INDOOR FIRING RANGES
Indoor firing ranges are popular among law enforcement and recreational shooters because they offer protection from inclement weather conditions and can be operated around the clock under controlled environmental conditions. However, many firing range facilities lack environmental and occupational controls to protect the health of shooters and range personnel from effects of airborne lead, noise, and other potential exposures.
This page provides links to information about the evaluation, measurement, and control of noise and airborne lead exposures at indoor firing ranges.
NIOSH research shows that washing hands with soap and water is not completely effective in removing lead (and other toxic metals) from the surface of the skin. NIOSH researchers developed and patented a novel and highly effective skin decontamination/cleansing technology. NIOSH recommends use of this technology to reduce the risks of lead exposures after firing weapons. The technology has been licensed to two companies: MEDTOX Scientific (under the brand name LeadTech Wipes™) and the Hygenall Corporation (under the brand name Hygenall™) for commercial production and distribution. Mention of specific corporate or product names does not constitute a commercial endorsement by NIOSH.
Preventing Occupational Exposures to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-136
This Alert presents five case reports that document lead and noise exposures of law enforcement officers and students. The Alert examines firing range operations, exposure assessment and control methods, existing regulations, and exposure standards and guidelines.
Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges
NIOSH Publication No. 2010-113
This two-page Workplace Solutions document provides clear and simple recommendations to workers, occupational shooters, and operators of indoor firing ranges to reduce their occupational exposure to airborne lead and high-intensity noise.
Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Outdoor Firing Ranges
NIOSH Publication No. 2013-104
This two-page Workplace Solutions document provides clear and simple recommendations to workers, occupational shooters, and operators of outdoor firing ranges to reduce their occupational exposure to airborne lead and high-intensity noise.
Lead exposure and design considerations for indoor firing ranges
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 76-130 (December 1975)
This technical document provides the user with recommendations for design considerations and work practices to reduce or eliminate health hazards associated with indoor firing ranges. It includes topics such as ventilation, noise, and maintenance issues.
Measurement of impulse peak insertion loss for four hearing protection devices in field conditions
Int J Audiol 2012 Feb; 51(S1):S31-S42
Handwipe method for removing lead from skin
J ASTM Int 2011 May; 8(5):JAI103527
Evaluation of a handwipe disclosing method for lead
J ASTM Int 2011 Apr; 8(4):1-7
Measurement of impulse peak insertion loss for five hearing protectors
J Acoust Soc Am 2011 Apr; 129(4)(Part 2):2651
Noise control solutions for indoor firing ranges
Noise Control Eng J 2010 Jul; 58(4):345-356
Assessment of noise exposure for indoor and outdoor firing ranges
J Occup Environ Hyg 2007 Sep; 4(9):688-697
Firearms and hearing protection
Hearing Rev 2007 Mar; 14(3):36, 38
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report June 17, 2005 / 54(23);577-579: Lead Exposure from Indoor Firing Ranges Among Students on Shooting Teams --- Alaska, 2002—2004
During 2002--2004, the Alaska Environmental Public Health Program (EPHP) conducted lead-exposure assessments of school-based indoor shooting teams in the state. This investigation revealed that lead exposure can occur at indoor firing ranges despite federal regulations and specific guidelines pertaining to range design and operation.
NIOSH/NHCA best-practices workshop on impulsive noise
Noise Control Eng J 2005 Mar-Apr; 53(2):53-60
Noise exposure assessment and abatement strategies at an indoor firing range
Appl Occup Env Hyg 2003 Aug; 18(8):629-636
Indoor Shooting Ranges
ASHARE Journal 2002 Dec; 44-48
Ventilation control of lead in indoor firing ranges: inlet configuration and booth and fluctuating flow contributions
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1991 Feb; 52(2):81-91
and Mortality Weekly Report September 23, 1983 / 32(37);483-4,489: Reducing Exposures to Airborne Lead in Indoor Firing Ranges -- United States
Between 1980 and 1982, NIOSH completed nine evaluations of exposures to lead in indoor firing ranges. Results show that exposure of shooters to airborne lead is greatly reduced by replacing traditional lead bullets with nylon-clad, copper-jacketed, or zinc ammunition.
For more publications, see:
NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Firing Ranges
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
NIOSH conducts Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs) to find out whether there are health hazards to employees caused by exposures or conditions in the workplace.
Some recent HHE reports related to firing ranges have been listed below. For a comprehensive listing of HHE reports please search the HHE Database.
Lead Management and OSHA Compliance for Indoor Shooting Ranges
The National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR) produced this manual though an alliance with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and input from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The manual provides valuable background on lead issues, as well as general guidance for lead monitoring and ventilation, precautions and coverage for employees, and related business practices.
August 5, 2002: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) established an Alliance to promote safe and healthful working conditions for workers in target shooting facilities.
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