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Study from Ventus Illustrates Evidence and Risk of Toxic Respiratory Exposure from Firearm Combustion and Weapons Training

An independent analysis of filters recovered from Ventus’ TR2 Tactical Respirator, worn during various weapons training exercises, revealed the presence of 32 different heavy metals and compounds after just a single day of use

Toronto, Ontario, Nov. 02, 2023 — Ventus Respiratory Technologies, a company pioneering a new standard of respiratory protection for law enforcement, the armed forces, and first responders, has conducted a comprehensive study to illustrate the filtration efficacy of its TR2 Tactical Respirator, and to provide quantitative evidence of airborne hazards in weapons training environments.

“The TR2  is unique in the market, being the only CE-certified respirator that is purpose-built for military and law enforcement personnel, to protect them from toxic exposure,” said Arjun Grewal, CEO of Ventus, who previously spent 20 years with the Canadian Armed Forces. “Chronic exposure to particulates such as those produced by combustion has been shown to pose a significant health risk.”

“Particulate” refers to a type of air pollution consisting of a complex mixture of tiny solid particles and liquid droplets in the air. The TR2 has demonstrated its ability to filter out ?99% of solid airborne particulates down to 0.06?m and 97% of oil-based particles down to 0.3?m.

About The Study:

The study consisted of weapons training exercises with participants wearing Ventus’ TR2. These took place in multiple live training scenarios often experienced by Special Forces and SWAT teams. This included indoor firing ranges, outdoor firing ranges, and close-quarter battle (CQB) shoot houses.

Following this, the respirator filters were removed and analyzed by an independent lab to learn the level and volume of airborne contamination present. “The TR2 protects the wearer’s airway and respiratory system, our filter is a critical layer of protection between the toxic air present in these environments and the body. The findings were surprising.” 


An average of 32 different compounds including heavy metals and known carcinogens were identified in all TR2 filters including aluminum, antimony, bismuth, copper, iron, lead, potassium, sodium, strontium, and uranium, with levels consistently exceeding daily exposure thresholds for each chemical, as established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Access the full report here

“These concentrations of heavy metals and carcinogenic compounds are very concerning, particularly considering that the filters examined were worn for a single day only, whereas real-world users typically participate in similar activities 10-15 times per month,” added Grewal. “Respiratory protection has lagged, or simply been non-existent, compared to eye and ear protection requirements for these activities for far too long. The rate of respiratory illness in military personnel is roughly three times greater than for the average population. This study is critical to educate users and leadership of the clear and present risks.”

Short-term exposure to these and other particulate matter can cause airway restriction, reduced oxygenation, slower cognition, diminished performance, and acute respiratory illness. Longer-term exposure to high particulate loads can lead to chronic illness and disability.

Ventus is backed by ONE9 and Kensington Capital. ONE9 is Canada’s first and only venture capital fund and accelerator focused purely on national security and critical infrastructure technologies.

7 Responses to “Study from Ventus Illustrates Evidence and Risk of Toxic Respiratory Exposure from Firearm Combustion and Weapons Training”

  1. .308 says:

    Imagine what aircraft and rotorcraft maintenance crews are exposed to.

    • Tom Short says:

      That’s why we launched the Gentex Low Profile Particulate Respirator (LPPR) for air crews. LPPR is a derivative of the Gentex Special Operations Tactical Respirator (SOTR) launched in 2017.

    • Arj Grewal says:

      Great point .308. The frequency of respiratory illness among Airforce pers is documented as being higher than in any other of the DoD services. Ventus has done extensive studies in this area and is working with allied Airforces to deliver effective, lightweight, certified protection for Airforce personnel.

  2. Patrick Sweeney says:

    Harumph. OK, where’s the baseline? Do the same for people walking around an urban center, a day on the farm, an assembly line, you get the idea.

    We all know that there are harmful things in the air at ranges. How harmful, and how much more harmful than simple daily life in a civilized setting?

    • D Liddle says:

      Supposedly, we were all supposed to have died of climate change at least 7 years ago. Like you I’m not gonna let it worry me too much either.

  3. Ray Forest says:

    I know what I see in the air is not normal nor are most people breathing it at the levels I am. It blocks light at times. It’s always been in the back of my head. I shoot a lot at work. I’ve only known a few R37 guys that had to take time off due to higher levels though.

    • Michael Smith says:

      I think there are a few ways to think about particulate filtration, and how/when it can/should be used.

      Firstly, a mask such as this would certainly have gone a long way in preventing or substantially mitigating the burn pit illnesses addressed by the PACT Act.

      Second, think about all the PPE that soldiers/first responders are obligated to wear on the range – eyes, ears, helmet, plates. Other than ears, we know that the actual risks of injury to these other body parts is statistically low. We also know, however, that there is NO safe amount of lead inhalation. It thus begs the question as to why this open threat vector isn’t currently mitigated.

      I think about it like brushing your teeth. Miss a night, your teeth won’t fall out. Never do it, you’ll certainly be needing serious dental work down the road.

      Therefore why not, at a minimum, mandate particulate filtration at least in the training environment, particularly indoor ones?!