Health Effects of Recreational Shooting

We come to the most undesirable part of our blog today…. health risks.  There are so many different symptoms of lead poisoning  that it is actually quite difficult to diagnose.  It’s most general symptoms in adults include irritability/aggressiveness, insomnia, memory loss along with the inability to concentrate.  The last two symptoms are usually the first signs of poisoning.  However, as contamination continues so does the list of symptoms.  This would make sense as to why lead poisoning is often misdiagnosed.  Below is a more detailed list of symptoms:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Loss of sexual interest, impotence
  3. Insomnia
  4. Depression
  5. Headaches
  6. Neurological symptoms, such as hand twitching, poor coordination or even seizures
  7. Encephalopathy
  8. Elevated blood pressure
  9. Digestive difficulties and abdominal pains
  10. Weight loss
  11. Joint pains
  12. Anemia
  13. Menstrual irregularity
  14. Decreased fertility
  15. Kidney or liver damage
  16. Sore or bleeding gums
  17. Slowed intellectual development in children
  18. Behavioral problems in children

If a person suffering from lead poisoning were to have two or three symptoms listed above, it would most likely be diagnosed as a psychological disorder such as depression or, as Mr. Gregory mentions in his article, acute stress.  Because symptoms often go unnoticed many feel lead poisoning is not an issue.  Mr. Gregory puts the risks of lead poisoning in perspective with this helpful tidbit:

“Make no mistake, LEAD IS EXTREMELY TOXIC.  To get some idea of just how toxic, let’s take a familiar object, the .38 caliber 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter bullet, and divide it into 1000 parts.  Just one of those parts – 1/1000th of a bullet – dissolved and circulating in the blood stream, represents enough lead to constitute serious lead poisoning.”

We found Anthony M. Gregory’s article title “Risks of Lead Poisoning in Firearms Instructors and their Students” very helpful.  Though the article may be dated, his information is relevant and easy to understand.  He gives numerous examples of how lead contamination occurs (breathing lead dust at firing ranges, eating and/or smoking after shooting) and ultimately, the consequences, which not only affect the shooter but also his/her household.  His point throughout the entire article is simple: lead poisoning is very dangerous and should be taken very seriously, especially among avid shooters.

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