2008: The British military has backed
away from using lead-free bullets. Two years ago, the British decided that, for
the good of the environment, they would make bullets of tungsten, and other
metals, rather than lead. But further research revealed that tungsten was also
poisonous, and much more expensive as well.
thousand tons of lead a year go into the manufacture of bullets. Firing ranges
have been found to be literally contaminated with lead, and sometimes that lead
gets into the local water supply. Lead
is so commonly used for bullets mainly because it is heavy, and cheap. But it
turns out that all other heavy metals are poisonous as well, in addition to
being more expensive. Bullets made of lighter, and safer, materials are not as
effective (at hitting and injuring live targets).
continues on finding ways to make bullets less harmful to the environment,
without losing the ability to be accurate, and fatal to targets. There is some
urgency in this, as environmental officials have been shutting down military
firing ranges that continue to use the ecologically offensive munitions.