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Anyone tested for lead around their work area?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by buenhec, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. buenhec

    buenhec Well-Known Member

    In finding out my wife is pregnant I have been rethinking the whole reloading scenario. It gets pretty hot in Arizona so I would hate having to move my bench into the garage.

    Theres a pretty good link on Lead poisoning from shooting in this forum, but I would like to know more about the lead hazards from reloading inside the house.

    I used a test kit yesterday from Home Depot around the kitchen area where I clean my gun and around my reloading room. Both tests were negative but I really dont trust an $8 test.

    Anyone out there looked into this?
  2. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    IIRC, tumblers are a hot bed for lead. At the very least, I'd move the tumbler outside, add some mineral spirits to keep the dust down, add used drier sheets (cut into small squares), and/or change your media often.

    Otherwise, use jacketed bullets as much as possible, or fully plated bullets for pistol calibers. Wash your hands well after reloading. You can also try latex gloves to minimize your exposure.

    There doesn't seem to be much chance for lead exposure during reloading unless you're casting or tumbling.
  3. amlevin

    amlevin Well-Known Member

    Simple rules:

    Wash your hands often. Always at the end of a loading session.
    Change your clothes if possible after a session and put the outer clothes directly into the washing machine.
    Don't eat or touch areas of your face while loading.
    Clean your work area frequently. If you are using a vacuum, make sure you have a HEPA filter in it. (available for shop vac's and many canister style home vac's).
    Wash your hands.
    Wear a dust mask when disposing old polish media.
    Wash your hands.
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    That act of reloading Lead bullets won't put Lead into the area. You tested the area with a kit. Even though the kit is only $8 you can trust it. Lead will react with the chemicals in the test kit whether it cost you $8 or $80 because the chemicals don't change.

    I agree you should be careful around your wife so as not to endanger the baby but there are many other things around the house far more dangerous than your bullets. For one thing, the cat litter pan. If you have a cat you should read up on the dangers of cat urine and pregnancy.
  5. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    I got a little one around and follow the advice above about the tumbler and changing my clothes after reloading or a trip to the range. Since I've got baby wipes around I've pilfered some for the reloading room and the range box for my use. I'll wipe my hands down before coming out of the reloading room or off the range so I don't 'contaminate' everything I touch on the way to washing my hands. I also wipe down and sweep my reloading area (with a dedicated broom and dustpan) when I'm done. It's only a little extra effort and sets my mind at ease about little ones with sticky hands, y'know.
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I do the very same thing you do. I usually buy the cheap baby wipes since they are only for cleaning my hands. I keep a plastic container of them in my shooting bag. They work very well for cleaning up after shooting.... Also, I'm lucky enough to have a sink in the reloading room so I can wash up before I leave the area.
  7. cornman

    cornman member

    I would avoid most indoor ranges if worried about lead. The smell of some of them is enough to make me sick.
  8. Dumpster Baby

    Dumpster Baby Well-Known Member

    In the 1970's and early 1980's I worked in cop shops. Two of our most regular visitors were a couple of range officers that worked in the city's basement pistol range. Both got badly affected by lead dust and had to retire on medical disabilities. One guy was too messed up to get out and around any more, and the other came in a few more times before he too dropped out of sight. This guy went from being a recruiting poster cop to a long haired hippie that couldn't reason right or talk in complete sentences. He would seamlessly change topics a time or two in a single sentence, and it was hard to carry on a conversation with him. That range had to be closed down and decontaminated by guys in nuke suits. It stores file boxes and broken furniture these days.

    There's no danger of lead contamination in the home from reloading and gun cleaning, and all indoor ranges today have had a lot of expensive attention paid to dust control and ventilation. The old sand traps have been replaced with water traps, directional ventilation installed, etc, etc. They do accumulate a lot of powder residue in front of the firing line and the ranges have to clean that up frequently (or should).

    One time my dad fired his .36 cal cap and ball revolver at an old indoor range and a spark lit off the powder residue on the floor in front of him. A smoky "fuse" flared from one end of the range to the other and had everyone backing up going ***. :evil:

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