Lead Poisoning --Valuable Health Information


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actionflies
October 4, 2007, 09:58 PM
STAFF INSERT: I believe this discussion contains some valuable information bearing on certain health aspects of shooting, reloading, and particularly bullet casting. It is therefore floated at the top of the forum, at least temporarily. Thanks especially to actionflies for starting the thread, and to redneck2 for bringing it to my attention.
Johnny Guest
THR Staff
Handloading and reloading Moderator

For the last 4 months I have been shooting a lot and of lead bullets 10k+ in 45acp (lasercast and mastercast bullets) from a covered outdoor range and reloading. On each session, I would shoot around 200 rds. and there would be a lot of smoke around while shooting. After each session, I would wash my hands and face and blow my nose and my muccus is usually stained with some black goo and I also wash my hands after reloading. Just last week I went in for blood test for lead poisoning and today the result came back with abnormal level at 57 mcg/dL (micrograms per deciliter) here's a link for lead poisoning http://mayoclinic.com/health/lead-poisoning/FL00068/DSECTION=1. This was very high and even the local OSHA person called me thinking it was work related until I told him it was from shooting lead bullet and inhaling lead fumes. I notice there are no visible lead fumes when shooting outdoor with no cover (action range for ispc etc.) because a breeze is blowing, but a different story in a covered outdoor range because there was a cloud of smoke everytime I shot lead bullet. I know a few older guys tells me they cast and shoot a lot of lead bullets and they feel ok, but when was the last time they had a blood test for lead? I feel terrible about this and a major let down to my favorite hobby. I'm going to stop using lead bullet and will look into using Rainier or Berry's plated bullet from now on and will take a break from shooting until I recover. I recommend anyone that shoot a lot of lead bullet should go get a blood test.

Update: Just talked to my doctor and he recommend that I stay away from lead and comeback in 2 months for another blood test. If my lead level doesn't drop then I need a treatment call Thelation therapy. This treatment has strong side affect and could cause other complications. I also talked to an OSHA toxicology and he recommended the same path for treatment. Furthermore, I did a research on the internet and found that there were studies where 1000mg of vitamin C taken dialy have shown to reduce lead level significantly, so I'm going to take vitamin C for now. I also wanted to point out that I use the word 'lead poisoning' loosely, but in my case I was not sick or had any symptoms of lead poisoning. I only started shooting lead bullet in June, so this was a case of early detection and not lead poisoning. I think if I was sick, my doctor would of recommend Thelation therapy right away.

STAFF INSERT: 14JAN2008 UPDATE by actionfiles:

I got my 2nd blood test result after 3 months of not shooting and taking 1000mg of vitamin C daily, it went down from 57mcg/dL (Oct.) to 22mcg/dL (Jan.) I am sold on vitamin C and will continue to take it daily. You can buy a bottle at Costco - Kirkland brand 500 tablet 1000mg for $10. Here are links to association between vitamin C and lead:
http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/c...wers.lead.html
http://www.langers.com/PR/Vit_C_redu...od_7_22_99.htm
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH...HC000&c=218582
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocente...inC/index.html

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Kimber1911_06238
October 4, 2007, 10:03 PM
that sucks, what are the procedures for lowering the lead levels in your blood?

Linear Thinker
October 4, 2007, 10:12 PM
Action, Kimber - I have some experience in this matter. After many years of running indoor matches at a poorly ventilated range, my blood lead level was 21 ppB.

OSHA regs classify anything above 10 ppB for non-occupational exposure, and above 40 ppB for occupational exposure as dangerous. I had the obligatory calls from the state DEP, and OSHA. Told them I was casting my own fishing sinkers.

I had the range vent system redesigned, and stopped using exposed lead bullets. ~3 years later, my lead level is 13 ppB. Heavy metals take a long time to leave your system, as they accumulate in the marrow and the tissue.

Chelation (chemical displacement) is used in extreme cases of poisoning, it's extremely unpleasant.

There are folks on this board and others that will tell you that lead is good for you, they eat it for breakfast every day. Do your own research, and speak to a toxicologist or a pathologist (he/she would be delighted to talk to a living person ;) )
LT

351 WINCHESTER
October 4, 2007, 10:17 PM
I used to shoot in an indoor range. After each session I felt "weird". Had trouble breathing and felt run down. I don't know if it was the lead or the smoke from the powder/primer, but I quit going and it's outdoors only shooting and with lead bullets I make sure the wind is in my favor.

strat81
October 4, 2007, 11:51 PM
even the local OSHA person called me
I had the obligatory calls from the state DEP, and OSHA.
I thought medical records were private... HIPAA and all that stuff. Why are your blood test results being sent to the .gov? Did you consent for the lab to do that?

Walkalong
October 4, 2007, 11:53 PM
Yea!

HIPPA is a BIG BIG DEAL at the hospital where I work. :scrutiny:

We cannot tell anybody anything without the patients permission - IN WRITING!

jmorris
October 4, 2007, 11:57 PM
kimber,
as linear said time and reduced exposure is the only way to rid your body of lead. I too had elevated lead levels as well as several in our local club, after abandoning the indoor range we shot (for outdoor) at and a year’s time the level dropped back into “normal” range.

kingpin008
October 5, 2007, 12:28 AM
Action - Sorry to hear that! I recently had a BLL test since I shoot at an indoor range. Thankfully I'm good to go. One thing I do to help "neutralize" any extra lead I may have taken in while shooting, is to make sure and wash my hands really well before I leave the range, and I keep a pack or two of Vitamin C drops in my car. Vitamin C has some chelating properties, and while it may not exactly be a cure-all, it certainly doesn't hurt to pop a few drops and suck on 'em on the way home.


Good luck getting those levels down, hope you're able to get back to shooting & reloading soon!

JohnMcD348
October 5, 2007, 01:14 AM
With HIPPA, like many other rules in the health care industry, there are areas that include mandatory reporting. Things like suspected domestic violence, battery on a minor or elderly, and such, potential outbreak and high risk infections like (TB). I would suppose Lead would be in that catagory also.

SWModel19
October 5, 2007, 01:33 AM
Told them I was casting my own fishing sinkers.
That's how I would handle it. No need to give anti-gun politicos more ammo (so to speak) to label firearms a health threat.

Davo
October 5, 2007, 01:41 AM
Could this be from primer residue, and not the actual projectile?

JohnKSa
October 5, 2007, 02:02 AM
Could this be from primer residue, and not the actual projectile?YES!

Primers contain lead compounds. There was an Australian study (IIRC) that indicated most lead exposure from shooting (as opposed to reloading/casting) was due to primer compounds and not from metallic lead in the bullets.

I don't know if that's conclusive, but it's certainly true that a good bit of inhaled lead from a shooting range comes from the primers and not the bullet.

Linear Thinker
October 5, 2007, 06:30 AM
Strat - I was very concerned when I got the calls from the gummint, and started investigating. I was more concerned about my privacy or lack thereof, than my health.
Turns out that the diagnostic labs in my state and some others are required to report to the government certain test results, including elevated blood lead levels.
It's all done for the protection of workers exposed to lead, PCBs, MEK etc. in the workplace.
I feel better now, knowing that the Big Brother is looking out for me.

But seriously, having been in the machining and plating industry, I knew people who had serious health issues after chemicals exposure, and died young.
So, as much as I dislike the privacy loss, I understand the rationale.
LT

rdhood
October 5, 2007, 07:56 AM
primer residue? Yikes! Maybe I should start wearing disposable gloves when dealing with dirty brass?

I have avoided the whole lead bullet thing for two reasons: lead poisoning and barrel fouling. Plated or FMJ for me.

Master Blaster
October 5, 2007, 08:59 AM
Plated or FMJ for me

Turn the fmj bullet over, that bare lead on the bottom, and yes it does vaporize under the high heat of propellent ignition.

ID_shooting
October 5, 2007, 09:14 AM
Health care industry worker here. Yes, regardless of what you think HIPPA may mean, labs are requiered to notify state CDC reps of results like lead exposure.

jmorris
October 5, 2007, 09:41 AM
But seriously, having been in the machining and plating industry, I knew people who had serious health issues after chemicals exposure, and died young.
So, as much as I dislike the privacy loss, I understand the rationale.
LT

If only there motive was to improve your health and not generate more revenue through fines. FWIW I never got a call from big brother, but then again I live in Texas.

walking arsenal
October 5, 2007, 09:51 AM
I used to shoot in an indoor range. After each session I felt "weird". Had trouble breathing and felt run down. I don't know if it was the lead or the smoke from the powder/primer, but I quit going and it's outdoors only shooting and with lead bullets I make sure the wind is in my favor.

Feeling "run down" after shooting is normal. You flinch every time you fire. that uses a lot of muscles. wears you out. don't know about the breathing.

strat81
October 5, 2007, 09:54 AM
Maybe I should give up shooting and play with chinese-made toys instead. ;-)

Clark
October 5, 2007, 10:34 AM
There was a huge amount of information about lead poisoning posted on rec.guns newsgroup [not the WWW, but part of the internet, like email] about 10 years ago. Google has stopped it's search from finding anything older than July 2003. The site is still there in Google, if you already have the links.

What do I remember?
Only those that work in indoor ranges, not shooters, without ventilation, can get real lead poisoning. All indoor ranges now have ventilation.

A serious lead poisoning cannot be caused by shooting or casting, but will be caused by sanding off lead paint.

PC40
October 5, 2007, 11:30 AM
primer residue? Yikes! Maybe I should start wearing disposable gloves when dealing with dirty brass?

At a recent Lead Worker Training class, where I work, I asked if lead can enter the body through the skin. The answer was no, the primary routes are inhalation and ingestion.

Disposable gloves are still preferable to getting the stuff on your skin. Whatever you do you need to keep contaminated hands away from the mouth/face and avoid cross-contaminating surfaces in your home (think of the children).

Also you should be aware of the dirty floor at the range that you shuffle your feet over and lay your range bag on.

Home Depot and Lowe's sell lead testing kits. It's a little tube with a couple of vials that you crush and mix, and then swab over a surface (I prefer to squeeze a drop onto the surface) and then look for a color change from yellow to pink or even deep red in worse cases. Red means lead. It's the same thing that we get from Lab Safety Supply in different packaging.

As I work for the Industrial Hygeine Group I am occasionally tasked with cleaning up lead contaminated areas. I wear proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and use D-Lead cleaner and HEPA vacs. When I go in next week I am going to get Medical Services to test me for lead (as I am a shooter too, of course) and get a baseline. If my levels are too high I will be prevented from doing any lead work.

PC40
October 5, 2007, 11:37 AM
Maybe I should give up shooting and play with chinese-made toys instead. ;-)

I have heard a rumor that the high lead costs are due to China buying up all the lead they can find. Now we know what they're doing with it.

ZeSpectre
October 5, 2007, 11:45 AM
I think I'll just take this opportunity to make the following public service announcement.

Folks, even if you feel great (in fact, especially if you feel great) get a physical done once a year! Get lead levels tested and that sort of thing.

We like your company and want y'all here on THR for years and years and years to come!

trickyasafox
October 5, 2007, 12:17 PM
I'm 23 and I still get my lead checked every year. I went from 8ppm to 14ppm from last year to this year. A big problem that can skew your results is residual lead on your skin. if you get the test within a recent range visit, apparently it can twist your results a bit.

I heard vitamin C helps control it, but i'd be lying if I said I knew that for fact. I cast, reload, and shoot a couple different leagues. However, I only get to shoot 4 months of the year when I am home from school. I like to think I make up for it in that 4 months, throwing anywhere from 200-500 rounds per week, but there are some people here who call that a 'slow tuesday' :D

I think my lead exposure is from my tumbler. I tumble inside and don't deprime before I tumble. I am going to move my tumbler outside for the remainder of this year and see if that works out at my next test. because my levels are still low enough, I'm going to try one variable at a time.

Talonap
October 5, 2007, 01:13 PM
How about adding a particulate mask to our hearing and eye protection? The slightly added discomfort might be worth it to be able to use lead. (I'd rather not breath in metal thank you.)

PC40
October 5, 2007, 01:20 PM
Could be a solution for some. I believe you would need at least a properly fitted half-face respirator with particulate filter cartridges. I don't think the disposable dust masks will work.

Uncle Don
October 5, 2007, 01:41 PM
The OPs words were like DeJaVue. I work as a full time instructor and took no real effort until increased lead hit me like a mallet. I tested and it came back 36 and the Doc got pretty excited. I too brought up confidentiality but was told (as the other poster stated), that some stuff is manditory.

He told me to do three things - wash with cold water, take iron tablets and chew about three Tums a day. I also used this link and bought a hand soap called D-Lead. I went from 36 to 19 in three months and am sold on this soap.

http://www.esca-tech.com/Skincare.htm

davinci
October 5, 2007, 02:06 PM
how much does a lead test cost?
a few months ago, the doc told a friend that he had prostate cancer...we were all very worried for him, and told him not to get excited until he got a second test.

He did get a second test, it came back negative...then a third test also negative. now he goes every 6 months and gets checked. He's had a total of three negative tests since the first one.

ALWAYS get a second opinion.... we spent so much time praying and worrying, but I don't think that 'cleared up' prostate cancer.

mejeepnut
October 5, 2007, 06:55 PM
Actionflies-Did you go and have the testing done on your own or was it something to do with your job?I was just wondering if you could share with us how lead poisoning makes you feel,what are the symptems?

brickeyee
October 5, 2007, 07:48 PM
“After each session I felt "weird". Had trouble breathing and felt run down.”

Lead is not an acute poison but a long term one.
If you had lead related symptoms they would NOT go away on hours, they take weeks and months to be eliminated as the body lead level is decreased.

There might be a disposable mask rated for lead exposure, but expect to pay ~$8 each. That is the price range for masks effective against metal fumes.

Metallic lead in a lump is not a real hazard. You can swallow lead shot and it just comes out the other end.
If you have powdered lead you have increased the surface area so much that it can enter the body.
The amount leached depends on the area available for the reactions to occur.
Think about how much surface area a piece of lead shot (even 8) would have if ground into a powder.

Small amounts of lead are vaporized from the base of a bullet by the powder gases and essentially reduced to powder. It is a very small amount though.

The main initiating ingredient in primers is lead styphanate.
After reacting it leaves a real witches brew of lead compounds behind, some of which are soluble in water. Inhaling the smoke allows the lead compounds to dissolve in the fluid i you lungs, and the surface area here is huge.
Notice that the smoke goes in but does not come out?
It went somewhere.

Correct indoor range ventilation flows air from the firing line to the targets to keep everything moving away form the shooters.
Lousy ranges will often have a 'cloud' hanging in the air.

Outdoors is usually best, bet even there a dead still day can allow things to collect and be inhaled.


Bullet casters can get into trouble if they use a flame played on the lead to speed up melting.
At normal casting temperatures the amount of lead vapor is nearly zero, but a flame playing on the surface produces localized vaporization.

Cleaning firearms is another way to pick up some lead.
While metallic lead itself will not penetrate the skin easily, lead compounds can penetrate and be carried in by the multitude of solvent we use for cleaning.
Latex gloves are pretty useless against these solvents.
Nitrile gloves provide at least some protection, but are not really rated for many of the solvents.
I do not wear the 'approved' butyl rubber gloves when cleaning though.

CSA 357
October 5, 2007, 08:40 PM
I would get mine checked, but i realy dont want to know! i have reloaded and shot cast bullets for a while now, also have a high level of pcb , from a job i had , i would rather be hit by a train than die of cancer, but what can you do?:uhoh: csa

actionflies
October 6, 2007, 12:55 AM
Actionflies-Did you go and have the testing done on your own or was it something to do with your job?I was just wondering if you could share with us how lead poisoning makes you feel,what are the symptems?

I went to see my doctor about a nagging cold that went on for over a month and asked if I can get a blood test for lead level since I was shooting lead bullet all Summer and he sent me down to the lab for the blood test. I think I'm lucky because at the time I felt OK except for the nagging cold and this was what brought me in to see the doctor. If left unchecked, lead can cause irreversible damages to the body and you do not want to wait until you are sick and then it will be too late. My cold finally went away, but I am depress as hell and will get well before shooting again. If you have insurance and shoot lead bullet and never had a blood test, please do so for yourself and your family.

45auto
October 6, 2007, 06:36 AM
You must get tested, don't wait for symptoms.

I had to bring mine down. No more indoor shooting, plated/coated bullets, wear gloves cleaning, tumbling outdoors...downwind, wash hands, etc after shooting. Of course, don't stick your fingers in your mouth, etc. Clothes?

It was elevated with outdoor shooting also, so it's not just indoors. I'd bet, but don't know, that tumbling is right up there for exposure...below lead bullets and primers of course. But, you can see the "cloud" of dust rise when you pour or rotate. And that cloud of "media" was cleaning the inside of the casing. :eek:

Don't the "pumice" hand cleaners you buy at most stores, clean your hands well enough?

redneck2
October 6, 2007, 08:27 AM
Note to reloaders......There is a write up in Lee's reloading book about a guy that got heavy levels of lead exposure from reloading. Primers have a lot of lead, and the dust from tumbling media has extreme lead levels. Breathing the dust can put your lead levels in orbit.

joneb
October 6, 2007, 02:35 PM
This is a great thread, I hope we can gather practical tips on reducing lead exposer in our hobby and make a Sticky for it.
I found a lot of info on lead poisoning and treatments when I Googled it, chelation treatments with EDTA is another good search, there are studies showing that vitamin C can greatly reduce Pb levels in the blood.
I bought sum of these for testing but have'nt tried them yet;65087 I use ground walnut in the tumbler, what can I add to cut down on the dust ?

AmbulanceDriver
October 6, 2007, 06:08 PM
One thing I do to cut down on the dust in my tumbler is to add a used dryer sheet to the tumbler. I cut it up into approx 1" squares. It definitely reduces the amount of dust in the air when tumbling.

