At least 50 PSP shooting instructors have been intoxicated by heavy metals that built up in closed shooting galleries which, for reasons unknown, were not being properly aired.
Some of the agents have even had to take sick leave, reports Diário de Notícias – and PSP bosses are now accepting that they will need to foot medical bills.
The extraordinary state of affairs in a country known to enforce hygiene stems from the fact that the closed galleries at the PSP school in Torres Vedras have not been duly ventilated or cleansed for at least the last two years.
As a result, toxic gases given off by gunshots have gradually built up deposits of lead, barium, chromium, mercury and nickel, triggering all kinds of malaise from skin disorders to upset stomachs, mouth ulcers and general debility.
Correio da Manhã said the metals not only contaminated the shooting galleries, but also the weapons themselves.
A number of policemen were affected but those worst off were found to be the instructors, which is how investigators managed to track the source of the problem down to poor hygiene in the galleries.
CM reports decontamination is now underway.