Health effects of exposure to lead in firing ranges

A. Fischbein, C. Rice, L. Sarkozi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


It appears that lead-related symptoms may occur with appreciable frequency among firearms instructors. The CNS as well as the gastrointestinal symptoms correlated well with other biological indices of lead exposure, such as ZPP levels and blood lead levels. Five of six firearms instructors with multiple lead-related symptoms had clear biochemical, lead-induced abnormalities. There was a statistically significant difference in mean blood lead and ZPP levels between 'indoor' and 'outdoor' firearms instructors. Both blood lead and ZPP levels increased after indoor training. Environmental surveys of three firing ranges indicate that indoor firing ranges with insufficient ventilation cause considerable lead exposure for instructors. In some instances, this may lead to clinically observable lead disease. The results also illustrate that adherence to currently recommended design criteria is necessary to minimize exposure to lead particulates in firing ranges and to prevent the occurrence of lead disease among firearms instructors. It should be emphasized, however, that good personal hygiene, work practices, and houskeeping are, likewise, necessary components of a lead prevention program. On the basis of currently available data, we suggest that evaluation of lead effects be taken into account in medical surveillance programs of firearms instructors. ZPP determination is a suitable and practical way to assess significant biological effects among exposed individuals. This test, combined with blood lead determination, should be available at medical facilities responsible for the health of those employed in indoor firing ranges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Police Science and Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes


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