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Lead Exposure in the Special Operations Shooter How to Prevent Cognitive Decline and Permanent Disability

Spring 2018

Brandon JW, Solarczyk JK, Durrani TS. 18(1). 81 - 87. (Journal Article)


Lead toxicity is an important environmental disease and its effects on the human body can be devastating. Unique exposures to Special Operations Forces personnel may include use of firing ranges, use of automotive fuels, production of ammunition, and bodily retention of bullets. Toxicity may degrade physical and psychological fitness, and cause long-term negative health outcomes. Specific effects on fine motor movements, reaction times, and global function could negatively affect shooting skills and decision-making. Biologic monitoring and chelation treatment are poor solutions for protecting this population. Through primary prevention, Special Operations Forces personnel can be protected, in any environment, from the devastating effects of lead exposure. This article offers tools to physicians, environmental service officers, and Special Operations Medics for primary prevention of lead poisoning in the conventional and the austere or forward deployed environments.

Keywords: lead toxicity; lead poisioning; environmental health; primary prevention

PMID: 29533439

DOI: 10.55460/V3HG-7N31

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