental Health Perspectives ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/121/6/ehp.1306945.pdf‎ by DC Bellinger - ‎Related articles ammunition poses risks of elevated lead exposure to gun users (National. Research Council 2012). When lead-containing bullets are used to shoot wildlife, they can ...
  3. Human Health Risks from Lead Ammunition - Center for Biological ... www.biologicaldiversity.org/.../Human_Health_Risks_from_Lead_Amm...‎ Human exposure to lead in the United States has dramatically decreased as lead...Hunters who reload rifle and pistol ammunition or cast their own lead bullets ...
  4. NRA Pulled Its Science-Denying Website That Claimed Lead ... mediamatters.org/research/2013/08/08/nra-pulled-its...that.../195299‎ Aug 8, 2013 - b) The discharge of lead-based ammunition is known to pose risks of elevated lead exposure to gun users (NRC, 2012). c) Lead-based bullets ...
  5. Lead Bullets' Health Risks May Threaten Gun Range Patrons ... www.huffingtonpost.com/.../lead-bullets-health-gun-ranges_n_2...‎  - in 189 Google+ circles Dec 19, 2012 - In late November, the city council of South Jordan, Utah, approved construction of a large indoor shooting range despite appeals from local ...
  6. Lead in Discarded Bullets a Hazard for People and Wildlife ... www.livescience.com/39252-lead-in-discarded-bullets-a-hazard-for-peo...‎ Aug 28, 2013 - Lead from bullets is a danger well after shots have been fired, says Wayne ...Foundation — the trade association for gun and ammunition makers, based in...and wildlife-health risks associated with lead from ammunition.
  7. Pathways for exposure to lead while using and handling guns and ... www.lead.org.au/lanv13n4/lanv13n4-8.html‎ Jul 19, 2013 - The most popular ammunition used in rifled air guns is the lead diabolo...The following information is from 'RISKS OF LEAD POISONING IN ...
  8. Lead Bullet Risks for Wildlife & Humans - Pinnacles National Park www.nps.gov/pinn/naturescience/leadinfo.htm‎ Information about the risks of using lead bullets to humans who consume the meat,...Most lead-core rifle bullets fragment into hundreds of tiny pieces when they ...
  9. Aiming for Lower Lead Exposure | Cornered Cat www.corneredcat.com/article/firearms.../aiming-for-lower-lead-exposure...‎ ...new and experienced shooters alike, about the risk of lead overexposure...Lead exposure in the shooting sports is a real hazard that all shooters should be aware of. ...We're all familiar with the fact that lead is used in making bullets, but not...we breathe and to settle on the gun, clothing and skin (think gunshot residue).
  10. Tips to reduce lead exposure from shooting - Detroit Firearms ... www.examiner.com/article/tips-to-reduce-lead-exposure-from-shooting‎ Oct 31, 2012 - Even jacketed bullets typically have exposed lead at the base....spend enough time at gun ranges for lead exposure to become a serious risk.


Of those top ten Google search results (immediately above), the closest things to a factsheet for lead poisoned shooters / staff at shooting ranges, and their doctors, are:

  1. 1. the article I co-authored, called “Pathways for exposure to lead while using and handling guns and ammunition”, at http://www.lead.org.au/lanv13n4/lanv13n4-8.html ; ALSO PART OF http://www.lead.org.au/lanv13n4/LANv13n4_Lead_and_steel-old_and_new_ammunition.pdf
  2. 2. the article at  http://www.corneredcat.com/article/firearms-safety/aiming-for-lower-lead-exposure/ which I referenced in my first Info Pack on this topic, and which begins by recommending blood lead testing, and usefully states:
    “...the range can institute several controls to lower the amount of lead dust in these facilities.
    The choice of ammunition is one such control. Non-jacketed ammunition produces the most lead dust and fumes, fully jacketed ammunition less and lead-free ammunition, obviously, the least. Shotgun shells produce more airborne lead dust than any handgun round. Currently, many ammunition manufacturers make available lead-free ammunition that does away with lead compounds in both the primer and the bullet. From a personal standpoint using lead-free primer ammunition with fully jacketed bullets or lead-free bullets will have the greatest benefit for individual shooters.”
  3. 3. by comparison, the article at http://www.examiner.com/article/tips-to-reduce-lead-exposure-from-shooting starts by recommending shooting outdoors (over shooting indoors), and ends by only recommending non-lead ammunition and blood lead testing for shooters or workers at indoor ranges who think they have a high lead exposure risk. My question is: how would they know they might be lead poisoned, without getting a blood lead test first, before they begin shooting or working near shooters? Why not just recommend non-lead ammo for every shooter? The most useful thing on that webpage is a graphic showing the brand name of a lead-free bullet, with the caption: This Federal American Eagle Total Metal Jacket ammo uses a lead free primer and total metal jacket. 
  4. According to Australian researchers Gulson et al (2002) [“Changes in blood lead of a recreational shooter” - full article available for purchase for US$41.95 at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969702000037 ; abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12109468:
    “Although more expensive, the use of Cu-jacketed bullets, non-lead primers and well-ventilated indoor firing ranges would lessen the health impacts of recreational shooting.”

