As you’d expect, armed law enforcement officers are required to keep their sharp-shooting skills, well, sharp. This means they must spend time at firing ranges for routine training sessions.

But while firearms training is meant to keep both the police and the public safe, it actually poses a hazard to the officers themselves.

For over a year, The Seattle Times has been investigating how people shooting at dirty gun ranges across the U.S. have suffered from lead poisoning. Sometimes, they’ve lost feeling in their hands and feet. Other times, they’ve been too tired to get out of bed.

Police are especially at risk because they have to go to gun ranges to keep their jobs. We hear from a corrections officer who got sick, and we talk to the family of an officer who died after a weeklong training session. We also look at steps firing ranges can take to prevent lead exposure.

DIG DEEPER

Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.