America’s military is marching toward a greener future. It actually has nothing to do with changing the uniforms to better protect troops in battle. Instead, this latest move has it more concerned about protecting the environment. That’s because starting in 2014 the U.S. Army will be issuing lead-free M-14 bullets to its troops with a full phase out of lead by the U.S. military expected by 2018.
Lead bites the bullet
Typically when the U.S. military makes a move to go green the purpose is to save green and lives. That’s not the case with the move away from lead bullets. That’s because the copper bullets its using to replace lead will cost the military more money. In fact, one estimate suggests the price tag is an extra $20 million per year without improving the effectiveness of the ammunition.
The issue that environmentalists have with lead is that it can easily find its way into the water supply and food chain. For example, spent bullets from hunting can land in streams or be ingested by other animals. This causes harm not only to the environment but to humans as well. In fact, studies have found that those that simply handle ammunition are found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. That can harm organs and tissues and even result in brain damage. That’s why lead’s days have been numbered for a while and why the EPA new lead air quality standards are really restricting its production.
Source: The Motley Fool