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Health hazard evaluation report: lead exposure at a firing range and gun store.

Page-E; Beaucham-C; Methner-M
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2013-0119-3219, 2014 Aug; :1-29
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request for an evaluation from employees of a firing range and gun store. Employees were concerned about lead exposure and reported being diagnosed with lead poisoning and being medically removed from the workplace by an occupational physician. We visited the facility in December 2013 to interview employees, assess lead exposures, and evaluate ventilation system performance. In February 2014, we provided a summary of the environmental sampling results to the employer and employee representatives and personal sampling results were sent to each employee who participated in the evaluation. Employees generally spent most of their work day at the sales counter in the showroom or in the office. They occasionally entered the ranges to assist shooters who were experiencing difficulty or to supervise league shooting. On Saturdays, employees performed a deep cleaning of the firing ranges. Each range had a separate single-pass ventilation system that supplied outside air to the range and exhausted the air directly outdoors without recirculation. The areas of the facility other than the range were served by two recirculation ventilation systems. All employees had elevated blood lead levels, defined as greater than or equal to 10 µg/dL, when tested by the employer in November 2013. Employee BLLs ranged from 19.9-40.7 µg/dL. No employees had undergone the medical surveillance required by Cal/OSHA. Air sampling results for lead were below the Cal/OSHA permissible exposure limit of 50 µg/m3. We found lead on all tested surfaces in the range and in the showroom. Employees also had lead on their hands and shoes as they left work to go home. The ventilation system had numerous deficiencies, and lead contaminated air circulated throughout the building. Multiple openings between the ranges and the wall separating them from the showroom allowed lead dust to migrate to the air handling units that serve the showroom and office/classroom area. We recommended the employer (1) switch to lead-free ammunition, (2) remove all employees with blood lead levels of 20 µg/dL or higher from exposure to lead until their two blood lead levels taken a month apart drop below 15 µg/dL, (3) hire a ventilation engineer to modify or redesign the ventilation systems, (4) remove lead contamination from the showroom, and (5) follow the Cal/OSHA medical surveillance requirements. We recommended employees (1) talk to their doctor about their exposure to lead at work, (2) not eat, drink, or smoke inside the facility, (3) wash their hands with a lead-removing soap before leaving the facility, and (4) change their clothes and shoes before leaving work to decrease the amount of lead transferred to their car or home.
Region-9; Lead-compounds; Humans; Men; Women; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Workers; Work-environment; Work-areas; Worker-health; Health-protection; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-systems; Author Keywords: All Other Amusement and Recreation Industries; lead; firing range; California
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
HETA-2013-0119-3219; M082014
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division