Methinks I'm gonna needs to swing by home depot and get one of those lead testing kits.

cash--
October 8, 2007, 02:14 AM
So, does anyone make a lead free large pistol primer?

Darth Muffin
October 8, 2007, 08:06 AM
Does anyone make ANY lead-free pistol primers for that matter? I keep hearing mention of them but I can't find any place that actually has some for sale. If they work reliably I think it'd be worth the extra bucks for me.

Geno
October 8, 2007, 08:25 AM
Regarding the:

...used to shoot in an indoor range. After each session I felt "weird". Had trouble breathing and felt run down. I don't know if it was the lead or the smoke from the powder/primer, but I quit going and it's outdoors only shooting and with lead bullets I make sure the wind is in my favor.

You may have mild asthma or allergies. I do, and depending how well my asthma is controlled, I have considerably better energy levels due to blood oxygenation.

Who makes the "green" ammo, Remington? I was told it is lead-free. Also, the projectiles are not solid. They are highly compressed metal powder that disintegrates upon striking a hard surface. I like the Win Clean ammo was well.

Edit to add Remington "Leadless" ammunition link:

http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/umc/umc_leadless.asp

RustyFN
October 8, 2007, 07:03 PM
ALWAYS get a second opinion.... we spent so much time praying and worrying, but I don't think that 'cleared up' prostate cancer.
Never under estemate the power of prayer. I had an accident and was blind for two years. The doctors said they couldn't do anything. The power of prayer and the good Lord gave me back my eye sight. I have to go in for blood work every six months because of HBP. I asked the doctor to have them test me for lead since they were drawing blood anyway. It came back as 8. Is that bad or fairly good? The doctor didn't seem to be to concerned.
Rusty

trickyasafox
October 8, 2007, 07:47 PM
under 20 is usually considered OK for adult levels- under 10 for youth

RustyFN
October 8, 2007, 08:45 PM
Thanks

scrat
October 8, 2007, 09:59 PM
Good idea on the sticky. I too am getting a little concerned. i have casted thousands of bullets. i have a good nest egg of bullets now. However i am actually thinking of shooting fmj again. I was thinking on going a year lead free then going a year with lead. So for the year 2008 i will stop casting lead and start shooting fmj. Then i can pick it up the next year.

ramptester
October 9, 2007, 06:26 PM
Sweating is actually one way to rid the body of lead. "Get the lead out" actually has some merit! Go exercise and sweat a little.
Regarding lead on the skin, it is just like the common cold, eventually you are going to rub your eyes or you are going to get some on your shirt and then wipe your mouth, etc. Try to change clothes after every range trip, especially if you will be playing with your kids.
As a neurologist, I see guys from my club who present in their 60's with wrist drop due to radial nerve damage from lead. Other problems occur of course. In some ways it is like hypertention - you may not know you have a problem until it is too late.
Be safe, take all precuations, and consider having your lead level checked. Just consider it a hobby necessity!
Ranier bullets are coated at the base, so they would diminish your exposure somewhat, by the way.

Ala Dan
October 9, 2007, 09:08 PM
Many years ago (late 70's), I cast my own lead bullets in various handgun
caliber's; until one hot summer day I felt a bit dizzy, while working with the
melting pot. Come to find out, the lead vapors were harmful; and I wasn't
using a mask when melting lead. Nowdays, I still shoot lead bullets; but I
buy them in bulk boxes of 500, as made by Zero Bullet Company in Cullman,
AL or Magnus Bullets in Toney, AL. ;)

davinci
October 10, 2007, 09:21 AM
If you google lead poisoning, you'll find all kinds of great information....none of which cites guns as a cause for lead poisoning.

Two of the sites suggested getting a second measurement, that's what they do for kids before they get treatment. I guess you can have some lead on your skin (harmless) that can contaminate the results. Remember, you have to INGEST it for it to harm you, and even then it's not a carcinogen like I thought it was (it's not asbestos).

PC40
October 10, 2007, 04:54 PM
I have found that a little of the Flitz additive in the tumbler makes the media slightly sticky. IMO it will cut down on free dust from the tumbler.

"Borrowing" two of the lead check tubes from work, I found "some" lead (pink color change) next to one of my single stage presses on the reloading bench, "some" lead on the cover of my tumbler, and "high" lead (red color change) inside the trash can that recieves spent primers from the press. I couldn't see an indication of lead on my workboots (usually what I wear to the indoor range) nor on the floor area where I clean my primer pockets over the previously mentioned trashcan.

Millwright
October 10, 2007, 10:43 PM
Interesting data...one not mentioned but certainly worth a check is your drinking/cooking water. Improperly soldered copper pipe joints wll leach lead under the right water conditions.

Lots of primers used lead styphonate at one time and it was a major source of ingested lead, but I think most mfgs have switched - or am I wrong ?

Controlling exposure is IMO mostly a common sense procedure, with the greatest threat being airborne. At indoor ranges you ought to be able to feel the ventilation at your back. But knowing where the range intake and discharge vents are in relation to the prevailing wind is equally important. Not good to have the air being vented from the range blown back to the intake source....

Same precautions prevail for casting... >MW

davinci
October 11, 2007, 09:11 AM
i think all primers are lead styphonate unless they are marked "lead free" or "clean range", but I'm not 100% sure.

there's too many outside factors to say that a handloader who shot twice a week got lead poisoning from this.

We should turn this sticky into a "post your lead test results here!" and tell us what your shooting habits are like. This way we can actually develop a trend of what's causing the problem and help other members avoid it. PC40 took the first step by testing his work area and posting the results.

davinci
October 12, 2007, 01:40 PM
This article has some information about lead contained in everything from food and candy to cosmetics.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071011/ts_nm/lipstick_lead_dc;_ylt=AjOXhpHskr5LEg3B1P3BdSas0NUE

Is it possible that since the metal stays in your system for so long that one could gather lead poisoning over a long term?

GaryL
October 14, 2007, 12:48 AM
I had a heavy metal test done last spring. It was less than $100. My lead levels were a little high. The test was done using DMSA as the chelator to pull heavy metals from body tissues. The Dr. put me on a chelation therapy using DMSA, 2 days on DMSA (5 100mg capsules/day - 1 capsule every 4 hrs), 7 days off, for 10 weeks. Since then I've found DMSA can be purchased via the internet.

DMSA is a sulpher bearing compound that binds with heavy metals. It's perfectly safe to take, but will make you feel a little 'toxic' at first because it pulls out the accumulated heavy metals and your system has to deal with them. The only knock I have on DMSA is that is does unbalance the digestive system slightly, so it's important to do it in cycles 5-10 weeks of therapy followed by a month or so off. It also chelates out beneficial minerals, which need to be replaced with supplements. Some internet vendors will say it's safe to take every day, and it probably is, but I personally would not.

Searching for information can be frustating, as there is conflicting research, especially since mercury amalgums are considered "safe and effective", and there is an industry desiring to keep it that way, and a large number of natural/alternative practitioners stating otherwise. I have little interest in that debate, but some time ago I read an extensive research paper documenting research done with DMSA on autism patients with high heavy metal test results. Unfortuanely, I can't find it now, but it compared a number of chelation therapies for removing heavy metals from the body, and referenced other research about the impact of various therapies on the body.

There are a number of links that can be googled, but here is a short article that is interesting:

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0091-6765(200006)108%3A6%3C575%3AACOPMM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y

And another with a decent explanation of DMSA therapy. (My thoughts about the Zapper this guy promotes are similiar to other "electrical" health systems first promoted over a 100 yrs ago, and I think they will share the same future)
http://zap.intergate.ca/dmsa.html

Here are my initial test results:
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=65469&stc=1&d=1192334546

MikePGS
October 22, 2007, 12:35 AM
Is it possible that since the metal stays in your system for so long that one could gather lead poisoning over a long term?
Yes. If your exposed to a significant quantity at once, you will have acute symptoms, just a sudden onset of symptoms. If you slowly accumulate lead (your body takes roughly 3-4 weeks to purge it from your system... i forget exactly how long) your symptoms might be more subtle. Someone said that you can only ingest lead, which is incorrect. While its true that ingestion is the most common form of lead poisoning, inhalation (which of course is possible if shooting lead primers in a poorly ventilated area) is the second most common form, and you actually absorb it more readily through inhalation than ingestion.

Uncle Don
October 22, 2007, 07:10 AM
I think my lead exposure is from my tumbler. I tumble inside and don't deprime before I tumble. I am going to move my tumbler outside for the remainder of this year and see if that works out at my next test. because my levels are still low enough, I'm going to try one variable at a time.

I think you are exactly correct - except that the exposure comes from pouring it into a sifter, not the actual tumbling (as long as the lid is on).

I've been very educated on lead in the past year or so. As an full time instructor, I have to admit that I took little concern and when I got it tested, it was 36. Doc told me to chew three TUMS a day, take an iron tablet and wash my hands well with cold water, not warm or hot. Additionally I bought a product called "D-Lead" hand soap (do a google search) and using that, my level came down to 19 within a fairly short time period. I continue this regiment and hopefully, the next test will be lower yet. I was told that 40 is the magic number where they start getting pretty concerned and at 50, they want you to find another line of work away from lead exposure. I squeaked by the first time and am now pretty confident I've got the right regiment.

joneb
October 23, 2007, 02:17 AM
I loaded 50rnds of .38spl with Fiocchi leadless primers and they all went Bang. The only difference I noticed is that the primer pockets were cleaner.

silverlance
October 31, 2007, 01:47 AM
gary, thank you for posting your results. Lead, Antimony, and Mercury. No coincidence - the three biggest heavy metal offenders in ammunition.

here is what I do to reduce the chance of contamination:

1. tumble outdoors. my machine stays outdoors, right outside my side door. if it gets stolen or destroyed by the elements, oh well. i turn it on from inside the house (the cable runs under the door to the outside), and turn it off from the inside. i wait about 10 minutes for the dust to settle before going out there. when i have to pour out the media, I wear an OSHA respirator (they are about $2-3 each). You can reuse this respirator many times becuase I only use it when I pull out cases. It is enough to keep the dust out. I put a spent dryer sheet in there each time I get one from the laundry, and I change the media out after 350 cases have been tumbled. Treat the media as toxic contaminant and bag it up properly.

2. I deprime with a dedicated lee handpress. the spent primers are dropped direction from the press into a low walled tub with about an inch of water inside. this reduced the chance of inhaling primer powders (yuck). the primer pocket holes are also cleaned out over this tub. I wear a separate OHSA respirator mask for this step as well. by the way, respirators are basically heavily upgraded dust masks, but make sure they are OHSA approved.

3. I dont use cast bullets. i'm too careless, i might forget and poke my eyes or lick a finger. if you're careful, this probably doesn't apply to you. I use FMJ or perhaps SP, and I make sure to wash my hands after handling.

4. when i shoot, i shoot exclusively outdoors without cover or with top cover only (like a canopy). i shot a couple of times in an indoor range. i woudl leave each time with a creepy sweet taste in my mouth - that's lead. i tried to ask about lead danger at that range, but the guys just laughed it off. oh, by the way.. don't EVER sweep up brass either to gather brass or "clean up" at indoor ranges. there is a TON of lead dust on the floor of most indoor ranges and you along with everyone else will inhale it. my buddy kept trying to sweep up because he felt like he owned the establishment a tidy range. it was a poorly thought out idea. it is a different story at the outdoor ranges.

5. don't shoot prone at public range lines. at private ranges, put down some ground cover so you aren't snorting up dust off the concrete.

6. when cleaning guns, i flush them out with windex outdoors. (corrosive primers). i wear latex gloves. if nothing else, solvents and clp are carcinogenic I am sure. I make sure there is adequate ventilation. and lastly, i use a Ransom Mat so that all the mess, oil, etc is on that mat which is then wiped off at the end.

IMHO, two of the biggest risky behaviors are: 1. tumbling your brass on your bench, a foot or two away from your head, indoors; 2. cleaning guns and not cleaning the work surface afterwards - or not wearing gloves while handling contaminated chemicals.

finally, if indoor shooting or heavily covered outdoor shooting are your only options, WEAR A RESPIRATOR WHILE SHOOTING. sure you will look funny as hell and people might make comments, but the reason why they are not worried about inhaling lead fumes may be because they are already brain damaged.
YMMV, but i've been doing this.

mrreynolds
October 31, 2007, 03:24 AM
I also used this link and bought a hand soap called D-Lead. I went from 36 to 19 in three months and am sold on this soap.

I added a link to this product on my site as well under lead poison.

Evocatii
October 31, 2007, 05:31 PM
I had found an article on a government website that was in regard to an Alaskan school shooting team that was found to have elevated levels. It is a quick read and gives some insight into the discussion.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5423a1.htm

js2013
October 31, 2007, 09:29 PM
After reading this thread I went to Lowe's and picked up a couple of Lead Test kits. They're about $4. They're simple to use and one kit can be used to test several different areas. I used then to check out my reloading station and an indoor range I frequent. It was an eye opener.

glockman19
November 15, 2007, 02:17 AM
Symptoms
Lead poisoning usually does not cause noticeable symptoms. Most lead poisoning comes from low levels of exposure over a long period of time. The major organ systems affected are the central nervous system, gastrointestinal (digestive) tract, and the renal system (urinary tract).

Chronic lead exposure may cause the following symptoms.

General physical symptoms in children and adults (usually seen when lead poisoning levels are severe)
Stomachaches, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea
Nausea, vomiting
Persistent, unexplained fatigue
Headache
Muscle weakness
Higher rates of tooth decay
Children with chronic low blood lead levels who may not have obvious symptoms of lead poisoning may show slightly lower intelligence and be smaller in size than children their age who do not have low to moderate levels of lead poisoning. A recent study showed that declines in IQ can even be seen in children with blood lead concentrations below 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (10 µg/dL), the level of concern defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. 11 Chronic exposure to lead may also cause behavioral problems in these children.

Behavioral symptoms in children
Irritability or aggressiveness
Hyperactivity, being easily distracted, impulsiveness
Learning difficulties
Lethargy or less interest in play
Loss of appetite
Behavioral symptoms in adults
Unexplained changes in mood or personality
Changes in sleep patterns
Inability to concentrate
Decreased sex drive
Memory loss
Irritability
Neurological symptoms (caused by effects of lead on the nervous system)
Poor coordination
Weakness in hands and feet
Headaches
Convulsions
Paralysis
Coma
Diagnosing lead poisoning can be difficult because many other conditions cause similar symptoms.

Severe symptoms of acute lead poisoning can include seizures, unconsciousness, paralysis, or swelling in the brain. However, exposure to such a high level of lead is not common. 1 If you experience these symptoms, seek emergency medical care.

Treatment Overview
Treatment for lead poisoning begins with removing the sources of lead and providing balanced nutrition. These measures are usually sufficient to limit exposure to lead and reduce lead levels in the body.

Old paint chips and dirt are the most common sources of lead in the home. Lead-based paint and the dust and dirt that come from its decomposition should be removed by professionals. In the workplace, removal of sources usually involves removing lead dust that is in the air, as well as making sure adults don't bring contaminated dust or dirt into the home on clothes worn for work.

Balanced nutrition includes adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and vitamin C. A person who eats a balanced, nutritious diet absorbs less lead than a person whose diet is inadequate.

If removing the source of lead and balancing nutrition do not reduce lead levels, or if the blood lead level is very high, chelation therapy may be used. Chelation therapy is a process that rapidly reduces the amount of lead stored in the body. Drugs called chelating agents cause metals like lead to bind to them, and then they are eliminated from the body through urine. Because chelating agents increase the absorption of lead and other metals, it is essential that sources of lead exposure be removed before a person is treated.

Prevention, primarily through screening of both children and adults, is the most effective means of reducing or eliminating the effects of lead poisoning. Damage from lead poisoning, especially to the central nervous system, is often incurable and may not improve with treatment.

Medications
Chelating agents are used for severe lead poisoning. Chelating agents are medications that bind with lead in blood and both soft and bony tissues and eliminate it quickly from the body, usually through the urine.

The use of chelating agents for lead poisoning is still being studied, and there is no single treatment or drug of choice. In general, drug treatment is recommended when blood lead levels are above 45 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or when there are symptoms of lead poisoning, especially lead encephalopathy.

There is disagreement over whether chelation therapy is needed for children with blood lead levels between 25 µg/dL and 44 µg/dL—one study showed no benefit to the child. 15 Reducing or removing environmental lead sources, correcting iron deficiency, and improving nutrition may be enough to lower lead levels in the blood. The decision to use chelating agents depends on how long the child has been exposed to lead, how high the blood lead level is, what the symptoms are, and whether the blood lead level remains high even after the source of lead is removed or reduced and nutrition is improved.

In theory, chelating agents prevent further damage by reducing blood lead levels rapidly. Damage to the blood may repair itself if blood lead levels are lowered. Kidney damage may also heal, unless it has been too extensive. Chelation therapy may not reverse central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) damage that has already occurred.

Medication Choices
Chelating agents are chemicals that bind with lead for the treatment of lead poisoning.

What To Think About
Chelating agents increase absorption of lead and other metals. A person exposed to lead while taking a chelating agent may absorb more of the lead, thus defeating the purpose of the therapy and possibly doing even more harm. Therefore, it is essential that lead sources be removed from your environment before treatment. (This may require that treatment be administered in a hospital.) Do not return home or to the workplace until lead sources have been removed.

Iron deficiency also increases lead absorption. Iron deficiency cannot be treated at the same time as chelation therapy because the chelating drug will bind to iron and remove it as well. Iron deficiency must be treated either before or after chelation therapy.

