The military operates hundreds of military ranges around the world run by both uniformed and civilian personnel where troops are trained in the use of handguns, shotguns, rifles and machine guns.
The ranges operate under Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards developed in 1978 which predate a great volume of research into the hazards of occupational lead exposure, according to the report.
The review, which was requested by the Defense Department, said that it is not possible to determine the specific risks faced by military range workers because there is little blood lead level data available for the population.
But it warned that data on airborne concentrations of lead at DoD firing ranges found that the current OSHA permissible exposure limit is exceeded for some jobs “by several orders of magnitude,” an amount that could lead to increased blood lead levels in workers.
The report recommends that that the Defense Department analyze blood levels from a representative sample of range workers from all services to get a better understanding of the health risks involved.