Good article about lead bullets/health risks, labor issues in Seattle WA... - THR

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Old Yesterday, 04:58 AM   #1
Join Date: April 27, 2006
Posts: 2,667
Good article about lead bullets/health risks, labor issues in Seattle WA...

I read a great detailed article online about the serious problem of lead exposure & labor/safety issues at US gun ranges, gun shops.

This link to the media site: www.seattletimes.com . The in depth story; Loaded With Lead 10/17/2014 discussed the toxic & dangerous fumes that come with working in the shooting sports industry. The reporters also found that many gun ranges & pistol clubs had OSHA, www.OSHA.gov problems or didn't meet state health-labor standards.
A few ranges & locations had no formal checks or safety/air quality inspections.

The Seattle Times article wasn't anti-gun or slanted IMO. It seemed to stress the necessity for gun range owners or private clubs to take precautions or be aware of the serious health risks involved with extended exposure to lead & other toxic substances.

If you own a gun range or work at a gun shop/gun range, I highly suggest you read this Seattle Times article & get a full medical check-up.
Most of the ranges in my metro area are clean, well run & have proper ventilation but I've seen other places that were not safe to work in.

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Old Yesterday, 07:43 AM   #2
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Seen my fair share of range employees who seemed to have lead poisoning affecting their minds! Haha
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Old Yesterday, 05:09 PM   #3
Join Date: April 27, 2006
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Lead, toxic substances.....

I think the solution to a lot of the employee health/labor issue is for gun range owners/gun clubs to;
A) Keep the ranges or lanes clean. To constantly clear away any trash, spent brass, lead bullets/expanded bullets, etc is smart. To wipe down the surfaces & properly throw out all trash bags/garbage can help reduce the exposures & prevent illness/problems.
B) Train & mandate the use of gloves, eye protection, hazmat, signs of exposure, etc. Many of these gun ranges & shop only pay service industry wages: $8.00/$9.00/$10.00 per hour. The staffs & managers should make the effort to prepare for the environmental issues & toxins/propellants/carbon effects.
C) Gun range managers & owners should spend the $$$ to have proper ventilation & air purifiers/cleaning agents to keep the fumes-smoke-lead at a min.
D) Using lead free rounds or ammunition that has reduced lead content/reduced toxins. That may be more expensive but it will be safer in the long term.
E) Gun ranges(indoors) should not allow pregnant women, young children or anyone with breathing/lung problems(use of oxygen tanks) on the range.
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Old Yesterday, 10:40 PM   #4
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The proper answer is for indoor shooting ranges to have 100% outside air so nothing is recirculated. I don't believe the brass, trash, and other refuse is a health issue although you might be able to make an argument that it is a safety issue. As to the bullets, they should all be caught in the trap at the opposite end of the range from where you shoot and this should also be the area where the range air is exhausted. The worst lead poisoning is the one that enters your body at a high rate of speed.
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Old Yesterday, 11:07 PM   #5
Join Date: April 27, 2006
Posts: 2,667

I would still have staff or range personnel wear face masks/purifiers & garments/gloves when cleaning up the lanes at the end of the day.
They should know what the signs of lead poisoning & illness can be too.

I recall reading a forum post about a target shooting team in MA that started using precautions & wearing masks after the gunsmoke/fumes became a problem.
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Old Yesterday, 11:55 PM   #6
Join Date: July 20, 2009
Location: CA
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I read the series and was thinking about putting a post in THR. Glad to see someone already did. Agree with op general comments. I did get my lead level checked two years ago and for upcoming physical I had already asked to have it checked again. I figure I'm already getting blood drawn so why not add the test.

I wish the article would have talked a bit more about outdoor ranges as I suspect there are less problems.
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Old Today, 01:34 AM   #7
Join Date: April 27, 2006
Posts: 2,667

Thanks for the post.
I read the Seattle Times article & it made me realize a few things too.
I was unaware the problems were so serious & so wide-spread(all over the US).
I don't go to indoor ranges as much as a professional target shooter or Navy SEAL so my lead exposure isn't a major problem.
A popular shooting range near me is well run & has a fairly competent cadre.

Prevention & using precautions is the big take-away from the article series.
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Old Today, 01:44 AM   #8
Join Date: June 5, 2003
Location: AZ
Posts: 1,032
Good article Rusty. As usual you do good research.
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Old Today, 09:27 AM   #9
Join Date: August 25, 2007
Posts: 347
Indoor ranges might not be as bad as the "experts" say.
Don't forget if the world isn't as dangerous as OSHA and others say, there would be a lot of bureaucrats scrounging for much lower paying jobs.
Lead, for example, isn't as easy to absorb as it sounds.
I used to use an indoor range twice a month minimum for five straight years.
It was hardly a clean place, but it did have decent ventilation.
And my lead count never increased.
Just for a precaution, sometimes if the range was busy, I'd use a simple paper style mask.
Plus washing face and hands well before eating or drinking anything, and throwing my range clothes directly into the washing machine when getting home after a range session.
That was all it took to avoid high lead blood counts.
"Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't no how permanent."
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Old Today, 04:12 PM   #10
Join Date: November 8, 2012
Posts: 340
I avoid indoor ranges at all costs... typically they are packed, loud, and stink... even in 100F+ weather or 40F below weather in Texas... I'd pick an outdoor range over indoor anyday...
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Old Today, 05:01 PM   #11
Join Date: February 22, 2011
Posts: 664
I'd pick an outdoor range over indoor anyday...

I'd also say, don't smoke while shooting. If you handle lead, your hands will transfer it to a cigarette. As the cigarette burns, and you inhale, you get that transferred lead in your lungs.

And/or, double up on the grapefruit juice. The acids help escort lead out of your body.
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