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Is lead contact that much of a health issue?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by FlSwampRat, May 29, 2019.

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  1. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    Last time I was at the range there was a guy shooting with nitrile gloves on. I asked him what was up and he said he shoots weekly and he's trying to avoid lead issues. I never thought that much about it even when I was reloading. Any words of wisdom on this?
     
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  2. George P

    George P Member

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    If he is shooting lead bullets, he might be thinking the smoke is lead but it is lube. Now, I DO wear gloves when handling brass that has been in the tumbler as well as when using chemicals to clean them. And, after my last range trips with revolvers, I am thinking of wearing the nitrile gloves - not for lead protection but just to make my hands easier to clean before I go eat lunch.
     
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  3. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    If he's that worried, he should stop shooting.
     
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  4. denton

    denton Member

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    Yes, lead is a health problem. But it is easily handled.

    If you are handling lead, you will transfer a small amount to your hands. If you then handle food or smoke a cigarette without washing your hands, some of that will be transferred to your gut and/or your lungs.

    If you cast bullets, you'll inhale lead vapor if you don't work in a well ventilated area.

    Shooting cast or open base bullets at an indoor range, or standing next to someone who does, you'll get a bit of lead vapor or dust in your lungs. Outdoors, I don't think it's a problem. The indoor range where I sometimes shoot has installed excellent ventilation equipment to prevent health problems.

    It tends to be a cumulative poison, so many small doses over time are a problem. But according to what I've been told, ascorbic acid binds with lead and escorts it out of your system. So if you're worried, drink lots of grapefruit juice.
     
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  5. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    That was my original thought, but I got to wondering. Guess he's just being unduly cautious. People get easily carried away.
     
  6. stonecutter2

    stonecutter2 Member

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    A respirator would do him a lot better than nitrile gloves. Vaporized lead from shooting regularly could certainly be inhaled. As for lead getting on your hands, a good hand washing will likely remove most if not all, and you shouldn't eat, drink, or smoke without washing your hands first. You could also simply use FMJ bullets or plated bullets to encapsulate the lead and minimize direct exposure and vaporization upon firing the bullets.

    Unless this particular person has serious levels of lead in their blood, and has to avoid lead as much as possible, I don't see much point worrying so much as to wear nitrile gloves while shooting, let alone a respirator. Like Gunny said above, if it's that big of a worry, they should stop shooting related activities until lead in their blood returns to safer levels.

    Also, indoor ranges are a much larger concern than outdoor ranges as far as lead levels. You're at the mercy of the ventilation system when indoors to not inhale all that powder and compounds and whatever else.

    If you're curious, just have a lead test done at the doctor's office. Always good to know all is well. After reloading a LOT, I asked my doctor at a random checkup if it would affect lead levels. He kind of shrugged and said - well, why worry - and ordered a lead test. I was absolutely fine.
     
  7. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    The linked information is very useful. It is reassuring to know that the body can and will eliminate lead.
     
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  8. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Some people seem to find something to worry about. My farther-in-law was so worried about chocking that he would peal grapes. He was afraid that he would get chocked on the grape skins.
    Now this man was 6'4" and around 285 lbs. He had been in the 82nd Airborne and jumped from plains and made a few glider landings. He was a brave man, but had a fear of chocking.
    He died of a heart attack that could have been prevented. :(
     
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  9. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    It was lead in gasoline, and the resultant fumes, which were bad.
    In addition, lead used to be in paints used in house painting. Small kids were known to pick off flakes and eat them, like they also ate Elmer's glue. Accumulated effects of paint eating did cause bad problems for growing children.
    But shooting at an outdoor range should cause no problems.
    Indoor ranges do need to be well ventilated.
     
  10. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I have been handling lead for more than 50 years now. We used to play with the Mercury from broken thermometers when I was a kid.

    I only twitch 22 hours a day.

    :)
     
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  11. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    When you start twitching 23 hours a day, see a doctor!!!!:evil:
     
  12. mcb

    mcb Member

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    The biggest source of lead from shooting is actually from the lead compounds in the primers. The resulting lead compounds from spent primers are highly water soluble and thus easily introduced into the body. This is the reason they tell you not to touch food and cigarettes while shooting. The lead oxides created from exposed lead bullet contributes also but it is not as readily absorbed into your system. Metallic lead is relatively inert compared to the other two sources.

    So shoot in well ventilated ranges or outdoors to avoid air born lead exposure is good. Wash your hands well after shooting, cleaning/handling guns, or reloading, and before before you eat or smoke. Minimize you exposure to spent brass as this is one of the greatest sources of water soluble lead compounds. I store by brass is sealed 5 gallon buckets in my shop and wear nitrile gloves when preparing large lots of brass. Most doctors will test your heavy metal blood levels for you as part of a physical if your work does not already do it. Not a bad thing to track if you are an avid shooter.
     
