Saturday, February 25, 2017

National Guard halts events in lead-contaminated armories (AP)

This story appeared in December 2016; does anyone know how many indoor firing ranges are at Florida National Guard armories and facilities? Was the Mark Lance Armory ever used for indoor firing range? (I've never been inside).

National Guard halts events in lead-contaminated armories
The National Guard has stopped all public events at toxic armories across the country in a step to prevent lead exposure

December 13, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The National Guard has stopped all public events at toxic armories across the country in a step to prevent lead exposure.

The order comes a week after an investigation by The Oregonian found that lead from indoor firing ranges had contaminated hundreds of buildings, including nine in Oregon, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (

The order, issued Dec. 6, was received by the Oregon Guard on Friday, an Oregon Guard spokesman told the newspaper. Nine Oregon armories were immediately closed to community events.

The order sets imminent deadlines, pledges federal money for cleanup and launches an effort to collect details about contaminated buildings nationwide.

Previous cleanup efforts were sidetracked partly because the Guard required states to assume most of the cost.

The national price tag of the initiative isn't clear, but cleaning contaminated armories could cost federal taxpayers tens of millions. Oregon National Guard officials estimate that taking out lead from the state's armories and repurposing firing ranges will cost $21.6 million.

Oregon spent $2 million on one armory cleaning alone. Ohio spent $3 million decontaminating armories last year.

The order comes almost 20 years after the Guard was warned that its indoor firing ranges were unnecessarily exposing soldiers and others to dangerous lead dust.

It is imperative for states to start cleaning their armories, Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy, director of the Army National Guard, wrote in the Dec. 6 order.

The order sets deadlines and provides a way for federal Guard officials to have added oversight of toxic armories. But it establishes no firm date for all armories to be cleaned.

National Guard officials did not respond to calls and emails from the newspaper for comment.


Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Anonymous said...

The only armory I'm aware with a functioning indoor range is the 207 armory. Thar was shut down soon after it opened due to inadequate ventilation, and is now used for storage. Virtually every armory has bee rebuild this century, and any, unused, ranges, were eliminated.

Ed Slavin said...

Thank you. Check out the Portland Oregonian series -- it may be a bigger problem in colder climates. But as with mercury contamination in Oak Ridge, it may be a legacy of pollution inside these indoor spaces. When indoor shooting ranges were converted in Florida, were environmental health experts consulted? Was there a cleanup of toxic lead? Or is it still there? How about the three armories in St. Augustine and the dozens throughout Florida? I've asked the FNG for data.

Anonymous said...

I know the 207 armory's range was in use for a very short time. I am in no way qualified to talk about any residual contamination. The are no ranges on the Bay Front, and I don't believe the Mark Lance Armory ever had one, but that is not a definitive answer,

Ed Slavin said...

Thank you. Was there a problem with contamination? It turns out the Seattle Times did a story in 2014 about indoor shooting range lead contamination. Now, I'm wondering about FBI, Secret Service and other federal agencies, and the overall standard of care. At age 13, I toured the FBI HQ with my mom; wondering about all those FBI agents and whether they had lead contamination issues, too. Some of the readings for lead in the Portland Oregonian series are off the charts. Lead is a neurotoxin and can cause life-destroying sequelae .