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Re: E-M:/ Live fire training comments period extended

Enviro-Mich message from Gary Stock <gstock@net-link.net>

"Alexander J. Sagady" wrote:

I realize that 90% of your reply is in agreement that the environmental
threat, or at least its extent, is not the greatest threat.  Thus:

> Poorly controlled lead emissions from police and private
> firearms shooting ranges in populated areas will be far
> more of a hazard to public health and environment...
> There will be a vanishingly small amount of airborne deposition...
> The elemental lead waste from bullets entering waters of the
> Great Lakes will not likely be a problem as ambient pH of
> Great Lakes waters will not cause appreciable leaching of lead.   
> The practice/training firing by the Coast Guard, in my view, is
> an environmental/resource issue for Great Lakes recreation,
> potentially for wildlife management and for safety.  

And that the greatest threat may be political or constitutional:

> I view it also as a political issue as it reflects a
> militarization of the US Canada border waters that is taking
> place because the president of the US and the prime minister in
> Canada have agreed to trash a longstanding international treaty
> by so-called "reinterpretation"...all of this completely unnecessary. 
> I also object to such militarization for the same reason as many
> find the militarization of local police departments and any use
> of the military for domestic law enforcement objectionable.

But here's another example of how easily the environmental community
could stumble and lose credibility on the legitimate lead emissions issue:

> Firearms use does release fine lead particles...

Of course.  As I said in my first sentence:

> >>That seems true to a meaningful extent. 

Having agreed with the obvious, I set off on my real topic:

> >>Let's all be cautious about how
> >>it's explained -- because any misleading data will undermine many strong
> >>arguments against this practice. 

Sneezing after walking through an old house releases fine lead particles.

But that's a terrible argument for public policies against sneezing!

Such narrow statements made in isolation -- which may be accurate but
are grossly incomplete -- are the very misleading statements that should
concern us.  Sloppy thought and language makes it _so_ easy for some
folks to make fun of the environmental community, and make it _so_
difficult for other folks to take environmental arguments seriously.

Thus, to the central point of my original e-mail:

> >>An excellent example of misleading:
> >> >>One bullet weighing 2.6 grams fully dissolved in 51,000 gallons
> >> >>of water results in a lead concentration of 15 parts per billion,
> >> >>the legal limit for drinking water."

The final discussion in the CCI paper cited begins:


   The data collected show that neither the PEL nor the regulatory
   action level for lead are exceeded when using copper jacketed 
   ammunition. Exposure levels increase as the caliber increases.
   Exposure would be expected to increase when using non-copper 
   jacketed ammunition as well. Since copper jacketing is very
   common today, it is likely that lead exposures will usually 
   be below the regulatory levels even without ventilation.

The lead exposure samples collected in that CCI paper were measured in
many cases in _fractions_ of a microgram -- less than a millionth of a
gram -- 10^-6 grams or less.  Even after multiple firings in the maximum
exposure areas, samples were in thousands of micrograms, still only a
thousandth of a gram.

The .45 slugs they're firing on those ranges would weigh about 15 grams.

What if the Coast Guard fires one hundred thousand (100,000) such rounds?

Which will make our community sound more honest and informed?

   They're releasing 215 pounds of lead into the environment!

   They're releasing several ounces of organically available lead.

In other words, after the exercise, hundreds of pounds may have been
thrown around the firing range.  Well less than one pound will be
available biologically.

The focus, if on environmental issues, must be on the latter. 


Gary Stock                                        gstock@unblinking.com
UnBlinking                                   http://www.unblinking.com/
Googlewhack                                 http://www.googlewhack.com/

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