B5 Systems

“Metal Fever” by Jim Schatz

A horrible scourge is stealing the health from many of my friends, and taking the lives of still others. Heavy metal poisoning is an affliction we are just beginning to comprehend. It almost sounds like some quaint illness from the 19th century but its effects are manifesting themselves in members of the profession of arms. So far, the SOF community has been at the forefront of identifying it but as this briefing by Jim Schatz shows, so many more have been exposed to heavy metals.

Jim Schatz left us with a great deal of information on small arms, but this briefing on the effects of heavy metal poisoning, presented to the NDIA Joint Armaments Forum in 2014, is one we should all review. Just take a look at the symptoms. They are easy to rationalize as another illness, or “just getting old”. As you’ll learn in this briefing, exposure is much simpler than spending lots of time in a shoothouse. I’ll go one step further than this briefing and remind those who’ve deployed that exposure to industrial waste is more likely in locales that lack effective means of disposal.

Please, take a few minutes to go over this briefing. Many of our breathren are suffering from the effects of heavy metal poisoning. One of them could be you.

To download your copy, click here.

Thanks to the SOF Health Initiatives Program for sharing this briefing with us.

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7 Responses to ““Metal Fever” by Jim Schatz”

  1. Shoperator says:

    Jim sent this out years ago and I have used the list of chemicals at physicals and screenings at work since. It is always a big surprise to the lab tech that anything other than lead is being requested.
    You Active Duty folks need to be pushing for complete screenings prior to transition away from the military. It only takes an extra 5 or 6 vials of blood to know whats circulating.

  2. Hubb says:

    Very informative presentation. Some thoughts:

    I totally agree that suppressors can cause ingestion; my eyes are very sensitive to back pressure and it’s easy to breathe that stuff in.

    All of us that have or are ammunition reloaders should think about wearing nitrile/latex gloves when reloading or handling spent shells. Also, handling lead shot in those cotton bags probably is an easy way to come in contact with lead.

    I’m guilty of loading mags or cleaning guns on the kitchen table or the coffee table in the living room.

    I didn’t see anything about depleted uranium shells. When I was in the military we were always told to stay away from destroyed enemy vehicles and armor.

  3. Gerard says:

    I always wear nitirle gloves and a mask while cleaning firearms, I dont clean them in the house. I Never shoot at indoor ranges reguardless of how ventelated Im told they are.

  4. Jeremy says:

    The link on the page is broken for the SOF Health Initiative. Try this one

  5. Jimbo says:

    SSD, thanks for the brief. I’m guilty of saying “I’m just getting old”. However, I’m coming up on the end of my career. 10 years as an Infantryman and 14 in SF. I was an 18B before Z. I will ask for the tests when I get home because for the last few years I see a lot of these symptoms in myself. I ache all the time, constant headaches, ringing in my ears etc…. I always attribute it to 24 years of jumping and shooting. I don’t believe my physicals search for all these metals.

  6. Ex Coelis says:

    Thank you for this entirely informative post, SSD!!

  7. miclo18d says:

    When I went thru a certain course there at Bragg in 2007, all the medics going thru the course gave blood once a week to test for lead levels. The instructors were only allowed on the training sites for the training, but had to stay away during cleanup where the students wore respirators. They told us it wasn’t even from the ammo as much as the pyrotechnics. I never got results. I’ve been retired almost 10 years, it’s probably time for me to get checked out too!