LEOs who are breastfeeding should avoid unprotected exposure to toxic levels of heavy metals and other chemicals.
Firearms training is known to create exposure to toxic chemicals, including lead and other heavy metals. There is a correlation between lead levels in maternal blood and breast milk. Even low levels of lead are toxic to infants. It might be best to avoid unprotected firearms training and qualification while breastfeeding. Wearing an appropriate respirator and careful hand hygiene should allow most breastfeeding officers to safely train with firearms. Officers who are breastfeeding should avoid work assignments at a firing range.
LEOs who choose to do live-fire qualification may take the following steps to minimize the risk of secondary contamination of their child:
- Use lead-free “non-toxic” ammunition, with lead-free primers (although it could expose the officer to other heavy metals, which may be potentially toxic, e.g., copper)
- Train at an outdoor rather than an indoor firing range
- No eating, drinking, or smoking while at the firing range
- Clean firearms before leaving the firing range
- Carefully wash hands and face before leaving the firing range (and after cleaning firearms), especially before eating, drinking, or smoking
- Wear an air-purifying respirator
- After firearms training, LEOs should change and shower before leaving the range
- LEOs should change footwear after range activities, prior to leaving the range
- Clothing worn at range should be washed at the range or separated from the family wash