1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Lead Safety

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by peetee32, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. peetee32

    peetee32 New Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    I am going to spend the weekend at my friends cabin where I will probably put a few hundred rounds through my .22 and S&W .357, as well as a few boxes of 30-06 during the weekend. we will be outside the whole time.

    at home i have two young children, 20mo and 5mo old.

    my wife and i are concerned about lead saftey. i plan on taking the following precautions:

    clothes/shoes i wear shooting will not be washed in our washer, will bag them and they will not be with my 'regular' clothes

    i will shower and change with cold soapy water before coming home

    cold water and wipes used on hands while shooting/handling ammo

    should i go so far as to wear a full body zip up suit while shooting, or wearing gloves while cleaning the firearms?
    any other suggestions?
    am i being paranoid?

    thanks in advance.
  2. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Senior Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    Yer paranoid...You might not want to handle your kids with the clothes you wear to work either...You should be very careful washing those same clothes in your washing machine that rinses two to three times. You should be very careful about breathing on them until you brush your teeth too.

    Even if you were to shoot at an indoor range I doubt that you will have enough lead on you or your clothes to harm anything.

    Just come home and take a shower and brush your hair and hug your family. You might even hug them as you walk in the door.

    You're just not going to have that much lead residue on you...
  3. jnyork

    jnyork Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    Arizona and Wyoming
    Well, there is no such thing as being too safe, but I think maybe the body suit is a bit much, and what's with the cold water? If you are concerned, just stay clean like you usually do, wash your hands, etc, you'll be fine. Your clothes will not be radioactive or anything, so no need to pitch them. Just wash 'em and they'll be fine too.

    Your concern for your children's health is highly commendable, but there is entirely too much hype and hysteria on the lead issue.

    BADUNAME37 Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    You need to wear a full-face gas mask, Tyvek suit, duct-taped at the wrists and ankles with rubber gloves (a scubadiving dry suit works well, with the tanks).

    When you are finished, you need to burn all the clothes you had with you.

    Make sure you keep your vehicle closed up completely, including all inside air controls in the OFF position and all windows up.

    When you are done shooting, write down the model and serial numbers of each gun, carefully box them all up with excessive padding so they won't get scratched or damaged in any way and send them via FedEx to me. I'll take care of your guns for you.:) Please DO NOT ship any ammunition. I suppose you can bury all the ammunition you don't use along with all the empty cases (in a place that is safe to bury such items).

    In the meantime, your children may become exposed in another way to more lead than you would normally bring home, had you not done all of the above.

    Take the above as humor.
    To answer your question, and before I receive shipment of your valuable guns, yes, you are being a bit paranoid and NO, I DO NOT WANT YOUR GUNS (you keep them!).

    When I shot 600 rounds of 357 Magnum lead Semiwadcutters - maximum loads - in a poorly-ventilated area and at the end of the session, my hands and my gun felt slippery and everything was gray, then I knew I had to do some "cleaning up" after shooting indoors in a poorly-ventilated area.

    I convinced my doctor to take blood to test for lead and it was elevated (it was not from a one-time occurrence, but was an average of 600 rounds a night for several weeks)! That was the end of shooting all-lead bullets indoors without ventilation. Even then, with all that exposure, the levels were surprisingly not real high (the number seems to have been around 14)!

    I just found out what the 14 lead level number meant:http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/test/lead-levels-blood/overview.html:
    Normal Results
    Adults: Less than 20 micrograms/dL of lead in the blood
    Children: Less than 10 micrograms/dL of lead in the blood
    Note: dL = deciliter

    What Abnormal Results Mean
    Adults exposed to lead should have blood lead levels below 40 micrograms/dL. Treatment is recommended if the level exceeds 80 micrograms/dL. (Mine was 14)

    In children, greater than 10 micrograms/dL of lead in the blood is abnormal. The source of lead must be identified and removed. Greater than 25 micrograms/dL of lead in a child's blood may indicate the need for treatment.

    Since you will be outdoors, you should be just fine. Just wash your hands often if eating. Personally, I don't think you need to throw away your clothes, just wash them separately from the family's clothes.

    More than anything, don't worry to the point where you take the fun out of it, but just be a bit cautious.


    Heck, having a Big Mac may be worse for you than any lead you may ingest (if you're CAREFUL)!
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  5. K5mitch

    K5mitch Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    x2 on what Inspector has said.

    I reload and regularly shoot lead bullets.

    When reloading, I just put on some gloves (cheap nitrile gloves) so I don't have to wash my hands when taking a break.

    At the range its just a matter of not touching bodily orifices or anything that you eat/drink/smoke from.

    I wear gloves while cleaning for the same reason as reloading -- convenience, I don't have to scrub my hands when I'm done (nor do I need to worry about getting finger oils on the freshly cleaned bluing).
  6. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Senior Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    Howard County, Merry Land
    You're over-reacting. Just make sure you shower before you go home (and hot water is fine - cold water is no more effective in removing residue than hot) and are wearing clean clothes when you say hello to the kiddos.

