How Lead Exposures Occur

According to NIOSH documents, lead exposure occurs mainly through inhalation of lead dust, skin contact with lead from bullets, or ingestion (e.g., eating or drinking with contaminated hands) [NIOSH 2009]. Workers and shooters involved in shooting, cleaning operations, collecting casings, and handling spent bullets may also be exposed to lead.

Indoor Versus Outdoor Ranges

The NIOSH documents estimate that 9,000 non-military outdoor ranges exist in the United States, with millions of pounds of lead from bullets shot annually. Because outdoor ranges are typically built in an open area, lead and noise are more widely dispersed. Outdoor ranges need less cleaning and maintenance than indoor ranges.

NIOSH Recommendations

Health Effects: Common health effects of lead poisoning in adults include reproductive effects, nausea, diarrhea,vomiting, poor appetite, weight loss, anemia, fatigue, hyperactivity, headaches, stomach pain, and kidney problems. If you suspect you have had high lead exposure, even if you show no symptoms, get your blood lead levels tested.

Practice good hygiene: Wash hands and face with soap and water or clean them with lead decontamination wipes after shooting, handling spent cartridge cases, or cleaning weapons, especially before eating, drinking, or smoking. Wipes for cleaning skin without water are commercially available and should be used if access to soap and water is limited [NIOSH 2009]. Change clothes before leaving the range and wash clothes separately from other family clothing.


WMFGA's Mission

The WMFGA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, located in Missoula, Montana. We are a membership-based organization that owns and operates the Deer Creek Shooting Center (DCSC).  The mission of the WMFGA is to provide safe and accessible recreational shooting to its members, foster firearm safety, encourage youth shooting opportunities, support and promote wildlife management for sportsmen, and protect Montanans' right to keep and bear arms. 

Ways to Support the WMFGA

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Mailing Address

Western MT Fish & Game Association (WMFGA)
P.O. Box 4294
Missoula, MT 59806