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Dangers at the Shooting Range.

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Kathy

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Perhaps this helps to explain why the Canadian Department of Defense removed the wild horses from the Suffield Military Base (north of Medicine Hat, AB).

The calves in the study below, developed lead toxicity after acute exposure to lead on the shooting range. Dogs given various lead doses on a more chronic (slower) regime, developed bilateral spongiform changes in the brainstem (see 2nd abstract by AN Hamir).

Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 1997;139(9):403-7
Lead poisoning of calves pastured in the target area of a military shooting range.

Braun U, Pusterla N, Ossent P.

Klinik fur Wiederkauer- und Pferdemedizin, Universitat Zurich.

Five calves, seven to nine months of age, were put on pasture in the target area of a shooting range in early May. Acute lead poisoning occurred in one of the calves after five days of grazing, the remainder became ill one to three days later. The most important symptoms consisted of neurological disturbances and included maniacal movements, opisthotonos, drooling, rolling of the eyes, convulsions, licking, champing of the jaws, bruxism, bellowing and breaking through fences All but one calf, which was euthanatized, died within several hours of the occurrence of the first symptoms. In one calf, the concentration of lead in samples of whole blood (940 micrograms/l), liver (38 mg/kg wet weight) and kidney (30 mg/kg wet weight) were markedly increased Post mortem examination of this calf revealed acute cardiac, renal and pulmonary haemorrhage, acute tubulonephrosis and acute severe pulmonary emphysema. The concentration of lead in the dry matter of a grass and a soil sample from the target zone of the shooting range were 29550 mg/kg and 3900 mg/kg, respectively. Further investigation revealed that this area had been used as a military shooting range for many years, and in the previous year, approximately 20000 bullets with lead contents of either 3.05 g or 8.55 g had been fired. The results of this study indicate that the target area of shooting ranges must not be used for pasture or for food production for animals or humans.
PMID: 9299921

J Comp Pathol. 1984 Apr;94(2):215-31. Related Articles, Links

Neuropathological lesions in experimental lead toxicosis of dogs.

Hamir AN, Sullivan ND, Handson PD.

Light microscopical examinations were carried out on the central and peripheral nervous systems of 9 dogs maintained on a high-fat-low-calcium diet and dosed orally with a mixture of lead chloride, lead bromide and lead sulphate. Microscopic lesions were present in 7 (78 per cent) of the lead-treated dogs. Cerebrocortical lesions comprising spongiosis, vascular hypertrophy and gliosis predominated. These lesions were bilateral, had a predilection for gyri and were located mainly in the parietal and frontal cortex. There were bilaterally symmetrical spongiform changes in the brain stem. The cerebellum had spongiform changes in the roof nuclei and in the lingula there was spongiosis of the Purkinje cell layer and vacuolation of Purkinje cells. Axonal degeneration was evident in a sciatic nerve of one dog. In a second experiment, designed to study the early ultrastructural changes in the brains of dogs with lead intoxication, 2 groups of dogs, one on a commercial balanced diet and the other fed a high-fat-low-calcium diet, were given similar amounts of lead. Cytoplasmic accumulation of lipid was found in the cerebrovascular pericytes of all dogs treated with lead but vascular changes were otherwise not obvious. Quantitative evaluation of numbers of blood vessels by light microscopy revealed an apparent increase in all dogs receiving lead. This increase in vascularity was greatest in the dogs fed the high-fat-low-calcium diet.

PMID: 6736309

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2001 Aug;41(2):208-14.

Lead toxicosis and trace element levels in wild birds and mammals at a firearms training facility.

Lewis LA, Poppenga RJ, Davidson WR, Fischer JR, Morgan KA.

Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA. [email protected]

In May 1999, lead poisoning was diagnosed in a yellow-rumped warbler (Dendroica coronata) and a gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) found at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Glynn County, GA, based on detection of 6.2 and 90.0 ppm wet weight (WW) lead in the liver of the warbler and squirrel, respectively. From October 21--26, 1999, 72 wild animals (37 mammals and 35 birds), comprised of 22 different species, were collected from a 24-ha area surrounding the FLETC outdoor firearms shooting range complex to evaluate exposure to lead and other trace elements. Ten animals were used as controls (five mammals and five birds) and were collected from areas 1.5--3 km outside the shooting range area. Kidney and liver tissues were analyzed for lead, zinc, and other trace elements. Bird gizzards and white-tailed deer abomasums were examined grossly and radiographically to detect metallic objects. Twenty-four (33.3%) animals (11 species) had kidney or liver tissue lead levels > 1.00 ppm, and 12 of these (6 species) had levels > 2.00 ppm. Carcasses of one brown-thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) and two white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) contained lead fragments. Elevated liver tissue levels of zinc (111.0 ppm) were detected in one brown thrasher that also had elevated kidney and liver tissue lead levels. In February 2000, seven yellow-rumped warblers and one solitary vireo (Vireo solitarius) found dead near the FLETC firearms shooting range also were diagnosed with lead poisoning, with liver and kidney tissue lead levels from 1.77--11.6 and 4.55--17.8 ppm WW, respectively. This frequency of elevated tissue lead levels among the animals examined, in combination with confirmed lead toxicosis in both avian and mammalian species at FLETC, indicates significant lead exposure of local wild bird and mammal communities via bullets and fragments in and on the soil surface of the four outdoor ranges. Most FLETC firearms training is being shifted to new baffled ranges (four walls with semiopen top) with bullet recovery capabilities to preclude future deposition of lead in the environment; existing outdoor ranges will be remediated to remove existing lead.

