According to the Centers for Disease Control
, gun ranges have been recognized as potential sources of lead exposure since the 1970s.
For those who regularly shoot or work at gun ranges, lead exposure is a natural concern, and the exposure can vary, depending on the range, and whether it is indoors or outdoors.
That risk, however, can be greatly minimized with proper gun hygiene. Here are four tips to protect yourself from lead poisoning at gun ranges:
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If possible, shoot at an outdoor range. There is no better ventilation than the open air. If you shoot at an indoor range, the installed ventilation systems are typically state of the art and do a very good job of ventilating the air you breathe.
If the air doesn't smell clean, or there is a lot of gun smoke that does not abate within a few seconds, notify the management and consider coming back a different day. If you pick up your spent casings, consider picking them up using disposable gloves. They don't take up much room in your range bag and they can help keep excess residue off your skin.
Never eat, drink or keep food and beverages with you while shooting. Most ranges have very strict rules about this and won't allow food and beverages inside the range to begin with.
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This rule is there for your own safety. It minimizes the hand to mouth interaction and potential mucous membrane exposure. For the same reasons, refrain from applying makeup while in the range, as well.
When you are finished shooting, immediately wash your hand with soap and COLD water. Using cold water keeps your pores closed, therefore reducing absorption. If you shoot at an outdoor range, keep a container of D-lead wipes in your range bag.
They are designed to remove as much lead residue as possible from your skin, until you can properly wash your hands with soap and cold water.
As soon as you get home, change your clothes and shoes. This minimizes exposing your family, children and pets to possible lead residue themselves.
This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.
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