Chelation therapy does reduce blood lead levels and may slow down problems with kidney function associated with lead poisoning. 16 However, it does not appear to improve cognitive damage or other neurological problems already caused by the lead poisoning. 15 If chelation therapy is necessary, it is best to consult with a doctor experienced with this treatment.

bl4ckd0g
November 25, 2007, 03:23 PM
I always wash my spent/found casings a few times w/ Tri-Sodium Phosphate and rinse them off two or three times. Then I dry and tumble. Usually just need a half or full teaspoon per gallon of water.

TSP is an industrial detergent to control lead dust and kill mold/mildew, yet it is gentle enough for use on laundry. It is necessary however to use rubber gloves with TSP as it will remove the oils from your skin.

I use it everyday on my found range brass and it occasionally gives me clean primer anvils when I decap.

AussieMike
December 25, 2007, 05:56 AM
G'day All,

Just wanted to add to this thread because I didn't see mentioned one point I think is really important.

I'm a medical researcher from Australia and did a lot of work on lead poisonning especially in children. Published a number of peer reviewed articles in Australia's national medical jpurnal ( and, no, Australia is not a third world country and our medical research output, on a per capita basis exceeds the US and UK).

The important point is that children:
- absorb more of the lead that they are exposed to compared to adults;
- are much, much more sensitive to the effects of lead because it affects the developing brain - risk greatest from 9 months to 4-5 years.

Children can with lower levels of exposure have reduced IQ, hearing problems etc as listed earlier in this post and with very high levels of exposure can start having convulsions, go into a coma and die. One or two children die each year from lead poisonning in Oz.

If you have a high lead level, or if your children may be exposed because of where you tumble, cast, reload, dispose of dross from casting etc get their blood lead levels checked.

A child with a blood lead level of 25mcg/dl will, on average, lose 5-10 IQ points (much more if they are also iron deficient) but WILL NOT SHOW ANY SYMPTOMS.

Dogs and cats may also be effected.

BTW I'ved lurked on this board for several years but don't really have much to post as I'm a handgun collector but not a shooter. Our laws here allow me to buy handguns (after high level background check and demonstrating a very high level of security of my storage area - simply having a safe is not nearly enough) but I am not allowed to possess ammo for the guns, or to load or shoot them. I love my nineteenth century Colt SAAs and Webleys though.

Regards,

mike

Uncle Don
December 25, 2007, 09:49 AM
That is incredibly interesting and helpful information AussieMike - thank you for posting it.

tclover
December 26, 2007, 09:02 PM
I had been casting for several yrs. No adverse effects and so far nothing in blood stream. I did however give it just last week. Figured I have enough bullets(shoot outdoors) to last me until total ban arrives.......
I still reload and shoot just use jacketed stuff now

davinci
December 31, 2007, 10:27 AM
Ok, three months later and we haven't heard back from the fella who started this discussion.

Did you get a second test yet? Have you changed your habits at all?

ARTJR338WM
January 4, 2008, 11:20 PM
What ever happened to the Nycad line of HG ammo? I think S&W use to sell it? not sure, but it was a all lead bullet incapsulated in nylon for use at indoor ranges. If I recall it also got pretty good revies as a self defense round.

PC40
January 5, 2008, 01:20 AM
I think it was spelled "Nyclad" as in "Nylon Clad". I remember them too. I think it was S&W but are they in the ammo business now? Could it have gone the way of the so-called "armor-piercing" Teflon coated bullet - if there was a Teflon coated bullet...?

I still have some moly-lubed bullet loads left over from before switching to plated/jacketed. I shot 50 the other night and didn't see much if any leading in my Kimber, I take that as a good sign as far as exposure, but after these are gone it's strictly copper covered. These same loads left heavy deposits in a Taurus revolver.

Don't recall it being mentioned, but cleaning firearms is another possible means of exposure. (Oops, yes it has been mentioned!)

My lead level as checked 6 weeks ago was 25.9 mcg/dl! Not as bad as some of the other folks here, but still elevated. It may have been higher because I had started being more careful in the weeks prior to the test. I get tested again in February. I'm continuously trying to improve.

rodregier
January 5, 2008, 09:32 AM
+1 on using a respirator mask when shooting indoors. I started it around here, many of the IPSC crowd have adopted the practice. Seems weird at first, but you get used to it. I'm using a cartridge half-face mask w/HEPA filters. It also helps with the smoke particulates too.

I've read and been told that decades ago, they shot without hearing protection on ranges. No-one intelligent today would even dream of shooting w/o hearing protection.

snuffy
January 7, 2008, 03:22 PM
After having read this and the thread on TFL, I got tested last July while at my veterans clinic. The results didn't come with the other numbers, so I asked today what my #'s where. 5.0!

Considering how much lead I am in contact with, casting, loading those boolits, and shooting, I'm good to go. I do have access to an indoor range, but do most of my shooting outdoors. I do NOT have any type of ventilation for my casting pot. I'm careful about washing my hands and keepin the lead away from food.

So to me, this is much to do about almost nothing!

actionflies
January 11, 2008, 03:31 PM
After 3 months of not shooting, sold all my lead bullets and resupplying with Ranier and FMJ (ouch!) bullets, taking 1000mg of vitamin C daily. I went in for my blood test and will get the result in 2 weeks. I am nervous and hope for the best. :confused:

SHTFmilitia
January 12, 2008, 09:38 AM
Good Thread!!
Thanks for the read, and learning since i am just getting into reloading soon when my press arrives.

snuffy
January 12, 2008, 11:39 PM
Actionflies, I'm sure sorry you had to restrict your shooting. When faced with a possible health concern, we do what is needed to rectify it. Here's hoping the lead levels have dropped for you.

Aged In Oak
January 13, 2008, 02:02 PM
This is a great thread,with lots of helpful info! I started wondering about this because even though I shoot infrequently (due to schedule), I pretty much have to use an indoor range because all the outdoor ones are much farther away [grumble]. That said, I have a couple questions:

1) Does anyone know a good source for lead-free primers? I've checked a couple places like Midway but they don't seem to carry them, and I haven't found them locally either.

2) Regarding bullet choices, I know plated bullets like those from Rainier or TMJs are supposed to be much safer for handling and do a good job eliminating vaporization when shooting. Are the moly-coated lead bullets like those from Precision as good at that? I know what the manufacturer website says, but I thought I'd see if anyone could say for sure.

actionflies
January 13, 2008, 04:14 PM
The price of Ranier and Berry's plated bullet have gone up and if not more than bulk Win or Rem jacketed bullet. With the plated bullet, you need to use lead bullet data or the plating will break if velocity is too high. It makes no sense to buy plated bullet when I can buy FMJ bullet. Go to Cabelas website and price them out and you'll see no reason to buy plated bullet. For lead free primers, it's out there but more expensive.

Aged In Oak
January 14, 2008, 12:56 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I had thought that because most FMJs have an exposed lead base, they don't do much to solve the lead vaporization problem, as compared to a plated or total metal jacket bullet which covers the whole projectile.

actionflies
January 14, 2008, 02:54 PM
Aged In Oak, you are correct but I think the exposure of FMJ is a lot less than lead bullet. I believe you will get expose to lead by just shooting and controlling the exposure is up to you and the environment that you shoot in.

davinci
January 28, 2008, 06:11 PM
did you get your test results back yet?

Javelin
January 28, 2008, 07:38 PM
There is an article in the Dallas Morning News today that claims high lead exposure (even many decades ago) has shown decreased brain function in adults years later. The average brain may act as if it were 5 years older than the individual really is and can include loss of function and exhibiting the same traits as rapid aging of the memory.

They did not mention firearms and reloading but they did mention lead dust that is present on machining equipment, lead paint flaking off in older homes & the dust that can come from that, and even prolonged use of lead crystal glasses (who knew). Lead pipes in old homes were a huge contributor but that would still pale in comparison to indoor shooting without good ventilation.

Honestly if you look how much lead dust accumulates in your suppressor that might help in keeping it out of the air while you shoot? It traps sound, unburned powder, and alot of dust/crud that you have to clean out of the baffles. Just maybe a plug for using a suppressor on your pistol (on top of the many other benefits).

Just something to *think* about. Be safe!

:)

ScottyB
January 28, 2008, 08:35 PM
How dangerous is the lead you can track away from the range on your shoes and clothes? I cannot bear the thought of my shooting, which is recreational, causing someone else's kids to have developmental problems.

I know to wash off my shoes and wash my clothes separately. Doesn't that lead end up in the water, though? Is the amount so small that it doesn't matter?

I have all either TMJ w/lead-free primer or fully non-toxic ammunition, so I'm not adding to the dust at the firing line (although the TMJ could produce some dust on impact with the bullet stop/trap).

Am I overly paranoid about this stuff?

Thanks.

Hikingman
January 29, 2008, 11:49 PM
Try the latex gloves from the big home supply stores. They are sold in small quantities. This keeps powder and lead from your fingers for the most part, and brass will not wear the oil or prints from your fingers. Wear one glove at a time-this keeps one hand free to operate or do other tasks. A practical, inexpensive way to limit exposure while reloading...

Black Jaque Janaviac
February 1, 2008, 06:21 PM
I noticed a few people inquiring about lead-free primers. I looked into that a month or so ago and learned why they aren't readily available to the reloader market.

The lead free priming compound behaves differently than the lead styphinate. As a result some of the non-toxic factory ammo producers learned that they needed to enlarge the flash hole. So I guess they had problems when using a lead-free primer with a standard flash-hole.

There are other problems with the lead-free priming compounds absorbing water on a humid day. This is not a big deal for factory ammo where they can seal the primers good. But if a manufacturer's reputation is riding on the product and some reload has 1,000 primer sitting on a shelf in a damp basement for months . . . the manufacturer may hesitate to make these primers available.

From what I gather it sounds as though the biggest problems are lead vapor and lead dust. Lead vapor can be easily controlled by shooting outdoors and/or proper ventilation indoors. But the lead dust is a little more difficult to deal with. I can control the dust during tumbling by moistening the media or adding dryer sheets or sweeping compound, I can do the tumbling outdoors. But how do you control the dust generated by depriming?

I use a Lee Turret press and I'd hate like heck to deprime somewhere other than the press. And the Turret press I have sends those spend primers all over tarnation. I'm wondering if anyone has any good solutions to control dust while depriming?

As for casting, my understanding is the lead should not be vaporizing. You're more at risk from the dust from lead oxides generated from dross and lead bars sitting around. That's easy to control simply by wearing gloves while casting (should be doing that anyway) and putting the dross directly in the garbage. I don't believe that the exploding powder really generated all that much lead vapor while shooting cast bullets. My bet is that if you simply switched to lead free primers that would take care of it. Unless you're getting lots of blow-by or leading in the barrel - then you're generating lead vapor. But then you'll likely correct the problem because those types of loads don't shoot worth a hoot.

Black Jaque Janaviac
February 1, 2008, 06:28 PM
Am I overly paranoid about this stuff?

Probably.

Think dust and vapor and ingestion/inhalation routes. If your clothes carry some lead dust and you visit your buddy who has kids and they tug at your pant legs they're probably getting some minute amount of lead. BUT unless you make it a daily, or weekly habit of visiting your buddy in those same clothes those kids are not at risk. It's your own kids who you see every day that are more at risk.

Aged In Oak
February 1, 2008, 07:59 PM
I noticed a few people inquiring about lead-free primers. I looked into that a month or so ago and learned why they aren't readily available to the reloader market.

The lead free priming compound behaves differently than the lead styphinate. As a result some of the non-toxic factory ammo producers learned that they needed to enlarge the flash hole. So I guess they had problems when using a lead-free primer with a standard flash-hole.

There are other problems with the lead-free priming compounds absorbing water on a humid day. This is not a big deal for factory ammo where they can seal the primers good. But if a manufacturer's reputation is riding on the product and some reload has 1,000 primer sitting on a shelf in a damp basement for months . . . the manufacturer may hesitate to make these primers available.

Thanks for the interesting info on non-toxic primers. I'd been looking for some just to try out in reloading. Supposedly Magtech and PMC both manufacture and sell them, but I haven't been able to find any ANYWHERE, online or in stores. The problems with them you mention are interesting. I was wondering why Federal, Speer, Winchester, etc. made cleanfire ammo that included non-toxic primers, but wouldn't sell the primers separately!

As for the question of being paranoid, I wouldn't let it keep me up at night, but it's certainly worth being careful and taking reasonable precautions when shooting, cleaning, and reloading. There's no question that getting lead into your system is bad news, so the more you can limit your exposure the better, I say.

Black Jaque Janaviac
February 4, 2008, 11:23 AM
As for the question of being paranoid, I wouldn't let it keep me up at night, but it's certainly worth being careful and taking reasonable precautions when shooting, cleaning, and reloading. There's no question that getting lead into your system is bad news, so the more you can limit your exposure the better, I say.

I guess the paranoia is defined by how far you go to limit your exposure. Wearing a "moon-suit" to the shooting range would certainly limit your exposure, but I think that exhibits a tinge of paranoia.

I just ran some tests on the interior surfaces of my make-shift fume hood for casting bullets. The soot that builds up from fluxing (wax burning) has lead in it. So whatever they say about melting lead not sending lead airborne is not true. The lead may never reach boiling temperature, but the flames and smoke from fluxing can carry lead particulates up.

The fume hood does a good job at keeping the fumes out of my face and out of the garage. I have a special set of leather gloves which are dedicated to casting bullets only. I also wear a shop apron; however upon testing the soot I think I will go to Goodwill and pick up an old jean-jacket which will become my dedicated casting smock. It's quite simple. Put on the clothes while casting. Take 'em off when done. Lead stays on the clothes, in the garage.

MikePGS
February 20, 2008, 06:26 PM
I'd been looking for some just to try out in reloading. Supposedly Magtech and PMC both manufacture and sell them, but I haven't been able to find any ANYWHERE, online or in stores
Try midwayusa.com for Magtech's clean range lead-free primers.

Aged In Oak
February 20, 2008, 10:19 PM
Try midwayusa.com for Magtech's clean range lead-free primers.

No success there. They sell Magtech primers, but not the Cleanrange variety, at least according to the website. Also checked in with their customer service department, who said they don't carry them and have no plans to at present.

Aged In Oak
February 20, 2008, 10:26 PM
Try midwayusa.com for Magtech's clean range lead-free primers.

No success there. They sell Magtech primers, but not the Cleanrange variety, at least according to the website. Also checked in with their customer service department, who said they don't carry them and have no plans to at present.

infantrytrophy
February 21, 2008, 03:06 PM
Great posts in this thread.

I am a physician (retired) but have no specific expertise in lead-related toxicology other than that learned many years ago in medical school. Lead is a cumulative toxin, so prevention is preferable to treatment after exposure. Common sense measures do help to prevent tissue accumulation, mainly through inhalation and ingestion.

As a common sense approach, it seems prudent to ensure that your indoor range is ventilated. Our local indoor range has a strict policy of not allowing anyone onto the range floor forward of the firing line. Part of the reason for this is related to lead-containing firing residues that accumulate on the floor. Whatever pistol brass that falls forward of the firing line cannot be swept back; it is just left until properly cleared periodically.

When reloading at home, you should avoid breathing dust from the tumbler. Wear gloves during or wash your hands after handling brass from the tumbler. Use of a face mask is not unreasonable.

My reloading press, a Forster Co-Ax press, has a closed system consisting of a tube extending from the ram to a covered plastic cup that captures and stores the decapped primers. This prevents dust from the primers from accumulating on and around the press.

When cleaning or uniforming the primer pockets, use gloves (or wash hands afterwards) and work over a disposable paper towel to catch the primer residue. The paper towel can be discarded immediately afterwards.

Keep up the good work! I am looking forward to others' tips and techniques to avoid or reduce the lead exposure.

MikePGS
February 22, 2008, 09:03 PM
I could've sworn they had them there before...

CrankyCrash
March 4, 2008, 06:50 PM
This is an excellent thread. I've been shooting on a weekly basis for 4+ years and just recently started to reload.

I will be relocating my tumbler to the shed tonight!

Thanks

8200rpm
March 9, 2008, 09:48 PM
I've decided to put reloading on hiatus. I have a 5 month old son. Regrettably, I've been reloading in our living room since my wife was 7 months pregnant. Only recently, I discovered that primers contain lead styphnate, and spent primer residue contains lead.:banghead: Tumbling and separating brass, and decapping are messy operations. Primer residue gets everywhere.

Out of curiosity, I purchased home lead test kits (Homax Lead Check) from Home Depot.

http://www.homaxproducts.com/products/other/04/images/5250_prodimg1.jpg

These are swabs activated by crushing two internal reagent vials. Presence of lead results in a pink/red color. These kits are screening tests only and are not a substitute for real laboratory tests.

Consumer Reports on Home Lead Tests (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/babies-kids/child-safety/indoors/kids-and-lead/lead-in-childrens-products-12-07/testing-the-test-kits/testing-the-test-kits.htm)

Consumer Product Safety Commission on Home Lead Tests (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/lead.pdf)

As a positive control, I swabbed the inside of the plastic box containing soft point bullets. Expectedly, the result was an intense pink/red.

Positive results were also found on...


spent primer catcher on reloading press
plastic bin containing reloading equipment (outside surface)
brass tumbler lid (outside surface)
metal box stored in proximity of reloading press (outside surface)


Negative results on...


Reloading desk (aka computer desk)
Baby swing


I always clean all work areas and thoroughly wash my hands after reloading. My press is mounted to my computer desk only while in active use, and all my equipment is kept in a storage closet. But, why put my child at risk by storing and handling lead in his living quarters. Until I buy a home with a garage or work space separate from the living areas, I will no longer reload inside the home. I'm packing up everything for storage outside the home.

Rugerlvr
April 4, 2008, 12:03 AM
Wow, I was thinking about getting into reloading, but I think I'm gonna wait until my 2 year-old, and my six-month old are much older. I'll just have to chalk up the cost of ammunition as protecting my kids from the dangers of lead from reloading.

