Guns involved in 24 lead poisoning cases

By Michael Dickison

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Twenty-four cases of lead poisoning from guns were reported to public health authorities last year amid concerns of exposure at an underground shooting range in a youth centre building.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service would not comment on the closure of the shooting range even though a government official said the service had been involved.

It said, however, that it was advising shooting range members around the region to get regular blood tests.

The Central Shooters Inc gun club - known as CSI - was based in the basement of Youthtown, in central Auckland, before being shut down in September.

The youth centre said poor ventilation systems had exposed parts of the building to lead particles from bullets.

Its swimming pool storage area was said to have been of particular concern, though after a clean-up and the range's closure, tests have shown all activity areas to be safe.

A spokeswoman for the public health service, Charlotte Reynolds, said shooting ranges became a focus about two years ago.

"We received an increase in notifications of lead poisoning in staff at certain shooting ranges in Auckland," Ms Reynolds said.

"As a result, all shooting ranges in the Auckland region were identified and visited to see how they operate and to give advice on ventilation and cleaning."

The service had issued advisories for ranges and shooters.

There had been 24 notifications of lead poisoning from shooting activities in 2012, and 62 since 2008, Ms Reynolds said.

They made up about 10 per cent of almost 600 lead poisoning cases since 2008.

Notifiable levels of lead in the blood are reported to public health. They indicate a need to check for the source of the lead, but not, necessarily, immediate health risks.

- NZ Herald

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