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  QUESTION: Breastfeeding and Lead poisoning on shooting ranges, 03 May 2006, New Mexico USA

I am a narcotics detective in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA and am looking for information related to breastfeeding and firearms training. I am due in June 2006 and am on "desk duty" until I have the baby. When I return to work, I have been told that I might not be able to train with my firearm due to risk of lead poisoning to the baby, as I will be breastfeeding. What sort of information do you have on this subject? It would be much appreciated.
Det. F. Simmons
ANSWER: 20 Jul 2006

Dear Ferris,

I'm sorry for the late reply. It is true that people can get an elevated blood lead level in indoor range. However, breastfeeding is still the best way to feed your baby as the lead content in the milk is only up to 5% of the mother's lead level. It is also better to prevent and minimize the exposure of the mother to the source of lead. Therefore, it is better for you to stay away from the shooting range because the air in the shooting range contains a high level of lead. I believe you are aware that the primer of a bullet is made of lead styphnate and gun shot residue usually may contain lead. I put some links below on lead in shooting range and breastfeeding. If you are worried about your lead level, you can check your blood lead level with your physician.

Contamination at Shooting Ranges by Dr Corinne Rooney, Soil, Plant and Ecological Sciences Division, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand. A fact sheet for The LEAD Group Inc.

Breastfeeding and lead This fact sheet is based on recently completed research into lead in breastmilk by Professor Brian Gulson et al at CSIRO and Macquarie University, supported by the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. See:
Relationships of lead in breast milk to lead in blood, urine, and diet of the infant and mother by B L. Gulson, C W. Jameson, K R. Mahaffey, K J. Mizon, N. Patison, A J. Law, M J. Korsch, M A. Salter. Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; CSIRO/Division of Exploration and Mining, North Ryde, Australia
Environmental Health Perspectives Vol 106(10) Oct 1998

Risks Of Lead Poisoning In Firearms Instructors And Their Students,  by Anthony M. Gregory, Copyright 1990 by THE ASLET JOURNAL, March/April 1990 Volume 4 Issue 2

I hope this information can help you. Should you require further information, feel free to contact us.
Erik Wibowo
(Research Assistant of Global Lead Advice and Support Service)

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