DickM
April 9, 2008, 08:54 AM
Interesting thread. I'm a Bullseye shooter primarily, and between competition and training I'm in an indoor range at least a few nights every week. Around here (suburban Boston) most of the ranges we shoot at have terrible ventilation. At my last physical a few weeks ago I asked my doctor to add lead to the list of analytes for my routine blood work and it came back elevated (31 mcg/dl). I'm about the third shooter on my team to get diagnosed with elevated lead and, like the others, I've started shooting with a half-face respirator and P100 filters. The first guy on the team to learn he had a problem did the same about a year ago and his lead level has come down from around 60 to around 20, so I'm optimistic it will get me back into a reasonable range. After a short adjustment period, shooting with a mask is no different than shooting with ear muffs - you pretty much forget you've got it on. We're starting to see a lot more breathing protection on the ranges around here, and with good reason.

375Whelen
April 9, 2008, 10:06 PM
In a previous thread someone said that FIOCCHI make non-toxic primers, and another user said that after calling a few retailers that he could not find anyone selling them. Based on this, today I called FIOCCHI USA and asked them about the availability of non-toxic primers. Here is the skinny:
1. For 15 years FIOCCHI have made non-toxic primers for the Eurpoean market where environmental regulations are more strict than those in the US.
2. FIOCCHI USA do plan to sell non-toxic primers for large and small pistol and rifle (NOT magnum, primers) in the US beginning September 2008. This date could change based, among other things, on US State Department import approvals.
3. FIOCCHI expects these primers to show up in retail first at Graf & Sons and Midway USA.
4. FIOCCHI plan to sell . They do NOT plan to sell MAGNUM PRIMERS for either pistol or rifle.
5. FIOCCHI have not announced pricing, as price can change based on changes in the US dollar vs. Euros, etc.
6. The primers are fully non-toxic; they have not replaced lead with some other heavy metal.
7. FIOCCHI USA do not have load data yet, and do not know if the load data will vary from standard load data. However, they have been making 40 S&W, among other calibers for some time, so the data do exist. They do plan to provide load data.
8. FIOCCHI USA state that standard flash hole sizes will work.

I found the lady with whom I talked very nice, cooperative and helpful.

Here is a link to the FIOCCHI USA website:
http://www.fiocchiusa.com/Contacts.html

I want to thank those who have contributed to this thread! It is both alarming and helpful. Since I shoot frequently in USPSA and also hunt, I plan to assess the entire shoot-reload-shoot activity cycle for opportunities to reduce lead exposure to me, my family, and to others, and may post my progress here if people would find it useful.

In the short-term, I plan to move tumbling operations outside, use a mask approved by OSHA to limit lead dust (I'll research this with mask manufacturers), move reloading operations from inside the house into the garage, and wash my hands after shooting in matches and at the range where I pick up a lot of brass. While unfair, when given a choice of tasks to volunteer for at matches, I'll choose pasting targets and timing shooters over picking up brass. I'm going to add a lead blood level test to my physical exam. I'll leave my range bag in the garage, and possibly have a dedicated set of range shoes to leave in the garage.

I am still unsure of the best way to dispose of contaminated reloading materials, but will research. I do not want my yard to become a mini-EPA superfund site, nor expose other people to unreasonable risks.

This has also encouraged me to select less- or non-toxic chemicals for weapons cleaning due to the frequent exposure that comes from shooting in matches 2-3 times per month - it all adds up.

As an aside, I am quite conservative politically, and do have a background in healthcare. My hope is that by looking at each step in the shoot, recover brass, clean brass, reload, shoot cycle, I can find opportunities to dramatically reduce the amount of lead to which I expose myself and others, and validate these changes with feasible tests (periodic blood tests, surface area tests, etc.)

---------------Update on PMC primers---------------

UPDATE 20070410: Bottom line: PMC does not, and has no plans to sell non-toxic primers.

Background: Talked today with a man at PMC, which used to sell non-toxic primers that they imported from Russia. See this old and no-longer accurate press release:

http://www.bluewaterbiggame.com/new_products/pmc_non-toxic_primers_2003.cfm

PMC withdrew the primers from the market becuase there were unspecified problems with them. At this time, due to the price of component materials, and the difficulty of making money given the cost, PMC does not sell any components, and has no plans to sell any components, including non-toxic primers.

---------------Update on Magtech ---------------
Magtech offer Clean Range ammo, so I contacted them to see if they sell, or plan to sell non-toxic primers. Talked with Troy today, and he was very helpful. Magtech have a non-toxic small pistol primer, but they need to perfect the packaging that will provide the shelf life that their customers want before they can sell the primers as a component to reloaders. They have an active effort to develop this packaging, but do not have dates for completion at this time. In their loaded ammo, cost is about 8-10% higher, but they do not have pricing yet for the non-toxic small pistol primers.

Magtech website:
http://www.magtechammunition.com/sitepages/pid62.php

---------------Effectiveness of using TSP to remove lead Dusts from Hard Surfaces---------------

UPDATE 20070410: On using TSP to remove lead dust: Various government agencies have stated that one can use TSP to improve the removel of lead dust. Of course, when we deprime or tumble we create lead dust.

According to a 2005 publication in a scientific journal, all-purpose household detergents can work as well as TSP. Vaccuming should be done with a HEPA vaccume first.

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/esthag/2006/40/i02/abs/es050803s.html

My take: Since I can buy concentrated lead removal liquid at a reasonable price, I'll use that since it is proven effective and moderate in price. See below information on Esca-Tech products.

---------------Information on how to reduce lead contamination---------------

I did some research to answer the question for myself: What products can I use to conveniently remove lead from my hands at the range, after reloading, and dust from surfaces related to reloading, such as the reloading press, bench, floor, and brass tumbler.

As a result, I found a company that began making products for companies that use lead in their manufacturing process, such as battery companies. They were smart enough to learn of the needs of shooters, and understand shooters’ needs.

I just had a great conversation with George at Esca-Tech. Esca-Tech offer disposable and surface wipes in plastic canisters and individual use envelopes (think baby wipes for lead removal); hand/body soap, laundry soap, lead test kits for skin and surfaces, and solutions for cleaning various surfaces, such as concrete floors, wood, etc.

I asked if they had a product to pre-clean fired brass. For example, mix a solution in a 5-gallon bucket with water to reduce lead dust on fired brass before tumbling. He said that they had not tested this for effectiveness, or for effect on the strength of the brass, but that they would discuss it.

He also said they offer limited sponsorship of shooting clubs with samples of their products. E-mail them for more information.

I was impressed with their knowledge and helpfulness. I did order several of the products and will try them. I’ll use the surface test kit to test my cleaning technique of my hands and surfaces. While some of the initial quantities are a bit larger, it's like stocking up on anything else, and I'll try to share with shooting buddies, as we do with primers and powder. However, if I cannot share product orders, I'll buy it anyway. It's a no brainer to protect my brain and nervous system, and to protect my family members as well.

Here is the website where you can get product and contact information:
http://www.esca-tech.com/index.html

Here is contact information:
ESCA Tech, Inc.
3747 North Booth Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212
Phone: (414) 962-5323
(877) 532-5323
Fax: (414) 962-7003
E-mail: cservice@esca-tech.com

Below are some product images:

Respiratory protection while habdeling tumblers and brass seperators, and possibly de-priming brass

Ideally, one would sample the concentration of the lead dust in the air while seperating tumbled brass from the media. But assuming that I'll do this outdoors, limiting duration and concentration exposure as much as possible, looks like the North Safety 7700 series half-face mask respirator and P100 HEPA filter will do the job (about $25 bucks for the whole rig, plus shipping, or visit your local inductrial safety shop to try things on for size):

http://www.airgas.com/browse/product.aspx?Msg=RecID&recIds=47823&WT.svl=47823
http://www.airgas.com/browse/product.aspx?Msg=RecID&recIds=13230

These masks are sized by face size, so check your size.

The filters are removable, which is nice, because they are replacable, and you can buy filters for painting, ammonia, etc.

You can determine which gloves and respirators will protect you from specific chemicals by going to the product selector at the North Safety site:
http://www.northsafety.com/

To determine what you need to protect yourself from, don't guess! Go to the manufacturer's website, for say bore cleaner, primers, etc., and download the Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS. See section 7 and also see what chemicals the product contains.

For example, if you Google "winchester primer msds" you can quickly find this link:
http://www.winchester.com/pdf/MsdsPDF/msds_w60.pdf

While I think Winchester does not do a good job of identifying risks associated with cleaning spent brass, they do identify the chemicals in the primers. Use thin information to select a mask and/or gloves, etc.

GaryL
April 18, 2008, 10:00 AM
375Whelen - thanks for posting up that info.

okeybug
April 23, 2008, 12:19 AM
I've been using lynotype and ww lead to pour bullets for years now. I've cast many thousands over the years. I'm a science teacher and I have known about the dangers of lead for some time. The other day I went in for my blood work, part of my annual physical, and I decided to have my lead levels checked.
I have never had a lead test done and my doctor thought it was a good idea. Come to fine out my lead levels were very low. .4 out of a scale of 0 - 24. I feel people are over reacting to the lead thing. If you use a good fan to blow away any vapors while fluxing and use one of the modern fluxs like Mervolux from Brownells, and of course, wash your hands before ingesting anything, you'll be fine. Lead poisoning cannot be gotten through the skin.
It has to be ingested by breathing the vapors from fluxing or by
eating, smoking with lead on the hands.

375Whelen
April 23, 2008, 02:16 PM
Just got my lead test results back and the level is 4. Not sure if okeybug meant 0.4 or 4.0. I asked the doc to give me a paper copy so I can read it for myself.

Most of my exposure comes from firing while moving (inhalation) at the range, from picking up brass, and from reloading (tumbling brass, depriming, etc.).

Reflecting on whether or not I am "over-reacting" here are my thoughts for myself:
1. The cost of the D-Lead disposable wipes is pretty low, ($4.50/40 even when buying small quantities at Brownells), and I like using these at the range at matches between stages.

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/Store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=21601

Other people seem to like using them as well. Wiping lead off my hands is easy and cheap, so I'll do it.

2. Tumbling outside in the yard vs in the garage or house is easy and simple. An extension cord is all that's involved.

3. Using a HEPA respirator to separate brass from tumbling media is a $25 expense that lasts for years, and I use the respirator with other filters for other things, like painting, so this is easy, cheap and simple.

4. Wiping down my reloading bench and press with D-Lead wipes is also easy, simple and cheap. Wearing disposable gloves is also easy and cheap.

5. I have an RCBS Lock-N-Load progressive press that drops ejected primers into a plastic tube. I put the end of this tube into an old Cool-Whip bowl with water in it to limit dust. Pretty simple.

Also, the only way that I can measure the effects of my exposure is the blood test and occasional surface tests. Only after getting the results am I able to determine if my control measures are effective or not.

So, I am happy with the measures I have implemented; I find them simple, easy, and cheap. My nervous system and kidneys, etc. are worth it to me, and I still have many years of shooting ahead (God willing)!

okeybug
April 25, 2008, 02:49 PM
no my test results was .4, which is just a trace. If you just use a little common sense and wash after pouring and use a fan as I do in the garage, I think you're gonna be allright.

TEDDY
May 3, 2008, 08:36 PM
I am 84 today have loaded and cast since 1939.had lead checked yrs ago when the big push was on,docs dont seem to know any thing about lead.if you want the skinny get the NRA they have done extensive research.most of it has to do with children eating paint off the house trim.zinc tablets amalgam with lead and leach out.iron tablets displace where lead stores.dont smoke drink or eat without washing hands.
actually you should not cast as you take ww away from me.:neener:
its like lead in ground will contaminate water.actually the lead gets a corrosion on it that wont leach.NRA tests.
stop getting you info from posters as they dont know and the docs post says he does not know.I have done some prelim search and been checked so I dont bother any more.:uhoh::confused::D

375Whelen
May 4, 2008, 11:37 PM
What is becoming clear to me is that each of us is responsible for understanding and mitigating risks, and using a blood lead test to determine the effectiveness of your control measures.

It is interesting that one person says "it will be allright" when he seems to take less precautions that I, yet my blood level is 10x his level. There are many material variables: frequency of shooting, and probably a hundred others as well. Should I take the advice of someone who does not know how much I shoot? I shot about 800 rounds last week alone, and handled every piece of brass three times.

As to not considering information from other posters, I disagree. I have learned much from reading others' posts. I have also done my own homework. In addition, I was a nurse for 10 years, have over 10 years' of college, including a science master's degree (4.0 GPA), and so I feel that I can determine the credibility of sources and do my own research, and properly apply it. Other people on this forum are better educated than am I.

The bottom line, in my mind, is this: Understand the risks of shooting and reloading, take reasonable precautions to mitigate your risks, and assess the effectiveness of you control measures with a baseline and follow-up blood level tests, and repeat them at an appropriate frequency.

You are responsible for your health; don't let other people play their home movies into your life.

Rico567
May 6, 2008, 10:15 PM
A good thread; what I visit shooting forums to read. I agree with "okeybug," however. There are reasonable precautions, stemming from understanding, and then there are precautions which guard against nonexistent threats. I both shoot and reload, and have reloaded for 40 years. For 20 of those years, I cast bullets, quitting about 15 years ago for a variety of reasons. I have never had any reason to have my blood tested. All the activities connected with reloading have always been apart from the living area of the house, and I take suitable precautions to ensure that there is no contamination carried in there. What I do has worked for me for quite a few years, and I don't plan to change. Am I going to start wearing a respirator? No. If I believed that my reloading activities required a respirator, I'd quit tomorrow.

Peter M. Eick
May 11, 2008, 04:39 PM
This thread got me interested enough to get mine lead levels checked. Since I shoot around 12,000 rnds a year give or take, I figured I would be up a bit since most are lead revolver rounds.

I was shocked when mine came back at 1.1. They ran two samples to be sure, but yep, 1.1.

I guess I can rack it up to shooting outside and following proper rules of handling and cleaning up afterwords. I will start measuring it every couple of years just to make sure.

I suggest you all get it checked because you cannot really guess. Oh by the way, my doc had to order special receptacle and gear for the test as it is not a commonly done one. No big deal financially, but you did have to warn them before hand to get the resources in.

Bear41mag
May 21, 2008, 02:57 PM
My lead level was 37 recently, so I started the vitamin C and quit shooting in our indoor ( not ventilated so good) range at the club. Started using a respirator when smelting my lead and cleaning my brass.

I also have purchased some D-Lead wipes to use at the range and on my reloading bench to clean up the residue. I also got some of the D-Lead soap that I keep on the sink by my gun room and upstairs in the bathroom and use it religously. I also carry a bottle in my range bag to wash up after each range session.

Hopefully in a couple months I will be back to normal (lead level at least :rolleyes:)

hatchetbearer
May 29, 2008, 07:04 PM
I used to work in a Lead acid battery recycling plant, shoot in an indoor range and cast musket balls, when i left that job, my lead level in my blood was 73ppb, 40 was paid layoff. my only symptom was tiredness. take Vit. C and eat alot of cilantro. we were also told to lay off pop (soda) and drink water and Gatorade instead. given time, your lead will go down. Until then have a laugh at the "plenty of lead in my pencil" jokes (not very high road i know, but when the shoe fits....)

PowderApe
June 10, 2008, 10:28 PM
For those interested in the technical aspects of lead exposure:

http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic293.htm

Kids are more at risk because their brains and nervous system is still developing-
Ingestion and inhalation are the usual culprits

Old School
July 8, 2008, 05:26 PM
Great thread for sure. I will definately consider all of the different sources of lead poisoning related to ammo. I will also look at any indoor ranges I use with a critical eye now. I actually prefer the outdoor range, it is just a longer drive. Now that drive is even more worth it for me.

rapier5316
July 24, 2008, 03:57 PM
without wading through 5 pages where this info. may be, you might check out www.longevityplus.com and look for their Essential Daily Defense product.

KeithCarter
August 7, 2008, 06:04 PM
I am a Registered Nurse, Lab Tech (do tests for lead), a former high-school physics teacher, and and have a lead casting business.

We Americans are a bunch of hypochondriacs. We are deathly afraid of that which we don't understand, and do a bunch of foolish things to keep "safe".

We had two guys that handled and cast lead every day all day indoors for two years. A test showed normal levels.

Wash it off your hands. Don't put fingers in your mouth (smoking). As was said, lead primers are the problem much more than bullets. So only shoot in well ventilated areas or outdoors.

That's all it takes. No big deal. Don't breathe it and don't eat it, and you won't have any problems.

But I notice here we all have our favorite preventative and cure-all. That's cute, but it's also silly and expensive.

Keith Carter, MLT/ascp RN BS
NRA Life

snuffy
August 8, 2008, 12:37 AM
Wash it off your hands. Don't put fingers in your mouth (smoking). As was said, lead primers are the problem much more than bullets. So only shoot in well ventilated areas or outdoors.

That's all it takes. No big deal. Don't breathe it and don't eat it, and you won't have any problems.

But I notice here we all have our favorite preventative and cure-all. That's cute, but it's also silly and expensive.

Keith Carter, MLT/ascp RN BS

Hooray! Finally someone who knows everyday real world experience. Like I said earlier, much to do about nothing.

I don't know if it was here or over on TFL, but after years of casting/loading and shooting lead boolits, i had a lead test. That lead test read out at 5.0! Real good considering my exposure.

MAGNUM44
September 13, 2008, 04:35 AM
not only shooting lead bulletts what about people who do casting of lead bulletts and are breathing in the molten lead when they are casting etc ?

taprackbang
September 17, 2008, 06:55 PM
With HIPPA, like many other rules in the health care industry, there are areas that include mandatory reporting.

