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Publication date: May 16, 2001

TIME FOR FIRING RANGES TO GET THE LEAD OUT?

An estimated 1 million US children under age 6 have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, according to the CDC. The EPA in 2001 lowered TRI reporting thresholds for the metal to 100 lbs. But a report by Environmental Working Group contends that while firing ranges contain enough lead to "trigger Superfund cleanups," they remain exempt from many pollution and reporting regulations: EWG, Laura Chapin, 202-667-6982; Violence Policy Center, Naomi Seligman, 202-822-8200 x105.

Researchers at VA Tech last year reported larger lead particles, such as musket bullets, don't dissolve easily: Report. They are about to submit a study on lead distribution at a private shotgun range and are now collecting data at a rifle range, James Craig, 540-231-5222; Donald Rimstidt, 540-231-6589.

Meanwhile, the US military and federal law enforcement agencies are cleaning up ranges nationwide and starting a switch to tungsten-based bullets. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory started seeking lead alternatives in 1992. They're now looking at tungsten substitutes for radiation screening and other lead uses. ORNL: Rick Lowden, 865-576-2769, Report.


Last revised January 22, 2013

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