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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.
- Army uses tungsten in AK and MA, expects full use by 2005, Green Bullet Program, "Greening Service Ammunition," Cynthia Houston, 410-436-1272; Bob DiMichele, 410-436-1266.
- NIOSH studied 5 sites for lead health hazards. One of the sites is the FBI's Quantico range. NIOSH: Fred Blosser, 202-401-0721.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, general toxicity info, John Florence or Mike Groutt, 404-639-0501.
Last revised January 22, 2013
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