    I'm not trying to say that lead is not an issue, because it is, especially with the little ones - but you're worrying far too much (which I suppose is good for a parent). Just make sure you're clean and are wearing clean clothes, and you'll be good to go.

    BADUNAME37 Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Instead of lead, I would worry that I have proper HEARING PROTECTION!:eek:
  8. distra

    distra Senior Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    Yes, you need full hazmat gear to shoot anything, but plastic bullets! Get the bunny suit out! :p Seriously, I have a 3yr and 4 month old @ home and I reload. I've run several lead tests throughout the house and have found more lead on chinese made toys than any of my clothes after shooting. Now I basically shoot fully jacketed or polymer coated bullets except for skeet. I've tested my clothes and found basically no lead residue. Get a couple test kits and check for yourself. Get the data and analysis it before implimenting an unrealistic protocol. From a risk assement perspective, driving the kids to grandma's is a much higher risk to their health than you shooting a couple hundred rounds.
  9. makarovnik

    makarovnik Senior Member

    Jul 8, 2006
    It's perfectly safe outside or inside with a good air handling system. The problem in the past has been using lead shot for waterfowl hunting. All the lead pellets in the marsh land and water is not so good. Also, small amounts of lead exposure aren't that big of a deal for adults, only for children.

    I have inhaled more than my fair share of lead dust from paint and old body fillers on cars and I'm only mildly retarded.

    I must admit I'm more cautious now.
  10. MikePGS

    MikePGS Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2006
    Metro Detroit, Michigan
    The idea of using cold or room temperature water isn't about its effectiveness, its so that your pores don't open up. I'm very paranoid about lead myself, so much that i haven't gone shooting in some time, and thats a shame. However, taking basic precautions should be more than sufficient. Its good to wash your clothes seperate from the other clothes, and some people even advise that you do an empty cycle after you wash said clothes, in order to make sure there are no remnants left. Take your shoes off at the door so your not tracking hypothetical leads particles through the area where a child might crawl and then stuff its little hands into its mouth (my baby is 12 weeks old and already jams her fist into her mouth when she's hungry). Really i think the majority of any danger is when your shooting indoors at a poorly ventilated range. They say that if you can feel a breeze while shooting indoors, that its probably well ventilated enough. You can go so far as to use winclean and leadless ammunition (which i will probably do) but shooting outdoors and changing your clothes and all that will probably be just fine. Of course thats just my advise, you should probably look into it yourself because ultimately we must each make our own choice as to what is or isn't sufficient.
  11. Zoogster

    Zoogster Senior Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    Just change your clothes and wash your hands.

    Most lead exposure during shooting is from minute amounts vaporized or created from friction when the round is going down the bore.
    It is a very small amount, most of it going forward of the muzzle.

    If you are outdoors in a place people normaly don't shoot much (like a range)there will be very little lead.
    In fact you will be exposed to less pollutants than just breathing city air.

    The only time you are really exposed to much lead is when you clean the barrel. Or if you are using unjacketed ammo without any coating and some of it has oxidized. If there is powder with your ammo it is oxidized lead and you should be careful with it, not breathe it, and treat it like mild poison. That is, like you would insect repellant, or household chemicals.

    So just wash up after handling ammo and shooting.
    Lead is an accumulative toxin, but it is not nearly as dangerous as many make it out to be.
    The Latin name for lead is plumbum, because it was used for most plumbing in antiquity.
    The Romans used lead salt to sweeten wines, and diluted wine was thier primary beverage.
    So most of thier water was piped through lead pipes, and they ate actual small quantites of lead on a regular basis.
    Yet even with those stupid and harmful practices they managed to become the powerful Roman Empire.

    I certainly wouldn't recomend injesting any lead. You should wash up, and avoid eating, drinking, or smoking, before washing.
    The clothing you wear can be changed.
    Those practices will keep you and your children perfectly safe.

    Worry more about ear and eye protection, and that you and your friend do nothing stupid with the firearms. Follow the 4 rules.
  12. peetee32

    peetee32 New Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    thanks for all the info...if not a litte bit over the top.

    just don't underestimate the danger of lead. harmless levels to adults can be toxic to pregnant women, infants and children.

    im still throwing around the idea of the coveralls painters wear just for my wifes piece of mind.
  13. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Wife and Life!

    It is extremely IMPORTANT to keep your wife happy!:)
    I know, I've had one for almost 28 years now!:eek:

    Coveralls would be an excellent idea! Especially if they can be cheap enough to throw away.
    They would offer both PEACE OF MIND and PEACE.
  14. wep45

    wep45 Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    and hot water is fine - cold water is no more effective in removing residue than hot)

    Nope. cold water will keep your pores closed (hot/warm will open them) so less contaminants enter your skin.
  15. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Barnes UNLEADED Bullets.....

    Or, use only UNLEADED Barnes bullets, although they are EXTREMELY PRICEY!:rolleyes:
  16. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Senior Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    A pair of work-gloves I have has become my pair of "range gloves". I wear them when shooting, loading my magazines, handling ammunition, and while cleaning and mantaining my guns, and try not to wear them any other time.

    If you smoke, take it outside, breathing in that stuff is probably far wose for your kids than any residual lead.

Share This Page