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respirator for indoor range use

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by 30 cal slob, May 9, 2007.

  1. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Well-Known Member

    anybody here who shoots with a respirator in an indoor range?

    care to recommend one so that my family jewels don't fall off?

    thank you.

  2. torpid

    torpid Well-Known Member

    How exactly do you breathe, sir? :uhoh:

    Seriously, the only system I've used was a positive-pressure full facemask when cleaning the lanes, and I was very glad to have the fresh air constantly blowing on my face keeping the nasties out.

    Good question.
  3. Rustynuts

    Rustynuts Well-Known Member

    Are you looking for a real respirator, or just a "dust" mask. Either way I think people will look at you real strange! I'd just find a range that has good ventilation.
  4. I've seen people using those. However, a range has poor enough ventilation to require one, I'd look for another range.
  5. eflatminor

    eflatminor Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth, I too am looking for the right mask. I found one at Home Depot designed to block lead dust but it was cheap - the stap broke the first day I used it.

    Also, at the indoor Bulls Eye match I shoot every Wednesday, there are several guys with masks. I really don't care if it looks strange, I don't want that **** in my lungs! Certainly a well venelated range helps, but you're still breathing in lead. I also want to use the mask when I'm cleaning brass, especially when I'm separating it from the medium.
  6. atomchaser

    atomchaser Well-Known Member

    Respiratory protection should be the last measure to take after engineering controls are considered an implemented. If you suspect hazardous Pb levels, you should discuss it with the range owner. The problems with respirators are: they require a fit test to ensure proper size and fit; the filters have a limited lifetime and require periodic replacement, they are uncomfortable and can cause safety problems in and of themselves; they cause an additional respiratory load that may present a hazard to those that have pulmonary or cardiac risk factors.

    I understand your concern for your health, but you should investigate other options first. If you decide that you need a respirator, get a quality half face (MSA, Draeger, 3M, etc). Filtering facepieces ("surgeon's mask") are not what you want.

    You can always have your physican prescribe a blood lead level test to see if it is real issue for you right now.
  7. Lurper

    Lurper Well-Known Member

    You would have to be shooting a lot and everyday in a nearly unventilated range to have a level of exposure high enough to be concerned with. Just wash your hands before you put them near your mouth and change your clothes when you go home. If you are really that concerned, get a blood test. But the risk is virtually nil.
  8. Caimlas

    Caimlas Well-Known Member

    That's a good idea in general. They're cheap, and as heavy metal content is accumulative (though there are ways to detoxify your body) and cancer-causing, it's important to know what you're dealing with. Doubly so if you reload w/ lead projectiles.
  9. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Well-Known Member

    Not true. A friend of mine on another board recently found out he had a BLL of 39, and he doesn't shoot very often at all. In fact, shooting even a day or two every few weeks at an indoor range can be very, very detrimental to one's health. That's facts. Even the best indoor ranges will never be able to completely scrub the air to the point of OSHA compliance, and even if they could, not everyone has access to multiple ranges.

    I'm with the OP and some of the other commenters - I don't care WHAT I look like. I want to be able to keep shooting for as long as I can, and if it takes a silly looking mask to do it, show me where to sign up.
  10. Aneat

    Aneat Well-Known Member

    You will need a P100 rated respirator. They can be had in either the disposable type of the cartridge type.

    If my only option was shooting indoors I would wear one.
  11. Slinger

    Slinger Well-Known Member

    HA! Had to laugh out loud at that one!

  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    Cheap half face respirator will run you around $35 at Lowes. What you are looking for are the N95 cartridges (dust and small particles) which are used for asbestos and mold type work. They make expensive dust masks with the breathing valve in which are the N95 type. Probably what you are looking for and they are also sold at Lowes/Home Depot or the large companies which specialize in commercial respirators. They are better than nothing, but not great. I can't see wearing a respirator in an indoor shooting range. I rather not shoot in that case. They need to increase the air flow and replacements. In which case, there will almost be a breeze indoors.

    It is one of the reasons I left my membership lapse at an indoor range. The fumes were awful when there were a lot of people shooting. I think the fumes consisted of gun powder which irritate me after being around them at high levels. You will not notice anything physcial without testing from airborne lead. And, as stated, more lead exposure occur with the folks that cast their own bullets.
    Last edited: May 10, 2007
  13. Aneat

    Aneat Well-Known Member

  14. Lurper

    Lurper Well-Known Member

    Your friend's level more than likely comes from something other than range exposure. If he is making his own lead bullets, that is the most common way. Another is smoking or eating before washing your hands. As long as you aren't sweeping up the dust without a respirator you should be fine. Most ranges have to meet OSHA standards and do. Most also require lead level tests for employees. Most employees don't have elevated lead levels.

