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Old November 29, 2011, 08:33 PM   #201
Mr.Revolverguy
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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
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Old November 30, 2011, 02:13 PM   #202
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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.
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Old January 22, 2012, 09:21 PM   #203
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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.

Last edited by carbuncle; January 23, 2012 at 05:45 PM.
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Old February 2, 2012, 12:32 AM   #204
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Elevated Lead Levels

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.
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Old February 2, 2012, 01:33 AM   #205
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< 20 if you're an adult male. (of course < 10 is better)
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Old February 9, 2012, 02:17 AM   #206
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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.
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Old February 9, 2012, 12:28 PM   #207
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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-...00-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-part...espirator.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.
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Old February 9, 2012, 02:59 PM   #208
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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.
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Old February 16, 2012, 03:35 PM   #209
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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.
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Old February 17, 2012, 01:47 AM   #210
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Quote:
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.
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Old February 17, 2012, 02:16 PM   #211
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Quote:
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.

Last edited by DickM; February 17, 2012 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Edited a few words for clarity
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:45 AM   #212
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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.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:49 PM   #213
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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.

Last edited by orionengnr; February 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM.
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Old February 19, 2012, 11:54 AM   #214
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Quote:
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.
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Old February 20, 2012, 08:56 AM   #215
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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.
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Old February 20, 2012, 05:06 PM   #216
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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.
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Old February 21, 2012, 06:35 PM   #217
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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?
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Old February 21, 2012, 06:43 PM   #218
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^^^ 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.
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Old February 21, 2012, 07:22 PM   #219
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Quote:
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.
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Old March 16, 2012, 04:30 PM   #220
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What happened to the sticky status?TTT,(To The Top).
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Old March 16, 2012, 04:45 PM   #221
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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.
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Old April 22, 2012, 10:16 PM   #222
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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.

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Old April 23, 2012, 12:09 AM   #223
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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.
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Old April 23, 2012, 02:52 PM   #224
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Lead

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.
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Old April 24, 2012, 11:14 AM   #225
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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.
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