I searched for <federal "american eagle" "total metal jacket" australia> and found one Australian supplier on the first page of results, at http://www.acme-firearms.com.au/Federal%20Ammunition/Federal%20Ammunition%20Index.htm and although Acme Firearms are located at Langwarrin, Victoria, 3910, Australia, they do online sales.

I searched for “lead free” on the Queensland Gun Exchange website and got quite a few results - http://www.qldgunexchange.com/QGEWeb/product_search.seam?cid=430729 – although my searches for copper-jacket, Cu-jacket and non-lead primer were fruitless, so I hope you will phone them on 0733930933 and let me know what they supply that is recommended for reducing lead exposure of the shooter.

I couldn’t find lead-free, non-lead primer or copper on Cleaver Firearms site although the photos of some ammunition look like they might be copper-jacketed, so you would have to phone them too, on 0738831733, and please let me know what they say.

Similarly, please contact the following NSW ammunition suppliers from my White Pages search results, (or search their websites) and let me know whether any of them supply lead-free ammo or fully jacketed bullets:

  1. Bettington Ammunition Supplies Lot2/ 1109 Princes Hwy Mogo NSW 2536(02) 4474 5171Map Send to

  2. Silvercity Guns & Ammunition 11 Williams La Broken Hill NSW  2880(08) 8087 7202Map Send to

  3. Ammo Doors Mobile Service U4/ 229 Brisbane Rd0 417 007 898 0417 007 898 FREE  Send to

  4. Power Ammo More contacts & information for Power Ammo (1) powerammo@bigpond.com 21 Copland St Wagga Wagga NSW 2650(02) 6921 3994Map Send to

  5. Arms & Ammo NSW

  6. Rylstone Guns & Ammo 84 Louee St Rylstone NSW 2849(02) 6379 0935Map Send to

  7. Silver City Guns & Ammo  William La Broken Hill NSW 2880(08) 8087 7262 Map Send to

  8. Gunpro More contacts & information for Gunpro (1) gunpro@bigpond.com 129-131 Talbragar St Dubbo NSW 2830(02) 6882 8080 Send to

  9. Hawkesbury Toolworx Archery & Camping Supplies U 2/ 5 Terrace Rd North Richmond NSW 2754(02) 4571 3890Map Send to

  10. Hunting Haven More contacts & information for Hunting Haven (1) www.huntinghaven.com.aucontact@huntinghaven.com.au Phone/Fax 84 Bridge St Uralla NSW 2358(02) 6778 4144Map Send to

  11. Inverell Firearms More contacts & information for Inverell Firearms (2) www.inverellfirearms.com.au 164 Ashford Rd Inverell NSW 2360(02) 6722 1144Map Send to

  12. Tamworth Firearms More contacts & information for Tamworth Firearms (2) 532 Peel St Tamworth NSW 2340(02) 6761 3308 Map Send to

  13. Macquarie Arms Co 193b Brisbane St Dubbo NSW 2830(02) 6884 2772 Map Send to

  14. Shooting Zone The www.theshootingzone.com.aushane@theshootingzone.com.au Firearms and Ammunition 125 High St Mansfield VIC 3724 (03) 5779 1685 Map Send to

  15. Golden Flash Cartridges More contacts & information for Golden Flash Cartridges (2) 66 Nolan St Maryborough VIC 3465(03) 5461 4400 Map Send to

  16. Sapphire City Firearms NSW 

  17. King's 4WD & Radiators Accessories & Ammunition 73 Eighth St Mildura VIC 3500(03) 5021 4826 Map Send to

  18. Walgett Hunt Camp Fish More contacts & information for Walgett Hunt Camp Fish (1) walnews@bigpond.com 56c Fox St Walgett NSW 2832(02) 6828 2508 Map Send to

  19. Muddy Creek Fishing & Outdoors Hunting Apparel, Ammunition Shp 1/ 10 High St Yea VIC 3717(03) 5797 2789 Map Send to

  20. Total Sports Seymour seymourtotalsports@bigpond.com New & Used Guns & Ammo 56 Station St Seymour VIC 3660(03) 5792 3699 Map


The dust on the floor and horizontal hard surfaces, like window sills, at a firing range can be tested for lead at a lab (whereas the Lead Check kits by 3M available at good hardware stores are only sensitive enough to test for lead in paint - and they're only colour-change kits, so you end up not knowing HOW MUCH lead is in the paint, just a general idea of whether there's SOME lead in the paint).

The LEAD Group charity has set up a DIY-Sampling kit where you collect the samples and post them to a lab for lead analysis - which gives you the exact amount of lead in dust wipes and/or paint and/or soil (or water or bullets etc) PLUS an interpretation report to tell you what the results mean in terms of lead-safety for shooters and staff, as well as recommendations on what to do about the results (to reduce blood lead levels), tailored to your situation.

You can phone to order a kit or fill in the form on our website, accessible from http://www.lead.org.au/clp/products/Do_It_Yourself_Lead_Safe_Test_Kits_Ad.html


Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

Winner of the United Nations Assoc'n of Australia (UNAA) World Environment Day (WED) Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment,

Manager, Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) run by The LEAD Group Inc.

PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia

Ph +61 2 9716 0132 Freecall 1800 626086


“We give lead knowledge today to guide your actions towards a lead-safe tomorrow”

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