Occupational Exposure to Atmospheric Emissions Produced During Live Gun Firing

  •  Bernadette Quémerais    


A pilot study was performed in Quebec in 2006 and 2007 to estimate occupational exposure of soldiers during live gun firing. For this project three different weapons were tested; the C3 105 mm howitzer, the M777 155 mm howitzer, and the Carl Gustav 84 mm anti-tank. Only area samples were collected and, for safety reasons, samples were collected from 8 to 22 m away from the weapons approximately 90 cm above ground. Results showed that concentrations of total particulates were 1.25 mg/m3, 4.02 mg/m3 and 32.1 mg/m3 for the 105 mm howitzer, the 155 mm howitzer, and the Carl Gustav anti-tank respectively. In addition, estimation on the size distribution determined that most particles were smaller than 4 µm. Hydrogen cyanide was detected from the 105 mm howitzer and the Carl Gustav anti-tank, and formaldehyde was detected from the 155 mm howitzer and the Carl Gustav anti-tank. Although observed concentrations were low for both compounds, it is believed that concentrations around the guns are higher than what was measured during this study. In addition, ambient temperature during trials seemed to have an influence of the dispersion of gases. Although concentrations observed were low, further investigations are needed to better determine soldiers’ exposure during live gun firing, and the influence of environmental conditions on this exposure.

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