2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 May 2005 20:10:01 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Tungsten
Reclaiming Military Bases from Tungsten Takeover

By James Martin
Pollution Engineering
May 1, 2005

The Army has been using tungsten (periodic symbol: W) munitions since
the 1990s, when the federal government determined that lead-based
munitions posed environmental and human health issues ? even when not
propelled by gunpowder. However, tungsten small arms ammunition has
recently been suspended due to production problems and, possibly, rising
health and environmental issues. 

Recent concerns have been raised over potential health hazards and
increases in ground acidity at firing ranges that may have been caused
by tungsten. Since lead residue was already present, accelerated
corrosion of that lead could occur. This was of particular concern in
areas where groundwater could become contaminated by lead corrosion. 

Lead has been found to create learning disabilities in children exposed
to even small amounts, as well as other human health problems. Tungsten
was found in the drinking water of Fallon, Nev., site of numerous
Tungsten mines, and may be linked to high leukemia rates among the
region's children. Some testing has been done in the Massachusetts
Military Reservation (MMR) on Cape Cod and the Army Aberdeen Proving

Such findings have since made it necessary to develop tools and
techniques to identify the extent of tungsten and lead present in soil
and potential impact on groundwater. One such tool, an X-ray
fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, has already shown promising results in
soils testing to accurately and quickly determine the amount of lead and
tungsten under field conditions. 


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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