We’ve touched on airborne lead exposure from indoor gun ranges in the past. Get The Lead Out – Shooters at Indoor Ranges Need Respirators. OSHA is apparently now on the lookout for increased lead exposure for shooters and employees at indoor ranges (I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with our post) and recently fined a range in Illinois $111,000 for airborne lead exposure limits up to 12 times the safe level. Another company in Florida was sited for not properly protecting employees who clean the firing range.
“Illinois Gun Works has a responsibility to protect the health of its employees by ensuring that they operate in a manner which eliminates or minimizes lead hazards, including exposure. OSHA is committed to protecting employees' safety and health,” said the director of OSHA’s Chicago North Area, Diane Turek, regarding the Chicago area fine and reported by Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S).
Clearly OSHA is serious about this issue, and with good reason. Lead dust doesn't just pose a health risk to employees, instructors and customers. If you work around these materials and it is carried home on your clothing, gun cases, etc. it can cause lead poisoning to the folks at home, including children, who are especially susceptible.
If you are unsure about the levels of lead exposure at your local range, consider wearing a respirator mask with a P100 HEPA filter while you shoot. It won't look good, but saving your lungs will make you smile in the long run.