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I have high lead

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Schwing, Aug 30, 2013.

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  1. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I thought I would throw this out there. I am pretty careful when I reload and cast bullets. I wear gloves and cast outside and, for that matter, I have only caste once and made one batch of ingots from wheel weights. I had my yearly physical 2 days ago. I have been feeling like absolute crap for about a month now and had classic symptoms of lead poisoning so I asked my doc to check my lead level. It was 32 which is dangerously high but, luckily, not high enough to need chelation therapy. He has told me to stop going to the range and get away from the lead for a few months. I was concerned enough to have all of my kids tested. They are all at basically 0. I was extremely relieved and grateful for that.

    I was really upset that something I have done has put my own health and, until I had my kids tested, possibly their health as well into jeopardy. I do not know where in the process I was exposed. I shoot outdoors, cast outdoors and keep gloves on when dealing with lead so I am scratching my head a little as to where this came from.

    I will go back in three months to be tested and then, if I am lower, I will start again with much more diligence. I feel like a moron that I allowed this to happen and am even more upset over the fact that I am going to be out of circulation for at least 3 months.

    The only thing I can think of was that I tumbled a few loads finished bullets to remove the lube a couple of months ago and probably inhaled some of the media when I was emptying it into the strainer. It is the only activity I can think of that was not very careful.

    I would encourage all of you casters and reloaders to get tested. I would have never thought that I would have an issue.
     
  2. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Do you shoot lead boolits at an indoor range? If so, is it well ventilated?

    Did you recently move into a new home? Have you had your water tested?

    Do you ever work with solder?
     
  3. MCMXI
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    MCMXI Contributing Member

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    I don't see how anything you describe would result in dangerous lead levels in your blood. I'd be making my own dinner from now on. :scrutiny:
     
  4. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    Are you eating the stuff? I don't take half the precautions you do and my lead levels have always been safe
     
  5. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I'd be interested in more info. Is your range indoor and how often had you been shooting? If you've only cast once then it seems unlikely this spiked your levels. But OTOH I've heard of indoor ranges without proper vents causing alarming spikes even from .22LR (ie you're not picking up brass or anything).
     
  6. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    Drinking coffee from mugs made in china or Mexico?
     
  7. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    It is my (relatively uninformed) understanding that different peoples' body chemistry effects lead uptake. You may just be prone to it.
     
  8. moxie

    moxie Member

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    Get it re-checked.
     
  9. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    I second that
     
  10. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    I almost choked when I read that. Haha!



    Sorry, back to the seriousness of lead poisoning. Casting and handling bullets aren't usually the cause unless you are doing something really dumb like licking the dust off your fingers in your work area. It is usually the primer residue that generates nasty stuff.
     
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    There are others who engage in risky practices and have low lead levels, so I don’t know.

    I am of the opinion that shooting cast bullets creates the highest lead exposure to shooters, based on the data from this report.

    LeadinAir38Special158grainbullets.jpg

    This data came from the 60’s and shows just how much lead was in the air with the industrial practices of the period. Which were just about as primitive as the typical home shop is now.

    LeadConcentrations.jpg

    LeadConcentrationsoverleadpots.jpg

    I wish you luck in determining just what is causing your elevated lead levels. Please share if you figure it out.
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    +1.

    Don
     
  13. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Were you ever tested prior to starting reloading and shooting? You need a baseline to start from, and you may have had high levels in the past and just not known it. One of the worst contributors to lead poisoning was the lead in gasoline, and the next was lead based paint. You may have had this since childhood.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  14. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    when you are casting, do you touch your face much ? rub your eyes, scratch your nose , wipe your mouth , smoke ? eat ? drink ? if any of that, you should wear a full face shield to brake you of that , and after you cast and clean up your work area and hit the shower and blow your nose, make sure you never smoke, eat, or drink in your casting area, even when your not casting, I see you said you shoot outdoors , if you shoot a lot of cast try not to shoot with the wind in your face, there is lead in that smoke that you would be breathing in. Also do the same when prepping your brass , primers have lead in them , all that black dust by your press, yep. lead , it's not just carbon as some think, , and it may not be from any of that , think about where you work, what and where you eat , ect ect ..

    oh and stop eating the paint chips :neener:

    and get well soon,
     
  15. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I shoot indoors very rarely. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I did that. I really do wish I'd had a baseline test before I started casting but I didn't get one so... The rest of my family has been tested and all came back <3 so I don't believe it is anything in my house or water.