    I worked at indoor ranges for several years with no problem. Until we remodeled. Then three of us had extremely high levels (we moved some props above the baffles w/out respirators). Blood lead is measured in Ul or ull but I can't remember what it stands for. < 5 is acceptable. My level was 83, one of the other guy's was 99 and the third was 110. None of us were hospitalized, but the poison control center used to call me once a week for about 6 weeks just to see how I was doing. None of us iirc were treated with chelation therapy (I know I wasn't). Within 6 months my level was down to 18 3 months later it was 2. I worked at the indoor range for 2 years after that and never had an elevated lead level. Nor have I suffered any long term damage from it.
  15. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Well-Known Member


    Judging by that, I'd say you're pretty lucky.
    By your own admission, you and your co-workers were far above that level.

    The lack of chelation therapy/medical monitoring seems like a breach of OSHA protocol by whoever ran your range, something you might want to look into. Your health is an important issue, and if they caused you damage they need to pay for it.

    I'm not trying to call you a liar, but the assertion that most indoor ranges meet/exceed OSHA standards is something I'd like a source on to believe it.

    Whether or not the friend I referred to earlier had been exposed to a seperate source of lead is, in a way, irrelevant - the quotes I've provided, as well as many other sources of info on the subject show that indoor ranges are a significant enough source of lead that they can and do cause dangerous blood lead levels in even casual shooters.
  16. skeeter1

    skeeter1 Well-Known Member

    It never occured to me. The range I go to has a ventilation system that will practically suck anything out of the room that isn't nailed down. I've never even smelled gunpowder there. Only problem is that in the winter you'd better bundle up or risk freezing your tail off.
  17. Lurper

    Lurper Well-Known Member

    That was in 1986. I have had no ill effects. We were all under a physicians care and chelation was discussed, but never implemented. The range was located in VA and when it was constructed OSHA iirc came out to sample the are quality and measure the air flow. One of the things they used to do about annually was use big smoke bombs to test the air flow and take samples where the air was exhausted.

    NIOSH has standards for ranges and I believe OSHA does as well. You can probably find them on their websites.
  18. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Well-Known Member

    *cough* *hack*

    seriously, i am shooting a lot more now. minimum 500 rounds a week (part of this is a subgun that was recently clocked at a 1,464 rpm cyclic rate - there were witnesses, lol). gas money allocated for fishing trips now being diverted to ammo and range time.

    i figure it's better to be safe than sorry. could care less if i look like a mutant on the line.

    i wonder if you get a lot of lead exposure through the skin. hands get all smutty while shooting. i wear latex gloves while cleaning guns, and am diligent about washing hands and showering after shooting.

    gloves while shooting? hmmm.

    good idea to get tested for heavy metals.
  19. motorcycle_dan

    motorcycle_dan Well-Known Member

    Answering the original question. I use a mask from a local industrial supply house. The 3M brand N100 or P100 (I use the N100) less than $10 each. They come in a box of 20 but they can sell them separate. Last the season, no problem. While at a big match I worry more about the powder smoke than I do the lead. I find it gives me a headache by the 45 phase of a 2700 match.
  20. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    If you check the THR Library you will find a link to an article on Minimizing Lead Exposure that goes to http://www.corneredcat.com/Safety/lead.aspx.

    If you are concerned about lead exposure have your physician perform a BLL with ZPP. If you find that they are elevated then consider changing where you shoot or ask the range to bypass the filters and use all fresh air when you're on the range. It may make things hot or cold, but fresh air beats contaminated air. This is far preferable to using a respirator.

    If you decide to use a respirator go to 29CFR1910.134 App C (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9783) and complete the questionnaire and have your doctor look it over to determine if a tight fitting half face respirator is safe for you to use under the conditions you intend to use it. Essentially it is used to find out if it's safe for you to wear a respirator since wearing one puts a strain on the heart and lungs. If your blood pressure is high you should especially get your doctor's input on whether a respirator is safe for you to wear and how often.

    If you do get one be sure that as a minimum you get a low maintenance or no maintenance N95 half face and be sure to keep it clean. They don't do you any good if you allow the lead inside the facepiece and then strap the thing over your nose and mouth. You can get the disposable respirators as well, but the fit factor isn't as good. Be sure to shave before you use it because you need a good face seal to keep from sucking contaminated air around the edges of the facepiece.

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