Whatever we do lets not report testing, but Big brother Big Daddy Government can do whatever it wants and break whatever law it wants. Welcome to our wonderful America.

Loomis
September 17, 2008, 07:13 PM
I'm not going to read all the posts to see if anyone knows about this or if it was already posted.

But the fastest way to lower your blood lead level (or any other heavy metals for that matter) is to drain out some of your blood. Obviously, you can only drain out so much and then you must wait for your body to replace what is lost, or else get a transfusion. But the replacement blood is lead free.

So if you regularly donate blood, you will be continuously losing heavy metals and your heavy metal concentration in your blood will never rise to dangerous levels.

Think about it. It's a good reason to start donating blood regularly...even if it is for selfish reasons. Maybe you shouldn't donate while you are currently above the safe level of lead concentration, but once you are down to a safe level you could start donating as a pre-emptive or preventative measure.

Trustin
October 21, 2008, 02:33 AM
it's EXTREMELY hard to get lead poisoning, people who get it arer not taking necessary precautions, if it was absolutely harmful to everyone it would be regulated like asbestos.

WASH YOUR HANDS!

jcwit
November 2, 2008, 02:27 PM
Breathing in the molten lead. DAMM THAT WOULD HURT

Hairballusmaximus
November 11, 2008, 04:33 AM
One thing not mentioned is this: Some people are more susceptable than others!! I am allergic to bees, my wife and kids are not, I am allergic to pennecillin, my wife and kids are not, wife and daughter are allergic to latex, my sons and I are not. Some smokers live to 100 years with no cancer and some die as early as 30+ or - years. We all absorb at different rates and eliminate at different rates. I use some but not all the precautions and I was tested 6 mo ago after casting over 40,000 bullets in my shop and I wasnt told the actual # but was told I was extremely low and had no worries. I plan to get checked about once a year to keep on top of it.

I firmly believe that some are way more sensitive or"allergic" you might say to lead than others. This is just my HO.

Take whatever precautions you feel are necessary, and get checked.

Shrinkmd
December 28, 2008, 02:12 PM
What do people think about depriming prior to tumbling to cut down on lead dust? Also, is the RCBS Sidewinder a good idea? Since the lid is tight fitting (allegedly) and can use liquid media instead of corncob or walnut husk. I don't want to spend that much for a tumbler, but to lower lead exposure (especially dust) it would be worth it to me.

Hairballusmaximus
December 30, 2008, 06:14 AM
Just go down to your local hobby shop and get what I call 'wing saddle tape' its foam rubber tape 1/4" wide and about 1/16" thick and self adhesive on one side. Place in sealing groove on tumbler lid and no more dust.

R.Clem
January 28, 2009, 04:49 PM
Having read only part of the posts on this subject, some of what I say has probably already been mentioned.
I spent some of my younger life, like the 2nd threw 4th grade in the Kellogg, ID area, at that time the lead and silver capital of the world. The river there ran gray, picture a gray crayon flowing by your class room window, 24/7. I returned there in 1995 to see what the clean-up was doing, the rivers and streams leading from the smelters and mines are now pristine looking, they would not support aquatic life at that time, but I understand they will now. At about age 24 I got a job at a lead smelter on Harbour Island in Seattle. Before going to work for these folks I had to test for lead exposure, it was elevated. After working for this company about a year, I got really ill, I won't try to explain all of what went on, but, the key thing was my temper became very short and I was very violent. According to my doctor, this is a sign of advanced lead poisoning. I spent 7 days in the hospital having my blood cleaned, at the end of the hospital stay my blood lead level was less than when I went to work for the company smelting lead. That was nearly 40 years ago. Now every physical has a blood/lead count, it is still higher than average, but I feel good and have no evident problems.
I still cast my hand gun bullets and shoot them on a regular basis. I only shoot out doors and then make sure that the breeze is not blowing in my face. I do not shoot plain base bullets, except in my 45-70, gas checks are the order of the day, always. recently I purchased a Sharps reproduction which I shoot black powder substitutes in, I did a considerably amount of investigation into this before I started shooting those big plain base bullets that are required for this caliber, and found that the use of a wad under the bullet and over the powder is required to get good accuracy, it helps or prevents the hot powder charge from from burning the lead from the base of the bullet. As a test I fired some rounds without the wad, I was really amazed at the amount of lead loss from these bullets, the high was 3 grains, all from one side of the bullet base. Before somebody asks, they were fired into wet news print, the deformation of the bullet was very minimal, and the total loss for the 5 rounds fired was 12.2 grains of lead.
Anyway, to continue on, I started experimenting with wads and plain base bullets in one of my .44's. The loss of lead on the plain base without a wad is substantial but doesn't seem to be extreme, (if you can call a .5 to 1 grain loss insignificant, that is per bullet), however, if I spend some extra time and a little more effort and cut some wads from old milk jugs and put them over the powder before seating the bullet, the lead loss is none existent. This is worth a try, it doesn't eliminate the lead exposure from the lead bullets, but it does cut it down considerably.
I hope this helps some of you, give it a try or shoot gas checks only, but always shoot out doors with lead bullets, and make sure the breeze is not blowing in your face. If you have to shoot indoors, by all means shoot only bullets which have a total copper jacket.
Your health is important, if you don't protect it you won't be able to do what all of us here like to do. SHOOTING!

elktrout
February 15, 2009, 10:39 AM
This thread really interests me in understanding the effect of gas checks. Do they really reduce the lead gas plume that much?

I used to shoot lead bullets from my revolvers years ago and stopped doing so because the inside and outside of the gun had a "baked on" layer of gray junk that took an hour or more of scrubbing to remove. I deducted that it was from the hot gases burning the lead. I have shot jacketed ever since.

Some questions for all of you:

1. Do the gas checks reduce this phenomenon and keep the gun cleaner?

2. Do the plated bullets do a better job of it?

3. How much do the plated bullets leave the bore with copper build up, since they seem so much softer than a jacketed bullet?

Thanks.

Hatchet1961
February 21, 2009, 08:56 PM
Lead: Always wash your hands after shooting,
reloading or handling any cartridges bullets or primers.

NOTE:
Wash your hands first in COLD water with soap.
Then in Warm water with soap.
(So you get most of the lead off without opening your skins pores by using warm or hot soap and water.

snuffy
February 22, 2009, 01:54 AM
NOTE:
Wash your hands first in COLD water with soap.
Then in Warm water with soap.
(So you get most of the lead off without opening your skins pores by using warm or hot soap and water.

NOTE; Lead cannot be absorbed through the skin, no matter whether the pores are open or not.

The precautions about washing hands is to prevent contamination of food handled by your hands. Or when you rub your eyes or nose, that gives lead access to your body by ingestion.

JohnKSa
February 22, 2009, 04:40 PM
Lead cannot be absorbed through the skin...If you mean "lead" as in "metallic lead" then this is correct. If, on the other hand, you mean "lead" as in "commonly occuring compounds containing lead" then it's not.

cliffy
February 22, 2009, 11:31 PM
Lead inhalation is slightly less detrimental than asbestos inhalation. Asbestos inhalation is less a health issue than Carbon Monoxide inhalation. Yet within EXTREMES available, all are deadly. Black Lung Death from working beneath the ground in coal mines is Number One as a surefire, mizerable death. Being eaten by a modern day WOLF serves adequately well. Automobile accidents create the most human havoc to date. Smoking cigarettes ranks way up there, however. How much governmental control should it take to determine our methods of death? Death by Wolf has not yet been "controlled" by governmental action. Soviet, Socialist, Insane control will control our deaths soon, so why worry about mere WOLF intervention? cliffy

EHL
April 19, 2009, 02:29 PM
So I gotta ask, is casting bullets "safe"? I've read too many stories of guys who's eyes went crooked from years of casting bullets in their garage. Should I be outdoors with absolutley no inclosure? Just looking for tips cuz I'm looking at getting into casting my own bullets but I don't wanna go cross eyed to save a few pennies.

jfh
May 19, 2009, 11:48 AM
1. In June 2007 I resumed reloading after a 10-year hiatus. Prior to this date, I'd had no recent contact with lead. Of the nominal 25,000 handgun rounds I loaded over the next 18 months, approximately 23,000 were loaded with lead bullets. Perhaps 20,000 rounds were loaded on my (Lee) turret, and perhaps 5,000 rounds were loaded on a Load-Master. No bullet feeders were used, IOW.

Of these rounds, about 18,000 were fired at our club outdoor range, and about 2-3,000 were fired at a well-ventilated indoor range during the winter of 2008. I practiced no typical health precautions--no gloves, etc.--and would not usually remember to wash my hands before smoking. No clothing changes were done after shooting, etc. In sum, I practiced normal hygiene.

2. In June of 2008, I had my blood tested for lead. The lead level was 24-25--or at the upper edge of 'normal.' I loaded little over the next few months, but shot perhaps 1200-1800 rounds a month until mid-November, none inddors, and NO shooting after that.

3. In January 2009, the lead testing was done again. It had fallen to 16--i.e, well within the typical range.

I experience no symptoms I could attribute to lead poisoning. However, I do have other health issues ongoing that could mask such symptoms, I think. My own guess is that there are no issues with lead poisoning. Personally, I would consider Radagast's report to be strictly subjective for anecdotal symptoms--but we really don't know, since no testing was done.

Long-term elevated lead levels are an issue, but I personally think that the issue has been overblowen for the usual activism concerns. That is, lead poisoning issues are partly a political issue to promote increased governmental regulation.

Were I to shoot exclusively--and frequently--at an indoor range, I would probably use more jacketed bullets.

Jim H.

DickM
May 27, 2009, 11:24 AM
Interesting thread. I'm a Bullseye shooter primarily, and between competition and training I'm in an indoor range at least a few nights every week. Around here (suburban Boston) most of the ranges we shoot at have terrible ventilation. At my last physical a few weeks ago I asked my doctor to add lead to the list of analytes for my routine blood work and it came back elevated (31 mcg/dl). I'm about the third shooter on my team to get diagnosed with elevated lead and, like the others, I've started shooting with a half-face respirator and P100 filters. The first guy on the team to learn he had a problem did the same about a year ago and his lead level has come down from around 60 to around 20, so I'm optimistic it will get me back into a reasonable range. After a short adjustment period, shooting with a mask is no different than shooting with ear muffs - you pretty much forget you've got it on. We're starting to see a lot more breathing protection on the ranges around here, and with good reason.

I'm quoting my own post from just over a year ago to save you the trouble of scrolling back to find it.

I've just received the results from the blood test associated with my annual physical and my serum lead is now down to 11.8 mcg/dl, which is just barely high enough to be considered "elevated," and is much reduced from the 31 mcg/dl result of a year ago. I haven't changed the amount of shooting I do indoors (maybe increased, if anything), but I have been religious about wearing the respirator and washing my hands after shooting and reloading. These were very simple steps to take and I now would no more shoot without my respirator than I would without glasses or hearing protection. Wearing the respirator has become such a habit that I hardly even need to think about it, and I can now pursue my hobby without fear of compromising my health.

I've seen several posts in the intervening year about how lead is not that much of a personal health concern. I've read some of the scientific literature on this issue and, as a practicing environmental toxicologist, I know how the numbers were developed and what they mean. Shooting indoors in poorly ventilated ranges without respiratory protection is essentially equivalent to smoking cigarettes, driving without a seatbelt, or leaving a loaded gun around for your kids to play with - you may be one of the lucky ones and not suffer the consequences, but only a fool would count on it.

Beagle-zebub
May 30, 2009, 04:38 PM
So how much do blood lead-level tests cost? (Not that I'm not willing to pay, but just wondering.)

DickM
May 30, 2009, 04:54 PM
So how much do blood lead-level tests cost?

I don't have any idea. I have an HMO with a $20 co-pay and had my tests done in conjunction with my annual physical, so I never saw any itemized bill. I doubt that it's very expensive compared to other types of testing, but with medical costs these days being what they are, who knows?

zapped
June 7, 2009, 10:23 PM
Would a air filter help to catch any lead dust that did get released into the air while de-priming or casting?

JohnKSa
June 7, 2009, 10:50 PM
Lead dust will not stay in the air long enough to be filtered out. It is heavy and will settle out of the air very rapidly onto exposed surfaces.

What is far more of a concern is lead vapor created by heating the lead well past its melting point. If you're doing that then you should be working outside. If you can't work outside (and assuming that some level of lead contamination is acceptable in the environment where you're working) there should be some sort of ventilation/filtration system that keeps the air moving past you to carry the vapor away from you and toward the vent/filtration system. I don't know what sort of filter you need for that task.

Venado
July 12, 2009, 01:35 PM
I have a client that use to work in a foundry, something to do with lead. He was taught to take a shower after work and drink cranberry juice. He told me the cranberry juice flushed the lead right out of the body.

gvrj77
July 20, 2009, 09:48 AM
Reading this whole thread has gotten me sooooo spooked/paranoid. I don't even want to touch a gun much less reload. What are some real world things I can do to limit my exposure to lead. I always shoot at an outdoor range and sometimes due to weather conditions I shoot at the same range under a tin roof structure. I strictly use lead bullets to reload & I tumble in my garage. I reload in a separate room from the tumbler & usually have a window air conditioner running. I use a dust mask to remove the spent cases from the tumbler but that wasn't always the case. I haven't used gloves to handle the lead bullets or cases while reloading or sorting. Did I track lead everywhere by touching the bullets / cases and then touch everything else? Do I have traces of lead on my door knobs & reloading press knobs? should i buy the lead wipes & clean everything now and then after I am done reloading also? I read that after you go shooting that lead clings to your hair and mustache & you should always blow your nose and was up after you shoot & then bath washing your hair because your don't want to contaminate everything at the house including your bed pillow. Should I just use plated bullets & non lead primers? I just started this sport in April & love it but now I am spooked!! Someone in the know please give me some good advise. :confused:

jcwit
July 20, 2009, 11:00 AM
What in heavens name are you spooked about. I just did a quick skim over this thread and most "granted not all" state that they have low numbers, even after casting, reloading, and shooting lead bullets for years even decades. Lead in the form of a bullet or in metal form is almost imposible to be absorbed into the body by an adult. Remember many people used to carry a lead ball or bullet in their body for the rest of their life before modern surgery. If you have young children in your home as in pre-teen then some extra precautions would be in order.

Shooting in an indoor range also exposes one to lead "compounds" from the primers, and also some lead vapor from the bullet base. Compounds here is the key word, some of these can be absorbed into the body.

If you are REALLY concerned get your blood tested every so often, there ways to remove the lead from the body, its not the end of the world. My blood is tested 5 times a year and my lead levels are extremally low "sgl. didgets". My testing is done for reasons other that shooting or casting, but I still have the lead levels ran.

In the final analysis, enjoy your sport, use common sense and wash your hands, don't pick your nose, if you smoke you have bigger problems than lead to worry about. Be somewhat careful around the tumbler as this also has the primer residue in it and in the dust. But again use common sense, just keep the lid on when its running and don't toss the media around when seperating the brass.

Best of luck and stay off the highway, you're in more danger there with everybody on their cell phones and texing.

persing
July 24, 2009, 12:15 PM
I would reply to this as a lead exposed human race since the first lead was smelted. We ate it in our game before there ever was a grocery store for duck pheasant and goose?
What about all the deer our fore fathers ate.
Boy look at the impact on our brains? Was it 100 years ago horse and carrage were still used and look now. Atom bomb,instant travel, rocket car's.
I think all the lead over the hundreds of years must have made the human population smarter? Everything is Bad for you now, stop breathing air is bad to. Nancy Peloci could be sold that one, I wish they would try it out, and kick the bucket.

KP

jfh
July 31, 2009, 09:17 AM
RECAP: About twenty-six months ago I started reloading again. Over a period of about eightteen months I loaded some 28-30,000 rounds, of which 95% or so were lead bullets. Approximately 25,000 of these rounds have been shot--about 22,000 at an outdoor range, and 3,000 at a well-ventilated indoor range.

During this period, I took no undue safety precautions--wore no masks, gloves, etc. I neglected to regularly wash my hands when I took a break to have a cigarette, nor religiously washed my hands after reloading or shooting.

Baseline: none available--but historically I have had a level around 10.

After 14 months: about 18,000 rounds loaded; blood level = 25.

After 20 months: another 7-10,000 rounds; blood level = 17

After 26 months: another 1,000 rounds loaded; 12


In short, lead levels can be a health issue--but I think jcwit's post two above summarizes the anecdotal experience pretty well about dealing with lead.

Jim H.

kansas coyote
July 31, 2009, 09:30 AM
I have always been told that lead really only effects children since their brains are still developing any experts (doctors the like) care to give the skinney is that an old whives tale ?

JohnKSa
July 31, 2009, 10:54 PM
It is potentially more damaging to children and they're not as tolerant as adults but adults can definitely be adversely affected if the levels are high enough.

DickM
August 4, 2009, 05:17 PM
I have always been told that lead really only effects children since their brains are still developing any experts (doctors the like) care to give the skinney is that an old whives tale ?

I'm not a doctor, nor would I consider myself to be an expert on lead, but I am an environmental toxicologist who has some familiarity with the technical literature on lead exposure and effects. JohnKSa's post (above) sums it up pretty well.

Dannix
October 7, 2009, 03:18 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but why not "donate" a pint of blood, but instead of donating it dump it down the toilet? That's about 10% of your old blood gone and 10% of the lead badness with it, right?

SSN Vet
October 7, 2009, 04:16 PM
Just had my official "welcome to middle age" physical with my primary care doc and I requested that he add a lead count to my blood work list, so I could get a baseline.

He said he was happy to add it, but that my insurance was likely not going to pay for it, as their was no medical reason for it. I asked how much it would cost, in case I got stuck paying for it and he said $100 to $125.