    As ATLDave said, my doctor also mentioned this, that people do react differently to lead exposure. Some people seem to be able to eat the stuff and others seem to have problems with very limited exposure. I hope that isn't the case. Even if it is, I don't have any intention of stopping on a permanent basis. I will just have to be vigilant and figure out what it is I am doing.

    I don't think I touch my face but, when I start up again, I am going to at least get a face mask or maybe even a respirator. If nothing else, it will guarantee that I am not touching my mouth or nose. I do sweat like crazy doing this outside. I think it is very possible that I am getting it into my mouth through the sweat (great topic here).

    I also can't help but wonder how serious it really is. I was looking at the published guidelines back in the 60s and they didn't even bat an eye until you got over 50 or 60. I know they did a lot of other things back then that were stupid too but I have a lot of friends and family who worked in manufacturing back then and they are all still alive, kicking (barring a couple who died of old age or drunk driving etc), and they are all relatively twitch free.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  16. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    Schwing, what about tumbling brass? Might want to get a surgical mask if you dont already. Those tumblers really kick up the dust.
     
  17. flgolfer29

    flgolfer29 Member

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    I was tested for lead couple of years ago, elevated but lower than 20 (18, I think). It was high enough I got a phone call from the County Health department inquiring my work & leisure habits. No problem there, I was curious myself.

    After the suggested 3 months hiatus from anything shooting / reloading related, I came back with a new outlook on the way I was doing things.

    I quit shooting at indoor ranges, now wear latex(?) gloves while reloading and handling dirty brass, and tumble dirty brass outside of shed.

    After making the changes and having the lead levels tested periodically, my current value of lead is less than 3. I attribute my exposure to indoor shooting ranges with poor ventilation and tumbling dirty brass in the shed.

    Good luck with your levels in the near future.

    joe
     
  18. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I have been checking myself occasionally as I am a heavy outdoor lead shooter.

    What I have found is that I have exceptionally low lead in my blood. My doc says I am right at the very bottom of the normal range of levels.

    I attribute it to good hygiene when loading. Shooting outdoors exclusively and lots of washing my hands before leaving the range or at the range. Also never eat/drink while shooting or loading. (although occasionally I will have a cup of joe around)
     
  19. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "I would have never thought that I would have an issue."

    Neither would I and I doubt your reloading is the cause.
     
  20. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    also don't forget it may not be just one thing , a little lead smoke in your face at the range ,no biggie ,a little primer dust in your cup of joe ,no biggie, some dust from your tumbler once a week or so , forget to wash your hands after casting and grab a bite to eat , no biggie , but all the above in 3 or 4 days plus what ever other factors , like if you're more likely to get sick than other ,and add the fact there is going to be lead in your guns when you clean them , I would find it hard to believe you got sick from any one thing, kind of like no one gets fat from that one cookie :D heck I can still taste all those lead split-shot sinkers we use to bite down on when I was a kid out fishing and I don't ever remember getting sick from them
     
  21. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Recheck all of your basic hygiene practices. Keep your fingers out of your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Safety glasses will help keeping away from eyes, face mask or sheild the nose or mouth. Also when you leave the bench, wash up before doing anything else. No eating, drinking or smoking while pouring or loading.

    Even if you are prone to lead, and the test is right, you're doing something that puts lead in your system.
     
  22. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

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    It's hard to believe your routine is raising your lead levels. It's too bad you didn't get your levels checked before you started. Listen to your doctor.
     
  23. ILikeLead

    ILikeLead Member

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    Please disregard my username for a second. ;).

    Elevated lead levels cause the most problems in children. But studies have also shown that elevated lead even in the "normal range" can increase stroke and heart attack risk in adults. It is also thought to increase blood pressure (if that applies to op). One study about 7-8 years ago though found that increasing your levels of vitamin c could decrease your lead levels up to 60 percent(I forget exact percentage)

    But as moxie said, rechecking it is not a bad idea either. I was taught in my medical training that IMF you get an unexpected result, consider lab error and recheck it!

    Hope this helps.
     
  24. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Member

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    I should get my level drawn.
     
  25. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    3 years ago mine was at 29.
    The only thing I've changed is that I no longer shoot from inside a shed-type structure.
    It's all strictly outdoors now.

    In June I had it tested & it was 7.

    Good luck in finding the solution.
    I hope it's as easy as mine.
     
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