Mercury poisoning related to ammunition?


#1

I am not sure if that question would be appropriated for this forum, but the fact is that among cartridge collector are people with several expertises related to ammunition. Besides the question itself is related with the ammunition development. So, I would like to post a question about mercury poisoning related to shooting activity inside interior pour ventilates shooting ranges.
I recently found out that I am contaminated with mercury. The levels found in my blood have reached dangerous concentrations and I suspect that this mercury poisoning is related with shooting activity. I work as a shooting instructor and I am exposure to an average of 1000 pistol shoots per day. This shooting activity takes place in an interior shooting range that is not perfectly ventilated. I have been working there for the last five years.
I have already made some experiments in other to identify the origin of the contamination (water supply, exposure to pollution near the area were I live, etc.), but I never found any possible relation. Nevertheless, I found that the concentration of mercury in my blood decreases after several days without shooting.
I know that the use of mercury fulminate in primers ceased a long time ago, but I wonder if some brands still use that.
I wonder if there is modern ammunition (pistol and revolver) that is still made with mercury components?


#2

As far as I’m aware, they ceased using any mercury in primers a long time ago, partly because it made the primer cups and casings brittle and non-reloadable. Lead poisoning can sometimes be traced to breathing in large amounts of gaseous firing residue, but I think you’re more likely to find the cause of your high mercury levels somewhere other than shooting. For example, many fish species concentrate mercury in their flesh, and if you eat those fish, then you end up concentrating it in you. If you live down-wind of a smokestack or industry that expels mercury, you’re also likely to breathe it in and concentrate it. If I remember right, the Iberian peninsula is also one of the spots that’s HIGHEST in natural mercury concentration; they mine it at Almaden, Spain, where you can apparently see the ore dripping drops of liquid mercury. There are only a few routes for it into your body (eating, breathing, drinking, or possibly skin absorption, if you handle it enough), so I’d see the possibilities there first. Do you know if your neighbours have similar high levels? If so, then it would be something that you all share, like the local food or water.


#3

Fish is/was a real source of mercuric “poisening”… You may look up in the Internet (google) for Minimata, or look directly at this link:
www.american.edu/TED/MINAMATA.HTM

I do not suggest, that your high levels ARE from fish, but it could be a main source for it.
If on your shooting range a lot of people use up older surplus ammo they still contained a lot of mercuric in the primers (specially older US and russian military ammo). On german military and Police shooting ranges it is now forbidden for everybody to fire with ammo, which contains mercuric primers.
But its not on open public ranges…stupid, but still practiced…

Greetings to Portugal
Forensic