We had a brief discussion and his take is that Pb used to be ubiquitous. Not just in paint, but in many products as well as belching out of every car's tail pipe. So many people received exposure. And that even though there is a background level of lead in the environment left over today, the average Joe's exposure is several orders of magnitude lower and that instances of non-industrial exposure are quite rare.

I use the clam shell RCBS rotary separator after I tumble my brass to keep the dust down. I try to keep my work area nice and tidy. And I wash my hands first with orange pumice hand cleaner and then with soap and water after re-loading or casting

But even though I figure my odds of significant exposure are pretty low, it's still worth it for me to get the baseline.

SSN Vet
November 12, 2009, 10:21 PM
lab test results came back... < 1

Looks like much to do about nothing. Still glad I did it....

No indications that my health insurance will not pay for it (yet).

Statement shows the cost was $35, which probably reflects the contracted discount.

Now I know.

docsleepy
November 12, 2009, 11:25 PM
I didn't look this up (too much good info in the posts already) but my general take from medical school was that too much of ANY heavy metal is not good. Chelation therapy is slow work, to get the heavy metal to bind to the ingested "chelator" and then be excreted (either urine or feces). I sure would work to reduce exposure with any reasonable effort. Much simpler.

Metals in general are dissolved by acids (turned into ions that are more soluble) and hence the cranberry idea presented above. Vit C in reasonable amounts certainly isn't dangerous.

Gloves where reasonable, avoid obvious dust / fumes. Wash, wash wash. Our range has an outdoor sink and I use it!

I wear gloves when seating lead bullets. From the reading above, I'll be more careful with the spent primer trash -- and maybe when cleaning primer pockets.

I don't tumble, so guess one more reason not to.

I shoot outside and I'll avoid the "plume" a bit more when shooting lead .38 spcl. Take special care to avoid the kids being exposed to un-jacketed bullet fumes.

THANKS for all the info.

J&S Custom Bullets
November 21, 2009, 09:38 PM
I hear that the only people that get lead poisoning are people who shoot all the time, not so much people who are around lead or cast lead bullets.

ckean
November 22, 2009, 02:46 PM
That is not necessarily true. Lead is an inhalation and ingestion hazard. So you can limit both by shooting in properly ventilated areas and by making sure you don't ingest lead dust by washing your hands and clothes. The main problem with working around lead and cast bullet is that there is no visual indication of lead contamination; you can not see how dirty you are or your work area. Most people will discontinue shooting indoors if they think they are inhaling fumes, but unless you start showing health symptoms most reloaders would never know they are being poisoned.

The other problem is that most reloading and casting goes on at home, which greatly increases the likelihood that lead contamination is being spread throughout the home. Some of the bigger residential lead cleanups I have seen have all involved people that were casting lead at home for bullets/fishing weights. Over the course years if they don't follow proper cleanup procedures they end up contaminating their entire house. For example, you get lead dust on you by casting in the garage, and then you wash your hands and face. Then you sit down for dinner and play with the kids and start transferring lead dust to the rest of you house from your clothes and shoes. You do this a couple hundred time over the course of a few years and the lead starts to buildup, and you can not see it.

In an industrial setting if you were casting lead you would not wear you clothes home and you would probably take a shower at work before you left. I work as an industrial hygienist and am a certified lead paint inspector and risk assessor and when we remove lead paint (which has only a fraction of the lead) from homes and buildings the contractors wear full tyvek suits and respirators, and at the end of the shift they leave the contaminated tyvek behind and wash any exposed skin.

Gunman21
November 26, 2009, 08:02 PM
I'm not sure if lead poisoning is something I need to be worried about but I'm sure not going to take the chance if it can be avoided.

I'll go lead free with my primers. midwayusa.com sells Fiocchi 1500 pack for 50 dollars so no big deal.


I am thinking of getting into casting my own bullets. My BIG question is can I be poisoned from just the lead alloy sitting around in my workshop? Will dust float up off the bricks as I walk by?

I am unfamiliar with the procedure of getting pieces of the lead bricks into the molds. Do you just cut some off with a pocket knife? This would be a stage in the process where I would obviously wear gloves but I'm worried about the airborne particles getting in my eyes, mouth, and on my cloths.

Or does the lead have to be vaporized for dust particles to go airborne. When heating the bullets in the cast are lead vapors being released?

Gunman21
November 26, 2009, 08:03 PM
Also how to I cast a bullet with a fully encased copper jacket?

jcwit
November 26, 2009, 11:01 PM
Believe me lead dust is NOT going to float up from you or anyone else walking by.

Now maybe, just maybe you could get some lead dust airborn blowning it with a 250 mph leaf blower!

By the way, pray tell just where is this "dust" coming from? Are you grinding the ingots?

You'll not get any lead vapors from the casting pot at normal casting temps. At the temps get vapors it'll take forever for the bullet to harden in the mold, not time effiicant at all. You'll have to heat the pot up to approx 1000 degrees.

Really you have much more to worry about driving to and from work or whereever you drive and getting into a fatal accident.

I guess our government has done a good of spreading the great fear of lead. And cklean is just playing upon the fear factor.

We used lead compounds in our gasoline for decades, and never heard of all the poisoing that that would have caused. Folks in the area where I live even planted their gardens beside the roads and highways, didn't see any of dropping over either. Been casting since the 60's, have no lead issues at this point of being 66 years old. Have way more issues with rheumatism, being overweight from big Macs. Hopefully I'll make it thru all these idots driving while on the cell phone.

Honestly Gunman22, if you have this much fear of lead just do not cast. You also charge a machine gun nest?

thelaststand
December 12, 2009, 08:29 AM
It's not uncommon to see people take iron pills and high dose vit C to lower blood lead levels.

Gents, remember that if you are not a normal bleeder or a menstrating woman you can get iron poisoning if you take iron pills every day. Limit your intake. If a small child eats one of your iron pills it will be a medical emergency worse than lead poisoning.

sanerkeki
December 12, 2009, 08:53 AM
Drink buttermilk after shooting to lower Lead levels. It buffers the affects pretty much of any minor poison since the bacteria in buttermilk reacts to it.

Dannix
December 13, 2009, 12:52 AM
jcwit is right in that there is a lot of FUD going around about lead. If I recall correctly Andrew Jackson lived with a bullet lodged near his heart. If that isn't metallic lead exposure, I don't know what is!

I'm personally more concerned with primer residue far more than metallic lead, which is why I clean used brass wet.

Also how to I cast a bullet with a fully encased copper jacket?
Google bullet swagging and/or checkout the link below:
http://www.corbins.com/intro.htm

Canuc Shooter
January 8, 2010, 10:13 AM
Just got my results back from the lab around 42,tests are free of charge in Canada. Doc told me to stay out of the indoor range for a while and monitor the lead level monthly. I've been using the indoor facilities on average 3 time a week for a couple of years now, so the test results were not a big surprise.

jamesicus
January 26, 2010, 11:35 PM
reconsidered -- too "flip" a post for a serious subject, sorry.

jamesicus

sig2009
February 1, 2010, 07:27 PM
Don't eat lead for dinner and you will be fine!

Fatelvis
February 20, 2010, 10:20 AM
Don't eat lead for dinner and you will be fine!

Agreed. The whole "bullet casting creates cancer causing lead vapor in the air" talk is just bull.

GMFWoodchuck
February 25, 2010, 09:34 AM
While I'm assuming that the lead is from all of the shooting, I did read an interesting article recently (Yahoo news I think) attributing high lead counts in children from crawling around on the dust that has settled floors. It never really stated how the lead got there, I'm guessing off of paint or something. But it does make me wonder how many sources of lead we really are being subjected to. So like a few others and I said, we should also be checking out other potential sources too. Only to be on the safe side.

Is there a "cheap" air filtration system that will take lead out of the air in my basement where I do my reloading?

jcwit
February 25, 2010, 09:47 AM
Is there a "cheap" air filtration system that will take lead out of the air in my basement where I do my reloading?

Personally I think you're worring to much. I really doubt there is much "dust" coming from your bullets.

Walkalong
February 25, 2010, 11:01 AM
Hepa Filter might work.

Contractors use them all the time to filter air in working space to prtect the occupants from dust etc..

GMFWoodchuck
February 25, 2010, 01:20 PM
You're probably right. Though sometimes I wonder about the old building I live in. AT least I don't have other unidentifiable plastic fumes in the air though as is what's common in new houses.

klw
March 3, 2010, 05:01 PM
My understanding is that if your blood lead level is below 20 there isn't much cause for concern. Between 20 and 30 you should be trying to find out where the exposure is coming from. Between 30 and 40 you should be seeing a doctor. Above 40 you are going to need serious treatment.

Lead levels will drop if the exposure stops. I have my lead levels tested at the beginning and end of each shooting season. At the end of a year of casting bullets and shooting cast bullets my lead levels will be between 23 and 28. After four months off during the winter they will drop to about 15 to 17. You get rid of lead by literally pissing it away. So for lead levels in this range simply taking time off solves the problem.

HighExpert
July 11, 2010, 12:31 AM
I had a bad case of lead contamination back in the middle 90's. Mine was 59 and the doctor went straight up. I was training at an indoor range and shooting 6 days a week for a total of about 5000 rds per week. When I went back to the range to let them know, they discovered that the rear ventilation fans were blowing air out of the range instead of into the range. They appologized and pointed to the waiver posted on the wall that they were not responsible. I told them I had no intention of sueing and was glad they had discovered the mechanical problem. I certainly did not want to rock the boat too much because the other range in town had already gone to a no-lead policy. The doc make me shoot outside only for 6 months, if I was going to shoot at all, and I was down to 9 on the last test. I also started using nitrile gloves when I have any sort of cut on my hands when I reload and, of coarse, washing up well when done.

SifuGun
September 9, 2010, 11:05 AM
Thanks Member "Actionfiles" for that information. You are an asset to the community.
Well I am just starting to reload. And Luckily the only bullet available were the "TMJ's" by Speers. Tmj stand for total metal jacket. Supposedly you will not be handling any lead because bullet is "plated" with copper. But as soon as i saw them a the gun store i said I'll have those, thank you.

ReloaderEd
September 10, 2010, 03:28 AM
My wife was worried about lead fumes being dangerous (I have case bullets for some 54 years since I was 12 years old.
I purchased a cheap hood for a bathroom, mounted it on a cake pan of the correct size and put it on legs attached to a plywood platform under the lead pot. Then the cake pan was attached to the four legs. A dryer vent and flex air duct was attached to the hood and run outside or it can be put into a bucket of water. It removes most the the lead smoke and fumes. I still use plenty of surrounding ventalatallation and it seems to work very well
I submitted the idea to Lee and the old man declined but said it was a good idea. I have several movies of it working and attaching one picture below.
I would appreciate any comments.
http://yfrog.com/n7leadmeltingfluxinghood0j:)

bds
October 4, 2010, 12:50 AM
Hepa Filter might work.

Contractors use them all the time to filter air in working space to protect the occupants from dust etc..
It's actually Mold/Lead abatement filter (3M 2097) also good for welding.

Home Depot carries the 3M 2097 filter for the P100 respirator ($25 for the respirator kit). (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=202078789&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=202078789&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D24X-_-202078789&locStoreNum=1060&marketID=29)

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/5f/5f0b965e-0d02-4532-aef0-6ffe58695415_300.jpg

evan price
October 4, 2010, 03:45 AM
I handle thousands of pounds of range brass and lead every year. I just had my lead test, it was under ten. I don't take anything but the most basic precautions- I don't even wear gloves regularly except for handling hot items. Ventilation, and not putting anything in your mouth until after you wash, are the keys. Don't worry so much about a little casting or reloading as long as you take those precautions.

Pete D.
October 18, 2010, 08:05 AM
Good to see this thread.
Lead poisoning is something to be concerned about.
I just got my latest results back = 21.0.
Too high. Hate to admit it but this is my third time over twenty (the others were 40 and 25) over the last ten years. I keep looking at my practices when shooting and casting......and trying to adhere to the basics. Obviously every few years I get sloppy about something and then have to go figure what I've left out or ignored.
About this idea:
Like I said earlier, much to do about nothing.

That's true only if you don't have elevated lead levels.

Pete

jcwit
October 18, 2010, 07:11 PM
Are you absolutely positively beyond any doubt sure that your elevated levels are caused by reloading and/or casting?

Elevated levels can by caused by many many things, even the water one drinks or the coffee mug one uses.

klw
October 18, 2010, 08:22 PM
The 2012 Gun Digest should have an article on blood lead levels. Covers the causes and how to prevent high lead levels.

Pete D.
October 19, 2010, 10:21 PM
Are you absolutely positively beyond any doubt sure that your elevated levels are caused by reloading and/or casting?

Yeah. The only time that I am anywhere near lead is when I am shooting, reloading or casting. Building is lead free - not the paint, the plaster, or the pipe.
Water - not an issue. Clean.
cups and dishes......don't actually know. Buy'em. Use'em. Lead in the glazes??
Pete

jcwit
October 19, 2010, 10:47 PM
cups and dishes......don't actually know. Buy'em. Use'em. Lead in the glazes??


This is a very strong posibility. Do You use the common Coffee Mugs available? Most are made in china. This was brought out a few years ago on another forum as a cause of one of the members elevated lead levels.

Pete D.
October 20, 2010, 07:50 AM
I meant to add this note earlier.
A number of posters mentioned taking an iron supplement. I had thought that a good idea some years ago. It is not. Men have no way of eliminating iron from the body. Iron accumulates in the male body much like lead does and becomes toxic, attacking the pancreas and liver. Women - at whom the iron supplements are aimed - don't have this problem due to the menstrual cycle.
Pete

jcwit
October 20, 2010, 01:30 PM
A number of posters mentioned taking an iron supplement. I had thought that a good idea some years ago. It is not. Men have no way of eliminating iron from the body. Iron accumulates in the male body much like lead does and becomes toxic, attacking the pancreas and liver. Women - at whom the iron supplements are aimed - don't have this problem due to the menstrual cycle.


Are you positive of this for a fact? Are you a MD?

My wife gives blood every time she can and is turned down at times for low iron and believe me it's not from menstrual cycles, she has had a hysterectomy, has not had those cycles for almost 20 years. So say what?

Furthermore I do not remember seeing any warning on bottles of iron supplements, or on bottles of multi vitamins like we take. I'm sure I would know about ANY elevated levels of anything as I have my blood tested 4 times a year at present, And yes heavy metals are one of the tests they do. I'm now down to 4 times a year, 2 years ago I was at 6 tests a year.

Jesse Heywood
October 20, 2010, 04:36 PM
Are you positive of this for a fact?

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp#h9

JohnKSa
October 20, 2010, 10:03 PM
My wife gives blood every time she can and is turned down at times for low iron...Makes perfect sense. Donating blood is one recommended method for reducing iron levels.

Doc Mongo
December 1, 2010, 05:19 PM
North Safety and MSA are good sources for half face masks. For getting lead off your skin you need TSP, or tri-sodium phosphate. Simple Green is a good product, and has TSP added to it already.

With the half face mask, you will need HEPA filters, which are purple. There are others that dont filter lead (the particles are pretty tiny) that are different colors. Rmember: lead filter = purple.

Ventilation is critical. Lots of people set up in basements or sheds and dont have great ventilation there. The fumes have got to get out and away; I really dont know how much fumes are put off by melting down lead bars but I would assume the worst and ventilate well. Id also wear a respirator while melting down the scrap. Im not a reloader(yet- saving for it though), but I had to deal with lead before and its way better to be safe than to go through chelation (similar to chemotherapy - almost, but not quite, worse than the disease).

Having a lead test done in your workshop may be a good idea. Dont let an inspector sell you on a risk assessment: if you reload, your risk has already been assessed. Get it tested so you dont get charged twice. The home lead test kits usually only thell you that there is lead around, not how much. A lead inspector can send samples off to a laboratory and determine if, how much, and where. Then they can tell you how to get it clean, or reccomend someone to do it for you. Hope that helps.

twofifty
December 15, 2010, 11:08 PM
Folk, esp. children, who live downwind from lead smelters or car battery recycling foundries are known to have high levels of exposure. There are many other occupational exposure opportunities.

For some here who are looking for that mysterious source of exposure they can't trace to their own reloading activities, the above might just be the source.

Apparently, before unleaded gasoline, the general population's background lead levels were much higher than they now are. Many European countries banned lead from paint in the 1920s, while America waited till 1970....

.45Guy
December 26, 2010, 10:02 AM
Going for a lead test on the 4th. Idiots at work are burning massive quantities of CDD caked in lead based paint. The fun never ends.

jcwit
December 26, 2010, 05:34 PM
Going for a lead test on the 4th. Idiots at work are burning massive quantities of CDD caked in lead based paint. The fun never ends.
__________________


What in Heavens name is CDD, I even googled it and got 55 answers, none being an item.

zxcvbob
December 26, 2010, 05:39 PM
What in Heavens name is CDD, I even googled it and got 55 answers, none being an item.From the context, I'd say it is Construction Demolition Debris

I don't have any idea. I have an HMO with a $20 co-pay and had my tests done in conjunction with my annual physical, so I never saw any itemized bill. I doubt that it's very expensive compared to other types of testing, but with medical costs these days being what they are, who knows?I had one recently, added to a routine physical. Insurance didn't buy that it was part of the physical and applied the deductible to it (so I paid the full price.) It cost $100. It came back 17, so I'm taking lots of Vitamin C and cleaning up my lead exposure act a little, mostly regarding bullet casting and brass tumbling. I'll get another one in 6 to 9 months just to make sure it's going the right direction.

johndoe123123
December 29, 2010, 06:30 PM
Blood/Lab work can be purchased online pre-paid with great discounts for the uninsured. Search google.