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  13. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    I used to cast fishing weights and .440 balls for my muzzleoader, reloaded lead birdshot, my dive weights were uncoated lead, and I played with lead toy soldiers.

    I have poked balls of liquid metal around inside a glass bowl a few times when we got the mercury out of the broken thermometers as well.

    Hasn't aff <NERK NERK> ected me at.
     
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  14. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I had a builders license once upon a time ago and attended a few lead abatement seminars as it pertained to historical or old homes.

    Lead paint dust can cause harm and the smoke from lead paint burning can too. Interesting to note though, if you used a sander to remove lead paint from an entire house, you would not suffer any long term problems until about your 5th or 6th house.

    Much ado is made about lead paint but from my education on the subject the only concern is to professional house remodelers not the average person who buys an old house. Licking the walls won’t kill you either. It is quite interesting how much lead products have been hyped up about how damaging they are.

    That said, I live in an old house and still take lead exposure seriously.

    In the firearms world I would think bullet casting would be the riskiest if the pot got hot enough to make fumes. Just shooting though....I’ve seen some pretty paranoid people in my day. That guy probably also believes the gas station will blow up if there is a cell phone on in a mile radius. Probably doesn’t know there are more germs on the kitchen sink than the toilet either.
     
  15. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Lead melts at 625F-ish (see alloys), but vaporizes at >3000F. When casting, the small amount of airborne lead is actually lead oxide, a (very) finely divided powder; basically lead rust.

    Because it's not actually a gas, you can greatly reduce the amount escaping by keeping the pot covered in flux ie pine dust. You still need ventilation, but this helps a lot.

    In general, when someone worries about exposure to solid lead metal. . . remind them that water pipe was lead pipe for decades, and so long as your water wasn't acidic (oxidizing -> lead oxide) you were fine. It wasn't a great idea, but everyone didn't die either. Non-metallic Iead compounds are the really dangerous stuff.
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I am going to say the shooting community is in real denial about lead and lead poisoning. It is a shame that some good references have disappeared from the web, and this was a good one, and I can't find it with a search anymore


    RISKS OF LEAD POISONING IN FIREARMS INSTRUCTORS AND THEIR STUDENTS

    by Anthony M. Gregory, THE ASLET JOURNAL, March/April 1990 Volume 4 Issue 2

    Lead is toxic, and anyone who spends much time on an indoor shooting range is at serious risk of developing lead poisoning. This is particularly true of firearms instructors who devote a lot of thought and attention to making sure that no one gets shot.


    Virtually all ranges mandate both ear and eye protection, and yet one almost never sees any precautions being taken against lead poisoning, which indicates that it is not perceived as a serious threat. This is a grave mistake. Even at low levels, lead poisoning can significantly detract from the quality of life, depriving one of energy and vitality for years, and occurs so subtly that it may never be investigated, much less diagnosed. At intermediate levels, lead poisoning produces serious or even devastating symptoms that mimic many other diseases, and explains why it is so easily misdiagnosed. Even at levels one can easily acquire on the shooting range, lead poisoning can, and does, kill.

    In the August 19, 1989 issue of the weekly magazine, Science News, there appeared an article summarizing a research project on lead poisoning that was first reported in the American Journal of Public Health. This research documented the significant risk of lead poisoning in indoor range users. The study followed 17 members of a law enforcement trainee class through a three month period of firearms training on a state-owned indoor range. During the peak training period, the trainees spent an hour on the shooting range every four days. This isn't much range time compared to the amount put in by most firearms instructors. Nonetheless, in this class, all but two people developed elevated lead levels, and several developed levels considered to be lead poisoning.

    The author of this article is a firearms instructor and an avid shooter, and was aware of the potential of lead poisoning with indoor range use, but like most, he hadn't worried much about it. However, encountering this report caused him to have his blood lead level tested. It turned out that he had serious lead poisoning which explained the reason for a host of unpleasant and debilitating symptoms that had been developing for months, but which his physician had been unable to diagnose. It also motivated the author to do some serious research into lead poisoning, and to write this article.

    Most individuals simply do not realize how easy it is to accumulate a toxic dose of lead, nor would they recognize the symptoms of lead poisoning if they had it. Massad Ayoob, a well known firearms expert and author, has stated that he would rather forage for food in a toxic waste dump than to regularly shoot on an indoor shooting range. Nonetheless, it's easy to understand why most people don't take the risk of lead poisoning seriously. Lead is a commonplace material and people are accustomed to it. Lead is used in bullets, batteries, fishing sinkers, old toy soldiers, and for decades it was an additive in gasoline. If told not to handle cyanide or plutonium, everyone takes that warning very seriously, but it's easy to ignore or minimize the toxicity of substances one regularly encounters.

