Fumes from military small arms lead to decline in lung function

Exposure to fumes released during the firing of military small arms can lead to a decline in lung function, according to a new study.

The research, which will be presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Barcelona today (9 September 2013), suggests that members of the armed forces who are regularly firing small arms could be putting their lung health at risk.

Over the last 5 years, the in Norway have started to report ill health after live firing training. This new study aimed to characterise the health effects from the use of these weapons and investigate which components in the were causing the .

Researchers from Oslo University Hospital and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment examined 55 healthy, non-smoking men from the Norwegian Armed Forces. They tested the exposure to fumes from three different types of , one leaded and two lead-free, used in an assault rifle.

Each participant had a spirometry test, which measures , before the shooting, immediately after and 24 hours after. A tent was used during the shooting to control other exposures.

The findings revealed that there were no significant differences in the types of ammunition used, but all groups experienced a decline in lung function shortly after shooting and at 24 hours after exposure, compared with the pre-test levels. The results showed that lung function, measured by (FEV1), declined by a mean average of 5% across all groups at 1-2 hours after shooting and by 7% at 24 hours after shooting.

Anne-Katrine Borander, lead author of the study from the Oslo University Hospital, said: "The findings from our small sample show that fumes from military arms are causing a decline in lung function shortly after firing practice."

"These lung function changes are comparable to the effects caused by other occupational risk factors, such as organic dusts in farming and cotton workers. Although we noticed this decline for all types of ammunition, further research can now be undertaken to look at specific exposure components to help design better ammunition, and to continue implementation of other measures for avoiding these effects."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

2 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

3 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions without risking punishment, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large ...

Infertility, surrogacy in India

3 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

Tooth loss linked to slowing mind and body

16 hours ago

The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, finds new UCL research.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Sep 09, 2013
"Exposure to fumes released during the firing of military small arms can lead to a decline in lung function, according to a new study."

This simple sentenced illustrates how far we have come. When I was growing up in the Los Angeles basin, many years ago, the air was so foul that we couldn't ride our bikes or, for that matter, do anything that required heavy breathing. We were cautioned to stay inside .... to avoid the air outside our homes. I can remember riding my paper route and having to walk, wheezing, up the slopes of the Crescenta Valley.... eyes weeping, lungs struggling. I'm quite sure that my lungs were severely damaged during that upbringing. Los Angeles, long ago, probably compares with current day major cities in China and India. So... not all of us are free from industrial pollution even yet.
hrfJC
not rated yet Sep 10, 2013
Lung damage from bullet debris, lead and fumes? is another good reason to ban gun ownership or even target practice. Time to delete outdated A2.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.