Blog Archives

Young Shooters at Risk

By Christine Willmsen and Lewis Kamb, seattletimes.com

vancouver-rangeThe youngsters knew their sport could be dangerous, even deadly.

But for the junior team at the Vancouver (Wash.) Rifle and Pistol Club, the peril that emerged from their sport didn’t come from a stray bullet.

It came from lead.

In 2010, blood tests revealed that 20 youths had been overexposed to the poisonous metal after shooting in the club’s dirty, poorly ventilated range.

“It was devastating,” said Marc Ueltschi, the junior team coach and a club member. “It scared the life out of me. No one knew anything about lead poisoning and what to fix.”

Vancouver Rifle is just one of several private gun clubs across the United States that have posed health hazards in a sport with growing numbers of youths and women.

While those most likely to be poisoned by lead in gun ranges are the workers themselves, The Seattle Times has found dozens of avid shooters overexposed in such states as Washington, Massachusetts and Alaska.

The most vulnerable are children learning to shoot and compete in clubs operated by volunteers who may have little knowledge of the risks of firing lead ammunition. Gunfire can put lead residue in the air, and on the skin and nearby surfaces. Read more

100 cows killed after contracting lead poisoning on gun club land

By Kirsty Macnicol of the Fiordland Advocate

cowlandAbout 100 Southland dairy cows have died or been destroyed after contracting lead poisoning from grazing on a gun club property.

The Ministry of Primary Industries confirmed this week it was alerted by a Southland veterinary practice on July 23 of dairy cattle dying from lead poisoning on a Southland farm. The cattle had been grazing fodder beet grown on leased land owned by the Nightcaps Clay Target Club at Wreys Bush.

“Approximately 20 affected cattle, from a mob of about 100 cows, died or were euthanised at that time, the farmer subsequently chose to humanely slaughter the remaining cattle. Some of the cattle were pregnant,” MPI said in a statement issued to the Fiordland Advocate.

Environment Southland worked with the MPI and the farmer to offer advice on various disposal methods for the cows.

“The decision by the owner to bury them in an offal hole was not Environment Southland’s preferred choice, however, at the time it did meet the rules under the Solid Waste Management Plan as a permitted activity. New rules that came into effect on1 September 2014 would have tightened the requirements in this situation. Staff provided best practice advice for the disposal,” the statement says. Read more