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Shooting should not damage health either – scientists point out the necessary changes

Posted April 6, 2017

Although many people seem to be opposing gun culture, it is still very much alive. Whether you hate it or not, there is no denying that many people enjoy going to shooting ranges or other remote locations to shoot at targets. However, despite its relatively safe nature (shooting at stuff far away), this hobby is a major health risk. So much so that scientists are now urging a ban on lead bullets.

Shooting a lead bullet releases lead particles that are breathed in or consumed later while eating. Image credit: Vercing via Wikimedia

Lead is a dangerous heavy metal when it enters our organism. Although a couple of centuries ago people saw no problem in putting massive amounts of lead on their faces for bizarre aesthetic reasons, now we do know that lead consumption should be avoided. However, just touching it while loading a magazine with bullets it is really no big deal. But now scientists say that lead does enter bodies of recreational shooters.

When a gun is fired, a cloud of smoke appears which has a significant amount of lead in it. Shooter almost inevitably breathes some of these particles into his lungs. Furthermore, lead particles settle down on shooter’s hands and later can be consumed when eating or smoking. Mothers and pregnant women should especially be concerned about these findings, because they transfer their lead to their children through milk. And, of course, the more people shoot, the more lead there is in their blood.

It is generally regarded that 5 micrograms of lead per decilitre of blood is already concerning. But occasional shooters haves as much as 40 micrograms. Lead can cause cancer and neurodevelopmental damage. It replaces calcium in human bones, making them weaker and does not flush out of our bodies easily. That is why scientists are saying that a substitute should be found for lead bullets.

Scientists are especially concerned about children, because lead can do some serious damage to their healthy development. Lead-free bullets already exist, although are not very common. Another suggestion is to just be careful and wash your hands after a shooting session. Eating in shooting ranges should also be forbidden. Indoors shooting ranges should be very well ventilated too.

One cannot stop people from enjoying their hobbies. There is really nothing fundamentally wrong at target practicing, but it should be safe. Children should be protected from dangerous lead fumes and particles, so maybe it is a good idea to make a switch towards copper bullets and lead-free primers.


Source: RMIT University

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