|Photo: Niels Noordhoek|
Firing ranges should have a well-designed and operating ventilation system, explains Martin Cohen, director of the Field Research and Consultation Group at the University of Washington School of Public Health.
The researchers work with gun ranges to evaluate their ventilation systems and test their employees’ exposure to airborne lead levels which are generated when a gun is fired. The “smoke” in a smoking barrel is what may contain high concentrations of lead.
Cohen says that the methods that the employer and workers use to clean and maintain the range are crucial to protecting the workers from lead exposure. If workers sweep, fine lead dust particles can become airborne and produce a respiratory exposure hazard.
If a workers’ eight-hour average airborne lead levels exceeds the “action level” of 0.03 milligrams per cubic meter, the facility is required to comply with stringent regulations involving respiratory protection, ventilation controls, housekeeping and practices to keep the worker from leaving the facility with lead on their clothes or body.