“Loaded with Lead,” an ongoing, yearlong investigation into lead hazards at shooting ranges nationwide, is based on tens of thousands of pages of public records and scores of interviews. Among the interviews were those with range employees and owners, public-health and workplace-safety officials, regulators, shooters, construction workers, family members, and medical and firearms experts.

Reporters gathered several thousand enforcement records from Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries and from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to build custom inspection databases. After analysis, these data sets provided key findings. The national database of 201 commercial shooting ranges that had been inspected details more than 1,900 violations between 2004 and 2013. Because the violations were identified by regulation code, The Times consulted hundreds of federal and state occupational-safety standards to determine which violations were lead-related.

Reporters filed scores of public-records requests with public agencies in numerous states, including Washington, California, Alaska, Kentucky, Iowa, Florida and Illinois. Among the documents: workplace inspection files (including correspondence, emails, handwritten notes, photos, audio and videos); court files; police reports; and property records. They also obtained federal records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from several regional and state OSHA offices.


Reporters: Christine Willmsen, Lewis Kamb

Database reporter: Justin Mayo

Photographers: Marcus Yam, Mark Harrison

Developer: Thomas Wilburn

Graphic artists: Mark Nowlin, Garland Potts

Video editor: Danny Gawlowski

Project editor: James Neff

Copy editor: Laura Gordon

Photo editor: Fred Nelson

Print designer: Bob Warcup

Producer/web designer: Katrina Barlow

Researchers: Gene Balk, Miyoko Wolf

Reporting intern: Caitlin Cruz

Additional reporting: Keith Ervin