Lead exposure in military outdoor firing ranges

Nili Greenberg, Ron Frimer, Robert Meyer, Estella Derazne, Gabrial Chodick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several studies have reported significant airborne lead exposures during training at indoor firing ranges. Scarce attention has been given to airborne lead exposures in outdoor shooting ranges with automatic weapons. Objective: To assess the prevalence and magnitude of airborne and blood lead levels (BLL) among firing instructors and shooters in military outdoor ranges. Methods: Exposure assessment, for both trainees and instructors, included airborne and BLL during basic and advanced training at outdoor firing ranges. Personal airborne samples were collected in both day and night shooting during both training periods. Results: During basic training, there is 95% likelihood that up to 25% of instructors and 99% likelihood that up to 5% of trainees might be exposed above the action level (AL) (25 μg/m3). During advanced training, there is 90% likelihood that 10% of instructors and 99% likelihood that up to 10% of trainees might be exposed above the AL. Conclusions: Military personnel participating in automatic weapon marksmanship training can be exposed to considerable levels of airborne lead during outdoor firing range training. As a result, the Israel Defense Force Medical Corp has classified firing range instructors as workers that require periodic medical examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1126
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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