PMID: 11462145

University of Saskatchewan study on bio-accumulation of 210 Polonium (half-life 138.38 days) and 210 Lead (half-life 22.6 years), in the food chain.

Health Phys. 1994 Jun;66(6):666-77. Related Articles, Links

Transfer of 210Po and 210Pb through the lichen-caribou-wolf food chain of northern Canada.

Thomas PA, Sheard JW, Swanson S.

Biology Department, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

Natural background activity and food chain transfer of the uranium decay products, 210Po and 210Pb, were examined in the lichen-caribou-wolf food chain at two locations in the Northwest Territories of Canada. 210Po and 210Pb activities in lichens differed with species and location. Both 210Po and 210Pb were markedly higher in caribou bone than in wolf bone. 210Po activities in liver, kidney, and muscle were similar in both species. Caribou fetuses had lower activities of 210Po but higher activities of 210Pb than maternal muscle and placenta, suggesting greater placental transport of 210Pb than 210Po. Concentration ratios (CR = Bq kg-1 in consumer/Bq kg-1 in its food source) and ff values (ff in d kg-1 = Bq kg-1 in muscle/Bq d-1 ingested) showed that wolves retain more 210Po and less 210Pb from their diet than do caribou. 210Po CRs averaged 0.38 for caribou/lichens, 0.26 for caribou/rumen contents, and 0.40 for wolves/caribou. 210Pb CRs averaged 0.36 for caribou/lichens, 0.57 for caribou/rumen contents, and 0.13 for wolves/caribou.

PMID: 7910157
 

Kathy

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I found this aerial photographer's account of his work experiences taking pictures of HE (high energy TNT) explosions at the Suffield base near Medicine Hat, Alberta. Here are a few quotes from his site:

http://www.1370th.com/ACGS/ACGS/dialpack.html

The decision to allow extra days for practice proved to be a good one. Two of the seven days allocated were lost due to weather. On the other five practice days a total of 20.1 hours of flying time was logged. For my part I welcomed the two down days. On one I got a tour of much of the huge DRES facility. The most interesting thing I remember seeing was a large herd of wild horses that had lived on the facility for as long as anyone can remember. The strange thing about them was that some you wouldn't recognize as horses. Many had extraordinary long necks, small heads and short bodies. Others had short, stubby legs way out of proportion to their body size. And there were many other variants. Among the local employees of DRES, some thought these were normal variations to be expected from many generations of in-breeding. Others thought they were the results of gene alterations from years of chemical and biological testing done at DRES since it was established in 1941 by Canada and Britain specifically to host chemical warfare trials. Possibly both causes contributed to these abnormalities.


Among the targets being tested for Weapon Effects were a pen of sheep well within the lethal range and Canadian troops well beyond that range!

The first HE event conducted under this program was a 5-Ton shot in Canada in 1959. Canada was chosen because large tracts of land were available and anti-nuclear sentiment was relatively low.

This event in 1959 was prior to the 1963 treating banning above-ground nuclear testing. Although this person states that the 1959 explosion was only HE (high energy TNT), an older local rancher informed me that there was a nuclear test at DRES - Suffield, AB in 1959. He stated they followed the radio-active fallout all the way to Kindersley, Sask.

If you want to read all about this pilot's experience, go to the link above. It demonstrates how eager and willing our Canadian military was (and still is) to help test the weapons being developed by the USA.
 

Mike

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Some of those horses made their way down here Kathy. I saw one at a "Field Trial" just a few weeks ago. Big ole' long ears, big, huge feet, and can't run.

The owners tried to pass them off as mules but I know better. :wink:
 

Tommy

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Kathy...The calves in the study below, developed lead toxicity after acute exposure to lead on the shooting range.


There have been a few coyotes around me that have gotten lead poisoning lately.

13 so far just within a mile of me.
 

Mike

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Tommy said:
Kathy...The calves in the study below, developed lead toxicity after acute exposure to lead on the shooting range.


There have been a few coyotes around me that have gotten lead poisoning lately.

13 so far just within a mile of me.

:lol: :lol: A "Cute" exposure?

Yea but Tommy, that ain't fair. You used "hot" lead.
 

Kathy

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It almost looks like I have 'foot in mouth disease'. My, my, in hind sight, I can certainly see how acute lead toxicity on a shooting range can be deciphered in a few different ways.

The advantage of calving later than everyone else, is the hungry coyotes are at the neighbors.

We're not expecting calves for another month; but a few neighbors have started. We had our first real snow, last week (right on schedule with the neighbors start of calving). There was quite a bit; the days are warm though. I hope we get run-off for our dugouts, but it will have to blow the snow into drifts for that.

We haven't had a major blizzard yet this winter.

The big yearling sales are on this week in Brooks, Veteran and Cereal (Alberta). We'll let you know later on, what the prices are like, if you're interested.
 

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