    Another problem is that it has only been within the last 10 years or so that much medical attention was paid to lead poisoning. It was thought of as a problem mostly confined to adults working in lead processing industries, or to children chewing on lead based paint. Most physicians knew very little about it, and many had never seen a case (or failed to recognize it if they had).

    Make no mistake, LEAD IS EXTREMELY TOXIC. To get some idea of just how toxic, let's take a familiar object, the .38 caliber 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter bullet, and divide it into 1000 parts. Just one of those parts -- 1/1000th of a bullet -- dissolved and circulating in the blood stream, represents enough lead to constitute serious lead poisoning.


    What follows is some technical information that will be of use to anyone at risk of developing lead poisoning:



    LEVELS OF TOXICITY


    The natural, or desirable, level of lead in human beings is zero. A number of metals, notably iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and aluminum, are used in various metabolic processes, and are required in small amounts for health and survival. But lead is not used in any way in human metabolism, so there is no tolerable amount.



    Lead exposure and lead poisoning are largely problems peculiar to industrialized civilizations. Average levels of lead in the blood of adult Americans runs from about 5 to 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (5-10 mcg/dl), which is already much higher than "normal". Because lead is absorbed by the bones and stored there quite tenaciously, archaeologists have been able to examine the bones of ancient people in pre-industrialized societies and estimate their lead levels. Ancient people tended to have lead levels around 0 to 2 mcg/dl -- much lower than modern Americans.



    The first detrimental effects of lead are seen as an increase in blood pressure, starting at a blood lead level of about 7 mcg/dl. Blood pressure continues to rise as the lead level increases, indicating that lead is slightly toxic at almost any level. And even though serious problems do not usually arise until the lead reaches a higher level, establishing the "toxic" level of lead is obviously an arbitrary exercise.



    The first level OSHA considered "elevated" in adults and used by most medical labs is 40 mcg/dl. At this level, most people will show hematologic (blood chemistry) changes, and adults will exhibit low level symptoms. OSHA requires continuous medical monitoring of employees who have tested at this level. The level of 60 mcg/dl is considered to be nominal lead poisoning, and OSHA requires removal from the source of exposure. At this level, almost everyone will exhibit symptoms of lead poisoning, while some will exhibit severe symptoms. At a level of about 75 mcg/dl, or if symptoms are severe, many physicians will want to intervene with a procedure called "chelation therapy". This involves intravenously infusing the chemical EDTA, or orally administering D-penicillamine, both of which bind to lead in the blood stream and allow it to be quickly excreted. Because these procedures are expensive, time consuming, and can have their own dangerous side effects, they are usually reserved for very serious problems.



    Children are much more sensitive to lead, and the Center for Disease Control considers a level of 25 mcg/dl to be toxic in children (they are considering lowering this to 20 mcg/dl -- half the adult level). This sensitivity to lead is very significant to anyone who has small children and also spends a lot of time on the shooting range, and will be further addressed later in this article.



    SYMPTOMS OF LEAD POISONING




    The following is a partial list of common symptoms of lead poisoning, and symptoms that appear in any individual will vary. Furthermore, a lead level that produces only moderate problems in one individual may prove lethal to another:



    Loss of memory, and difficulty in concentration. This is frequently the first symptom seen.


    Fatigue. This can become profound and incapacitating.


    Irritability and aggressiveness.


    Loss of sexual interest. Impotence.


    Insomnia. (Which greatly complicates the fatigue.)


    Depression.


    Headaches.


    Neurological symptoms, such as hand twitching.


    Encephalopathy. This is the medical term for major brain dysfunction (actually, all of the above are symptoms of central nervous system problems). This can manifest itself as loss of function or paralysis in a limb, confusion, disorientation, loss of coordination, or the symptoms of several forms of insanity. (Lead poisoning probably contributed to the insanity of several of the Roman Ceasars, and contributed to the fall of the empire. The Roman upper classes boiled their wine in lead-lined pots. This sweetened the wine, and made it resistant to souring by yeast. Bones recovered from graves of Roman nobility have shown phenomenal lead contents.)


    Elevated blood pressure.


    Digestive difficulties and abdominal pains.


    Weight loss.


    Joint pains, particularly in the joints of the long bones, like the wrists.


    Anemia.


    In women, menstrual irregularity and decreased fertility. (Again, lead poisoning may have been responsible for the documented dramatic decrease in fertility among the Roman nobility and upper classes.)


    Kidney damage and/or liver damage.


    Sore or bleeding gums around the margin of the gum and tooth.


    In children, retarded intellectual development, behavioral problems, as well as most of the other problems listed above.