Here is one example for this test @ $55, but it pays to shop around.

http://walkinlab.com/cgi-bin/rtsys/rtl/phd.cgi?Autoincrement=000086

Hunterdad
January 5, 2011, 06:40 PM
I've been inspecting houses for lead based paint for over 10 years now. I'm glad to see this subject as a sticky. It takes a minimal amount to get lead poisoned. Lead gets into your system and takes the place of iron since your body doesn't know the difference between the two. Take in lots of calcium and iron to bring levels down.

klw
January 5, 2011, 07:28 PM
For what it is worth the 2012 Gun Digest is suppose to have an article about elevated blood lead levels and how to minimize your exposure.

AXI
January 12, 2011, 05:56 PM
What is a coating that people who loadup their own rounds should use to prevent exposure? Something resistant to the heat after the weapon is fired?

jcwit
January 12, 2011, 09:23 PM
A hazmet suit.

Seriously, enjoy you shooting activity and don't worry about it. Mankind has been shooting and handling lead for centuries and look where we are today compared to the middle ages.

Jesse Heywood
January 12, 2011, 10:40 PM
The important thing is hygiene. While you are loading keep your fingers out of your nose, mouth and eyes. When you stop to do anything else wash your hands. And if you have open wounds on your hands cover the wounds before you start.

gilgomesjr
January 24, 2011, 11:29 AM
I just started reloading a month or so ago and wish I had read this thread before I even began. It's made me paranoid, in a good way, about handling anything in reloading that might contain lead.

I just went down to my loading area and thoroughly cleaned out my vibratory brass cleaner and brass sorter and threw away the used media and rags used to clean up. I never de-capped the brass before cleaning. I also tossed out all de-capped primers. Finally used some de-leading soap on my hands when I was finished.

I have a vent down there that I used to use when painting small car parts. I'm going to leave that on whenever I'm down there reloading now. I use FMJ only and never even considered making my own lead rounds due to concerns about lead. And here I am still exposing myself to it out of ignorance. Luckily whenever I sorted the brass out of the cleaner I always wore a mask... still...

Thank you all once again...

-Gil


Is there anything else I can do in order to limit my exposure?

snuffy
January 24, 2011, 12:40 PM
Thank you all once again...

-Gil


Is there anything else I can do in order to limit my exposure?

Sooooooooo you ignored all the people, like me, that routinely handle, cast, and load lead bullets without getting high lead-blood-levels? And believed all the panty waists that believe the EPA chicken-little's about lead danger?

What can you do to eliminate your exposure? STOP BREATHING!

I'm NOT saying what you're doing is wrong, it's a good idea. Especially to guard against the lead styphonate in the spent primers. BUT that lead salt,(styphonate), isn't going to attack you as you walk by. Could it get on your shoes, thus contaminate your floors where a baby might crawl? Certainly! Pregnant women and babies are at the most risk. If I had a young family, I would be very careful.

Rant on-

Just don't believe the hype that's going on right now. Have you heard the TV and radio commercials about lead paint. I want to strangle the announcer every time I hear one. They sound like that paint is alive with malicious intent to attack our kids. THEY HAVE TO CHEW ON IT TO GET POISONED! They conveniently fail to tell you that! Do you sense a conspiracy here?

Rant off, sorry, had to vent.

gilgomesjr
January 24, 2011, 12:44 PM
no probs... Always good to hear both sides of this type of discussion. I don't have a young family, but my grandkids are over here a lot. And they're always on the rug. I'm going to leave a second pair of shoes down at the reloading room. Just in case that styphonate hops a ride...

klw
January 24, 2011, 03:08 PM
Lead posioning mostly comes from shooting cast bullets, not making them. Shooting cast pistol bullets is only a problem if you approach 6000 rounds a month but it does not take much to get you in trouble with cast rifle bullets. The 2012 Gun Digest will have an article explaining all this. There are lots of graphs of bullet casting, cast bullet shooting and medical lead level tests.

max it
January 26, 2011, 11:31 AM
Thats it!
Lead in primers, my Dr. Dr. Bones said the same thing after I got a high rating. It's not the casting, smelting, or reloading. It's the lead in primers. Go to a good indoor range with fans. And wash your hands. Also I get soap from Dillon Precision to remove heavy metals.

Max

brickeyee
April 14, 2011, 05:56 PM
Metallic lead is actually rather hard to absorb.

Bullets are not removed from shooting victims all the time, and they show no increase in lead levels.

When lead styphnate burns/explodes it is very hot and results in a witches brew of soluble lead compounds.
These CAN be absorbed by breathing or ingesting (eating them).
Being soluble they easily move into the body fluids, allowing the lead to be taken up.

Washing works.
Wash your hands after shooting and before eating or smoking.

One way you CAN make metallic lead a problem is by having it on your hands and then transferring it to a cigarette.
Smoke the cigarette and breath the vaporized lead.
Lick you fingers.

Wash your hands and you will not have any problem.

Casting does not make enough lead vapor to matter, though using a torch to speed melting WILL release lead vapor.

Flame temperature are WAY higher than the melting temperature used for casting.

Lead boils (vaporizes) at 3,180 F, well within most torch flame temperatures.

Casting is usually below 750F (tin can separate out if you go much higher) and lead melts at 621 F.

There is a lot of room between melting and boiling.

That does not mean no vapor is produced until boiling, just not very much at casting temperatures.

TennJed
May 6, 2011, 02:00 AM
I am a newbie and have a question concerning lead posioning and primers. I want to start out loading with a Lee Classic loader (uses a rubber mallet instead instead of press) that I got for $8 at a pawn shop (no funds for a press and like the idea of loading a few rounds real slow and learning the process)

Anyway after reading and watching youtubes of the Lee Loaders it looks like I should expect a primer to go off here and there. As a matter of fact I have loaded 12 dummy rounds without powder and have had 2 primers go off on me.

I will be loading in a bedroom my 14 year old son stays in about every other weekend. This bedroom is next to my 6 month old son's bedroom, and the living room him and my 3 year old girl play in every day.

I will not load while they are in the adjacent rooms, but I am concerned that the primers going off and the depriming (messy) will lead to lead poisoning risk. The dummy round I loaded while setting on the floor because it was more comfortable.

As a matter of fact I am worried that the 2 primers that went off already and the 500 or so round I have deprimed on the floor could already have caused a problem.

And to top it off I plan on loading lead cast bullets

Am I being too paranoid? I am not so much worried about me (I am a little) as I am for my children.

Any thoughts.

zxcvbob
May 6, 2011, 08:44 AM
I wouldn't worry so much about 2 primers going off (other than the noise), but more about the spent primer dust from decapping. What are you doing to keep that from going all over the place.

jcwit
May 6, 2011, 09:36 AM
I would definitely be concerned about the primer dust. Why not move that operation to another location "not the kitchen"? I deprime with a punch and rubber mallet, maybe not the fastest but to the best of my knowledge I'm not in a race. Just my 2 cents.

Colt AR-Eric
June 28, 2011, 08:59 PM
This is my first posting to this great forum... seems that everyone is well informed. I know of the lead issue..while most of what i shoot is outdoors, sometimes i am lazy and go to an indoor range. The issue is two fold. Yes, the primers are a real villian, and to a lesser degree soft lead bullets. Depending on your load and the vialbility of your gas check the round may exit the barell with a trail of vaporized lead from the base of the bullet. Double plated lead virtually eliminates it. As to primers, there are but a few. International Cartridge Company produces a full line of completly lead free ammo. From the Primer to the Copper/Tin projectile. I keep my defense weapons all loaded with this... its clean, and it has stopping power like you have never seen. VenturaMunitions.com is having a sale on it..I swear by it. Check the videos.

Colt AR-Eric
June 28, 2011, 09:07 PM
This is my first posting to this great forum... seems that everyone is well informed. I know of the lead issue..while most of what i shoot is outdoors, sometimes i am lazy and go to an indoor range. The issue is two fold. Yes, the primers are a real villian, and to a lesser degree soft lead bullets. Depending on your load and the vialbility of your gas check the round may exit the barell with a trail of vaporized lead from the base of the bullet. Double plated lead virtually eliminates it. As to primers, there are but a few. International Cartridge Company produces a full line of completly lead free ammo. From the Primer to the Copper/Tin projectile. I keep my defense weapons all loaded with this... its clean, and it has stopping power like you have never seen. VenturaMunitions.com is having a sale on it..I swear by it. Check the videos.

creCarolina
October 20, 2011, 09:23 AM
I have noticed a lot of indoor ranges either are not knowledgeable or just pump a crazy amount of air into the shooting stall to "solve" the exposure issue.

the reality is that a floor to ceiling continuous air wall blowing +2,000 CFM's down range is needed. If you are indoors and don't see a plenum wall or radial diffusers you should ask the range supervisor how the air is being handled. just blowing high volumes without understanding the pattern of air will not solve the issue of exposure.

You can see some diffusers here: http://youtu.be/YiF3T1RIZ2w

IM391
November 21, 2011, 12:36 PM
I am OSHA ceritified and cannot get over all the fuss about lead. Most people should be more scared about filling their gas tanks than worrying about lead. I can't explain why some of you have increased amounts of lead in you bodies. I've been casting and shooting muzzleloading lead rated at .98% average for over 15 years and I'm tested every three years for lead and still have no problems. Lead oxide(lead rusty white powder) is the greatest conern because it can be absorbed easier than any other form of lead. I like Snuffy and Brickeyee comments. Don't eat or smoke in the presence of lead. Cast and Shoot in a ventilated area. Wash your hands before and after. Change your clothes after casting. Lee Precison makes Liquid Alox that can reduce barrel leading from cast bullets and it makes them easier to load. Bullets tend not to lead when shot under 1,000 fps. Lead is used in lots of places people don't even think of, like a color perservative in window blinds. Foreign countries like China use lead in a lot of products that we don't in the U.S. And look at all the stuff we buy from them. None of this is rocket surgery, just common sense.

Mr.Revolverguy
November 29, 2011, 01:41 PM
I posted sometime ago that I had evelvated lead levels from shooting indoors. I approached the range owner with this problem and he was nice but insisted it wasn't his problem as he was changing the filters every 6 months and these were $5k filters I even felt bad saying anything and felt like and idiot. I do not cast my own bullets but I have been reloading for about 18 years and just recently started getting tested. Mine was really really high. I started taking vitamin 1000mg of vitamin C a day as well as a tums every day in the morning. Within a couple of weeks my lead levels were way down but not normal. From day 1 my father taught me to reload and was very stern that when I do any cleaning of brass at all or handling spent primers I wear a respirator and I always have yet my lead level were so high. So to me I could only be getting the lead from one place, I even wear nitrile gloves when reloading. My wife has actually stated many of times she would just rather I buy the ammo because I am not saving much with always buying filters and keeping gloves as well as large alcohol pads for wiping down my bench. But it is not about the cost it is about my love for reloading and the stress relief I get because when I get in that world I don't allow anything to get in the way of it. Long story short people look at me like I am crazy but I started taking my respirator to the range with me and wearing it. I asked the range owner and he was very hesitant but said ok. My lead levels has gone down drastically and it hasn't been that long. I just continue taking the vitamin C and tums daily as well. What I will say about the range is this -- since opening he has a binder with all of his yearly certification documents that he leaves on the counter for anyone to look through so he is surely legal but is that enough? The other thing is I know the NRA help design this range to the point where the backstops are so strong there has been full machine gun shoots held here and he maintains them. My question is, Is all of this enough he is doing to keep our lead levels where they should be? I decided I have some ownership in this also as it was not all the range owners responsibility and started wearing my respirator.

zxcvbob
November 29, 2011, 03:52 PM
Don't take the Vitamin C and the Tums at the same time. (I drink milk in the mornings and take Vitamin C at night, or sometimes vice versa) I've thought about a respirator at the indoor range, but want to get my blood tested again before I mess with that. Hopefully taking Vitamin C and being extra careful to make sure I wash my hands and blow my nose when I leave the range is enough.

snuffy
November 29, 2011, 04:24 PM
I posted sometime ago that I had evelvated lead levels from shooting indoors. I approached the range owner with this problem and he was
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have some ownership in this also as it was not all the range owners responsibility and started wearing my respirator.

Wow, 32 lines without a paragraph break!

Seedtick
November 29, 2011, 05:05 PM
Wow, 32 lines without a paragraph break!

You're right snuffy.

It was very well written and easy to follow.

Seedtick

:)

Mr.Revolverguy
November 29, 2011, 07:33 PM
I typically write better fellas, I was in a rush today when I posted the previous post. Most important I wanted to share my experience in hopes of helping others.

Apologies

IM391
November 30, 2011, 01:13 PM
I just got done reading an article that indicates some people are more at risk than others with respect to lead poisoning. They include older adults 60+, and ones that are calcium and iron deficient. Lead Poisoning also inhibits Vitamin D-3 in doing it's job in the body You might want to check that out with your doctor. Unless you live at the equator, everyone is somewhat D-3 deficient.

carbuncle
January 22, 2012, 08:21 PM
I just got done reading this from start to finish: I have a kid on the way and was planning to start reloading this year...looks like I may have to reconsider that.

Edit: I did more research and got some other opinions and feel better about it now. I'll take some simple precautions and it should be fine.

Doc Rizzi
February 1, 2012, 11:32 PM
Chelation therapy is normally reserved for very high levels of lead in your blood. Mild level can be treated with succimer tablets by mouth. I am an active Cowboy Action Shooter and also cast and reload lots of lead. Two of our members had high lead levels in their blood and had to take a break. I had a blood test recently and it came back well below the danger levels. I am not sure what is worse, breathing the lead vapor or during casting or handling the lead. I wear a mask when casting but not at the range. I wash my hands before eating or packing my pipe, but it is always in the back of my mind. I think that getting tested once a year would be wise if you are at a high exposure level. It is a separate test and is not normally done in a routine screen. Just tell your doctor about your sport and they will order the correct lead screening test. Lead content should be < 9.9 - mcg/dL to be in the safe range.

zxcvbob
February 2, 2012, 12:33 AM
< 20 if you're an adult male. (of course < 10 is better)

john16443
February 9, 2012, 01:17 AM
Got the results of my blood lead level today. Sadly I'm at 44, which was a shock for me. I've been reloading for only the past 12 months, no casting. I think I can safely say that the elevated level is the direct result of shooting and loading. My shooting is done only at an indoor range with sometimes questionable ventilation. After each weekly range session (300 rounds minimum) I wash hands as best I can before leaving using Dawn dish soap along with whatever they have at the range. I started loading FMJ, moved to plated, and for the past 8 months, have been shooting 90% lead bullets at target velocities.

My reloading practices include depriming on a Lee single stage (open system) prior to tumbling, and cleaning primer pockets prior to brass sorting and storage. Tumblers have solid lids and was done in the garage. No special precautions taken when separating media and brass, just dump the mix over a sifter, stir the brass, and dump the media back in the tumbler. No gloves normally used. Reloading was done on a Lee turret until last month, then began using a LNL AP. Always washed up after any reloading or tumbling related activities.

Having gone through this entire thread, I've decided NOT to stop reloading or shooting as the Dr. desires, but I will be doing things very differently and more carefully. Also will continue monitoring more frequently. I found post #96 by 375Whelen to be very appropriate and will apply these things to my situation. The respirator, D-Lead wipes, and soap are already on order. Seriously considering the Thumblers steel pin system. Depriming will now be done exclusivley on th LNL in a closed system directly into a plastic milk jug with water in it. The Lee still allows junk to collect on the outside of the press even though the primers go down the chute into a container. Gloves will be used for all reloading related activities. Unfortunately shooting outdoors is not an available option. I think that's the best I can do to keep enjoying my shooting and reloading hobby.

zxcvbob
February 9, 2012, 11:28 AM
Yikes! Good thing you got it tested. I'll bet primer dust is what's getting you. You might try a good mask while shooting at that indoor range: http://www.pksafety.com/moldex-7000-respirator-p100-filter.html
or these, which really aren't rated for lead but are a lot better than nothing and you're more likely to actually use them: http://www.pksafety.com/3m-8210-particulate-respirator.html

Did you doc prescribe succimer (CHEMET) tablets? If not, start taking vitamin C tablets and drinking lots of milk -- but not at the same time.

john16443
February 9, 2012, 01:59 PM
Started 1000 units Vit C yesterday after I got the report. Doc said no treatment necessary until level goes above 80. Also said I can expect a letter from the County. I agree that primer dust is most likely culprit, and have already implemented strategies and equipment to reduce/eliminate exposure. I also have an appointment with the range manager this afternoon to talk about the ventilation.

max it
February 16, 2012, 02:35 PM
Guys, I have yet to read all this thread. HOwever this is the same info told me by my M.D.
Namely its the stryphonite stuff in the primers. Watch out for primer smoke, not gunpowder, not lead bullets, not indoor or outdoor necessarily. Although I can see the smoke issue being real. But how about tumbling cases in the same old media time and time again. Dontya think it absorbs some primer residue?
My next blood lead level test is in April. My last one a couple of years ago was 15. After a little research I found that OSHA rules are exactly 1/2 of actual needed concern; as in they think 25 is threshold while studies show it is 50.
imho.
Max

JohnKSa
February 17, 2012, 12:47 AM
After a little research I found that OSHA rules are exactly 1/2 of actual needed concern; as in they think 25 is threshold while studies show it is 50.Not a huge OSHA fan, but that said, their approach, in this case, is sound.

The goal of the guidelines is to keep people healthy and to do that you establish guidelines that keep people in squarely the "no concern" region. You don't establish guidelines that allow people's levels to climb right up to the point at which they will require medical treatment.

DickM
February 17, 2012, 01:16 PM
After a little research I found that OSHA rules are exactly 1/2 of actual needed concern; as in they think 25 is threshold while studies show it is 50.

I'm sorry but this statement is meaningless at best, and potentially harmful to those trying to understand and manage their lead exposure. First, measurements have no meaning without the units that those measurements are given in, and second, there has to be a clear understanding of what's being measured. In this case, there's the danger of confusing two very different types of measurements.

