Authors: Mathee A, De Jager P, Naidoo S, Naicker N

Source: Environ Res. 2017 Feb;153:93-98. Doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.11.021. Epub 2016 Dec 2.


Introduction: Lead exposure in shooting ranges has been under scrutiny for decades, but no information in this regard is available in respect of African settings, and in South Africa specifically. The aim of this study was to determine the blood lead levels in the users of randomly selected private shooting ranges in South Africa’s Gauteng province.

Methods: An analytical cross sectional study was conducted, with participants recruited from four randomly selected shooting ranges and three archery ranges as a comparator group.

ResultsA total of 118 (87 shooters and 31 archers) were included in the analysis. Shooters had significantly higher blood lead levels (BLL) compared to archers with 36/85 (42.4%) of shooters versus 2/34 (5.9%) of archers found to have a BLL ≥10μg/dl (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Shooting ranges may constitute an import site of elevated exposure to lead. Improved ventilation, low levels of awareness of lead hazards, poor housekeeping, and inadequate personal hygiene facilities and practices at South African shooting ranges need urgent attention.

Keywords: Blood lead; Firearms; Lead exposure; Shooting range; South Africa