Up to now, most of the discussion in this thread has focused on serum (blood) lead concentrations, which are measured in micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl). There are some differences of professional opinion among toxicologists and medical professionals regarding what concentration can be considered "safe" - not a word that any of them would use, BTW - for an adult in the US, but opinion is shifting to lower numbers, with an upper limit of 10 mcg/dl representing the current consensus. It is lower for children, who are more susceptible to harm from lead exposure.

A totally different measurement, and entirely different concept, is represented by the OSHA numbers. OSHA does not regulate blood levels, it regulates occupational exposures, i.e., the amount of lead that's allowable in the environment to which workers are exposed. That measurement is expressed in micrograms per cubic meter of air (mcg/m**3) and is called a PEL, which stands for Permissable Exposure Limit. The 50 mcg/m**3 number represents the maximum allowable lead concentration that can be in the air that workers are breathing. Now, there are some other things inherent in there that we don't necessarily need to get into, such as how the measurements are taken and averaged and how they can be adjusted if your workers aren't full time, etc., but that aside the 50 mcg/m**3 is the point at which the government says an employer has to fix the environment in his "shop."

There is also an OSHA Action Level for lead of 30 mcg/m**3 at which point an employer has to institute a monitoring program for the employees and take other steps, but not necessarily reduce the amount of lead in the air, that's only required for the 50 mcg/dl concentration. To the best of my knowledge (I'm not an Industrial Hygienist, but I do work in human health risk assessment), there is no OSHA-mandated action associated with an ambient concentration of 25 mcg/dl, but I don't have total familiarity with the regulations.

The important thing is that nobody reading this should get confused and think that because OSHA has "numbers" of 50 and 30 (or 25, or anything else) that they can have serum lead concentrations approaching those numbers and assume that they don't have a problem. They're two entirely different things, and nobody who has any knowledge of the issue would argue that a serum lead concentration of 25 mcg/dl or higher is OK.

If you shoot a lot indoors, think about getting tested for serum lead at your next physical. If you've got elevated (as in greater than 10 mcg/dl) blood lead, think about doing something differently to get it down. Or, if you like, just ignore it - it's your body and your life and if you want to smoke, get obese, not wear a seat belt, or whatever increases your chance of dying young it's your business and neither I nor the government have any right to tell you you can't. But if you're going to make that decision, at least have the facts to base it on.

ICE1210
February 17, 2012, 11:45 PM
57? Thats all you got? You whimp! Try 73, yes I too got contacted by officialdom it was pre HIPPA, and job related so I was not surprised. It took me about a year of meds and no indoor shooting to get things back under control. Lead poisoning is no joke, stay on top of it.

orionengnr
February 18, 2012, 08:49 PM
Having read this entire thread, and a number of others on the same subject, I am going to go out on a limb and posit that similar exposures may well result in different BLLs for different people.

I started handloading about four years ago and started getting my BLL checked with each annual physical in March.

In 2009 my BLL was 4, in 2010 it was 9, in 2011 it was 8 and I will get this year's results in about 30 days.

I shoot at an indoor range almost every week year-round, I tumble all my brass and handload my own ammo (lead bullets only). No respirator and no special handling...just normal hygeine.

And I'm going to knock on wood and give thanks for what appear to be good genes. :)

DickM
February 19, 2012, 10:54 AM
Having read this entire thread, and a number of others on the same subject, I am going to go out on a limb and posit that similar exposures may well result in different BLLs for different people.

I don't think there's any question about that. Biological systems are inherently stochastic (as is the universe, according to quantum theory) and humans are no exception.

RangeDS
February 20, 2012, 07:56 AM
With today's technology there's not excuse for poor air quality, flow, or low CFM's. It amazes me that indoor ranges maintain patronage. It can only be due to lack of knowledge on the part of the shooter. If they've never seen a clean range or a discussion like this, I suppose lead problems are out of sight out of mind.

Patriot Prepper
February 20, 2012, 04:06 PM
Lead and other heavy metals are usually out of the blood and lodge deeper in tissues of the body.

The preferred method to test for lead levels is to use tissue/hair mineral analysis. Blood test are not reliable. Even the EPA recommends using tissue/hair. Find a person licensed to send a sample of your hair taken close to the scalp as possible. The test will also show your levels of other toxic metals as well as provide a mineral analysis.

One of the labs, I have used in the past was Trace Elements:

http://www.traceelements.com/

You might want to give this a try. It is more reliable and accurate than blood tests.

Novice Reloader
February 21, 2012, 05:35 PM
So, what you are saying is, lead is an unhealthy material to use in reloading?

I mean, I though lead was the standard, if I want to keep my health, do I have to use some alternate metal for bullets?

Mike1234567
February 21, 2012, 05:43 PM
^^^ People work with highly radioactive materials all the time but they utilize many protective measures to avoid contamination. That's all this thread is about... using common-sense protection to minimize exposure to a toxin.

snuffy
February 21, 2012, 06:22 PM
Novice Reloader
So, what you are saying is, lead is an unhealthy material to use in reloading?
I mean, I thought lead was the standard, if I want to keep my health, do I have to use some alternate metal for bullets?

NR, did you read all 217 posts on this thread? If you did, and came to that conclusion, then that's what you should do. BUT most of us have been casting and loading lead, then shooting them indoors with no harm to ourselves for years.

Yes lead is toxic. If you do things entirely wrong, you can and will get lead build-up in your system. It's especially harmful to small children and women who are pregnant. Some will lie about the myth that lead is absorbed through the skin, it is not. Some will tell you it never leaves the body without harsh chemical therapy called chelation, again not true. Lead is expelled gradually if no more is ingested over the years.

snuffy
March 16, 2012, 03:30 PM
What happened to the sticky status?TTT,(To The Top).

Mike1234567
March 16, 2012, 03:45 PM
I've been researching an illness for years and have recently learned that it can be caused by heavy metal poisoning. Given that possibility I've been researching chelation methods and natural foods that help cleanse the body of heavy metals. I'm still looking into this so it's new to me but I'll post some information when I have more to share.

max it
April 22, 2012, 09:16 PM
HI Ya,
I've been too lax since my last posting here; hence blood lead level is now 20. The lax part is that with the SoCal heat I moved my casting pot inside the garage. I was thinking that with the bay and side doors open I was OK. Moreover I had a fan blowing. Welllll slowly I ignored the fan, then only opened the bay 1/2 way. And somewhere along the line I stopped wearing masks. Now I am taking a year off casting, and switching to molycoated lead bullets. Also I always throw out the media often. Think about it! If lead stryphonate is in the primers it must be loaded in the cleaning media. Besides it almost as cheap as dirt, from the bird supply store.
Keep your powder dry, and cast outdoors.

Max

jcwit
April 22, 2012, 11:09 PM
Good Grief Max, how hot do you get your melt? Lead does not vaporise till 1100 degrees.

I think I'd also look elsewhere. You are correct about the lead being high in the tumbling media, and being as its a lead compound is more easily absorbed thru the skin and thru inhalation.

Mel1776
April 23, 2012, 01:52 PM
I did read the entire thread and found it very interesting. It made me think and (importantly), at my last annual mini-physical, ask my physician to include lead blood level in the list of scans requested in my blood tests.

PbB turned out to be 11 mcg/dL. Not worrisome, but higher than I expected it would be.

I shoot at an outdoor range, do not cast bullets, clean my brass (though indoors) in a covered tumbler, wash my hands often while handling lead bullets (which constitute about 80% of my loading) and wipe surfaces often with d-Lead wipes.

My basement workshop is not part of the house’s HVAC system except by leakage in and out. I plan to put in an evacuation fan vent from the workshop to the outside. Next February will be my annual blood test, I’ll wait and see.

RangeDS
April 24, 2012, 10:14 AM
An indoor range must be managed per the plan. What plan? The plan that you as a range owner / operator adopt as a part of your Standard Operating Procedures manual. Until ranges become more prototypical in their form and function they remain “special uses” and rather unique facilities. As such, a checklist, manual, and schedule for maintaining your facility requires that you invest time and careful consideration so that patrons, employees and managers can use and operate the facility without the threat of and OSHA or EPA inspection costing your precious time away from operations, income as a result of fines, or your entire business due to unresolvable violations that have or threaten to do irreparable damage to the environment or people. Did you know that under certain circumstances physicians have a fiduciary responsibility to report suspicious sources of health problems of unexpected and out of the ordinary sick patients to the local health department (not the names of patients, but the source? If your range is the culprit it likely won’t go in your favor from there.
However, for those indoor range operators who have a plan, implement it, refine and make improvements to it on a regular and documented basis, you will be assured of your ability to prove you have employed a HIGH LEVEL OF CARE in your business practices and thus dramatically reduce exposure to unnecessary risks.

There's no point in ranges being close down. If it occurs for reasons along these lines, its likely that the owner operator didn't care. If they don't care about ballistic toxins, I wonder what else they don't care about? If you don't see something like this below behind the firing line I'd be suspicious. And if you don't get a very confident answer from the RSO about how the air operates...well he's really the one who should be worried after months / years of exposure he'll be the one to suffer most!

The diffusers are the round pieces along the back wall of the range above the windows. They create an air wall floor to ceiling at the firing line. This takes very fine tuning to get it right with the proper cubic feet per minute of air flow and maintain comfort otherwise.

http://www.rangedevelopmentservices.com/images

...my two cents.

max it
April 24, 2012, 10:24 AM
hi JC, I recently bought a thermometer. My lead melt is about 650-700deg. Using a Lee pot there are numbers on the temp setting dial which are not exactly related to degrees however I kept it as close to 6-7 which seems to translate to above temp. I dont know if lead has to vaporize for it th exhale fumes, do you? I do know that no one suggest you cast indoors without the proper ventilation possibly in a commercial facility.
I have inquired at my favorite indoor range and I am told that the vent system there is fully compliant. At least 1/2 of my shooting is outdoor, also. I tend to think it was the casting indoor, and I am going to lay off that for 6-12 months and retest.
Much obliged, to you and the others who offer good advise,

Max

FuzzyBunny
April 24, 2012, 11:05 AM
Did not read all 200 posts but have history to share.
The Romans would add lead to wine to make it sweeter and also had lead pipes for ware sources.

Made many of then crazy as wood rats. You can see that in some of the history. Also testing from some bones in that era showed lead levels sky high.

brickeyee
April 24, 2012, 12:27 PM
The Romans would add lead to wine to make it sweeter

Not just lead, but lead acetate (AKA 'sugar of lead').

The same material that was added to many lead paint as a hardener and gloss improver.

SlamFire1
April 24, 2012, 03:10 PM
Lead does not vaporise till 1100 degrees.

Spudgunr on Cast Boolits calculated the amount of lead in the air :
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=75964

I found an OSHA letter stating the max lead concentration for an indoor range is 50 micrograms per cubic meter (this should be the PEL, permissible exposure limit, based on breathing this for an 8 hour shift).

At lead's melting point (621F) the vapor pressure is 4X10^-7 Pa (400 parts per trillion)

@815F its 1X10^-4 Pa (1 part per billion)
@1300F it is 1Pa (10 ppm)

So, at 815F that is 12 micrograms per cubic meter, at the molten leads SURFACE, 1/4 of OSHA's PEL (and you KNOW they are conservative!)

870 degrees - 5X10^-4 Pa - 60 micrograms per cubic meter (just above OSHA PEL)

925 - 1X10^-3 Pa - 125 micrograms per cubic meter (2.5 times OSHA's limit for an 8 hour shift).

1000 - .01 PA (.1 ppm) = 1200 micrograms per cubic meter.

1100 (Added in on the edit just because this value was mentioned above) .13 PA - 15,600 micrograms per cubic meter, three hundred times the OSHA guidelines.
The idea that lead has to be brought to a boiling temperature, or 1100F, to have lead particles in the air, is without any basis . Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures is a good place to start to have an understanding of this subject.

This came from NIOSH STD 78-158, just multiply by 1000 to get micrograms.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/1970/78-158.html

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/Lead%20Toxicity/LeadConcentrationsoverleadpots.jpg

I am of the opinion that one should use forced air circulation over a casting pot. People should be mindful of the lead particles that collect not only on surfaces, but on clothing.

You can find lead wipes to wipe lead off surfaces, you can find lead test kits (so I have heard) at Home Depot.

Lead particles don’t have to be visible, there are billions of particles floating around in front of you that you cannot see. When they get micron size they will float, can float for weeks given air circulation. Of course human lungs are very good at absorbing these things and passing them directly into your blood stream.

Lead should not be in anyone. The only acceptable level of lead in a person is zero. There is just so much lead in the modern environment that since the 50’s, the argument was to determine an acceptable risk level. As research has advanced, “acceptable” lead levels , such as the OSHA standards, keep on being defined downwards.

For those who have access to older issues of American Rifleman, this is a very good article:

“Don’t Let Lead Poison You” , American Rifleman Nov 1984, pg 39. by Dr George W. Huckaba and Dr George C. Wood.

Dr Wood was a Professor of the Department of Drug and Material Toxicology, University of Tennessee, Memphis TN.

jcwit
April 24, 2012, 04:30 PM
Also posted by spudgun

02-16-2010, 05:04 PM #9
Spudgunr
Boolit Buddy


Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 64 Two posts ago is right, high temps means LOTS more lead vapors. Check my previous posts to find one I did on lead concentration. I personally don't want to go over 800 or 900, lead concentration is expotential. Below 800 or 900 I feel safe casting indoors.

If you are casting outdoors, then don't worry about temperatures as far as lead vapor concentration goes.




I get tested now 3 times a year with no problems, and yes I cast indoors.

Those shooting at indoor ranges are subject to lead and its compounds from the primers and bullet bases, not from melting pots.

carbuncle
May 27, 2012, 11:12 PM
Deleted

RangeDS
May 28, 2012, 09:19 AM
I was recently told by folks at an NRA conference that Dawn dishwashing soap, and similar, will do the same job of removing lead that the D-Wipes do when it comes to washing your hands.

And one thing that I've not read here, being able to move the air is important but can you scrub the area down too? Assuming that most everyone here will have a home made and designed ventilation system you might should consider adding a good mop down to the process to keep your area and surfaces clean.

max it
May 2, 2013, 12:42 PM
HI, its an old thread, the problems are very real and current for some so here goes anyway.

my blood lead level is down from 20 mcg/dl to 15 now after a year and a half.
what did i change, no casting, mask when handling media, less indoor and more outdoor shooting, plated bullets vs lead, more and dilligent washing of hands and face.

i will cast again; more precautions next time.

max

Gingahippy
May 8, 2013, 09:34 PM
Hi. I have not had time to read all the posts yet but am about to get into reloading and casting and have been wondering about exactly these issues.

I have often left the indoor range with a rough throat from smoke after an hour of shooting despite their ventilation.

Something that may be useful to you: Cilantro/Coriander leaf is a known chelating herb that has been suggested as a way to aid removal of heavy metals as is Chlorella. Cilantro should be taken daily as part of a meal and Chlorella can be found in any health food store in tablet form or powder that you mix into juice.

And let us not forget that heavy metal fillings are said to contain mercury and lead. If you are in need of lowering lead levels from your body then getting rid of thise old amalgam fillings would be a very good start.

zxcvbob
May 8, 2013, 09:44 PM
And let us not forget that heavy metal fillings are said to contain mercury and lead. If you are in need of lowering lead levels from your body then getting rid of thise old amalgam fillings would be a very good start.


Amalgam filling contain mercury and silver, not lead. I'm pretty sure removing the fillings will expose you to a much higher dose of mercury than just leaving them alone. The mercury is encapsulated by the silver -- until you start grinding them out.

SlamFire1
May 22, 2013, 10:27 AM
Lead poisoning is very serious and there should be zero lead in your body, any lead that is in your body came from man made items. As more and more medical evidence has accumulated over time, what was considered an acceptable amount of in body lead keeps on going down, down, down.

The current arguments are on how low the standards should go.


The current OSHA standard (29 CFR 1926.62) for lead exposure in construction has a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m3), measured as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).

http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_v/otm_v_3.html

Based on my readings, any exposure to lead is bad and efforts should be taken to minimize ingestion or inhalation.

While it should have been obvious, it turns out the greatest source of airborne lead exposure comes from shooting.

Remember that the OSHA exposure limits are 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

April 1977, REPORT NO. BRL 1976, REDUCTION OF AIRBORNE LEAD CONTAMINATION IN INDOOR FIRING RANGES USING MODIFIED AMMUNITION Arpad A. Juhasz

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Reloading/Lead%20Toxicity/LeadinAir38Special158grainbullets.jpg

The referenced report shows a 158 L bullet fired in a S&W M10 38 Special, with a lead styphnate primer the average shot put 5643 micrograms of lead into the air. Fired with a lead free primer the average shot put 3380 micrograms of lead into the air. When the barrel was cleaned of lead fouling, copper jacketed lead free primers put an average of 13 micrograms of lead in the air. If you read the report, they really never removed all the lead fouling and so it is uncertain just how much lead would come out with a barrel that was only shot with copper jacketed bullets and lead free primers, but it would probably be less.

I find it amazing that each shot from a 38 Special blows 5643 micrograms of lead in the air. This quantity of lead in the air provides a reason to all the reports of elevated lead levels from shooters at indoor ranges. There is an indoor range where I live, I have shot in it, the air flow away from the firing points is fast, but coincidentally one of the Range Attendants is a patient of my General Practitioner . My Doc said this guy has high lead levels in his blood. The exact numbers are none of my business.

Based on this, first thing you should do if you really want to limit your lead exposure is to avoid indoor ranges, and shoot copper jacketed bullets.

Then, if you are doing that, be mindful of the lead in the air from casting and the lead you carry on your clothes, and your skin, from the loading bench.

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