    As one can see, the difficulty in recognizing or diagnosing lead poisoning is that the most common symptoms are also the symptoms of acute stress or clinical depression. Victims of lead poisoning often feel like they are having a nervous breakdown, and they frequently attribute this to stress from their job. They feel as though their job is killing them. Few jobs are more stressful than police work and this makes it very easy for an officer to ignore the symptoms of lead poisoning until things are quite advanced. Few jobs demand more sharpness, attention, judgement, or a cooler head than police work, yet lead poisoning directly diminishes these very qualities. A moment of bad judgement can get an officer killed, or ruin his career.


    ROUTES OF EXPOSURE



    Lead poisoning can come from a number of sources. The more common ones are, lead in paint, in the glaze on dishes, in old lead lined water pipes, water tanks, and water coolers, in plumbing lead-solder joints, in dust contaminated from years of burning leaded gasoline, in industrial settings, in moonshine whiskey distilled in lead soldered auto radiators, and from the shooting range or the handling of ammunition. The last two are obviously the concern of this article, but it is important to remember that if you are exposed to lead from several sources it can add up quickly.



    Lead can enter the body by breathing it in as a dust or vapor, by ingesting it, and to a lesser extend, by absorption through the skin. On the shooting range it tends to enter via all three routes. Every time you discharge a handgun a spray of lead erupts into the air around you. If you are shooting cast lead bullets, part of this lead is in the form of microscopic particles sheared from the bullet as it passes down the barrel. Down range, the bullet impacting on the armor plate emits a spray of fine lead particles. More importantly, the chemical commonly used in primers is lead styphnate, and detonating the primer discharges a cloud of molecular lead compounds. So the air on a shooting range -- even an extremely well ventilated range -- tends to contain a lot of lead, both as dust, and as gas. It settles in large amounts on the floor, and on other horizontal surfaces as well. Even if the range passes OSHA standards for airborne lead contamination (which many don't), you will still often find yourself standing in a cloud of lead filled gun smoke as the air currents eddy around you. All the while you are breathing in lead, about 30-50% of which will dissolve from your lungs into your bloodstream. If you have any doubts about this, just blow your nose when you leave the range after a lengthy shooting session. That black stuff in the mucous is the residue of gun smoke, and it contains a lot of lead.



    The powder residue you get all over your hands also contains a lot of lead. Left on your hands, some of this can actually be absorbed directly through your skin. More importantly, if you eat with this residue still on your hands, you will contaminate your food with a significant amount of lead. You can also contaminate your food with residue from around your mouth, particularly if you have a mustache. Your breathing concentrates lead around your nose and upper lip, and a mustache will act as a filter to trap the particles and gases. Your sandwich or pizza will then carry those particles into your mouth. This is particularly important to realize, because although only about 10% of ingested elemental lead is absorbed, nearly 100% of ingested lead salts -- formed when you ignite the primer -- are absorbed. So ingestion is a very efficient way to absorb certain forms of lead.



    Handling fired brass can result in the same problem. The powder residue on fired brass also contains a lot of chemical and particulate lead. The author knows of one individual who didn't spend much time on the range, but who regularly sorted brass while munching snacks, and gave himself serious lead poisoning in the process.



    If you have small children, it is also important to realize that you can carry lead residue home and contaminate your living quarters and car. You will get the dust on your shoes, on your clothes, on your shooting gear, and in your hair. It will then be tracked into and settle on the floor of your home. Children, of course, live on the floor and put everything into their mouths. And as we noted before, they are extremely susceptible to lead poisoning. In the course of the research for this article, the author was told by a local health official of a case where the children of one particular family were found to have elevated blood levels of lead, and the family car was so badly contaminated (from the family's clothing) that it simply had to be gotten rid of.



    DIAGNOSIS


    Initial testing for lead poisoning is extremely straightforward. A blood sample is drawn and sent to the laboratory where the lead level is measured. A level above 40 mcg/dl is considered outside the normal range, and above 60 mcg/dl is considered lead poisoning. However, remember that 40 mcg/dl is not a magic number. Elevated levels below that will still have an effect, so the lower the better. The author personally would like to see his lead level remain well below 20 mcg/dl.



    If the level is elevated or indicates lead poisoning, the physician may want to do some other tests since blood lead tests are not notoriously accurate. One follow up test is the zinc protoporphyrin test which determines whether the exposure to lead took place over a long period of time, or all at once. An elevated zinc level indicates that the exposure was chronic. This has important implications for how long it will take to recover, which will be addressed in the treatment and prevention section.



    As noted above, one problem with diagnosing lead poisoning is that it mimics too many other disorders, particularly stress and psychological disorders. This actually makes victims reluctant to seek medical aid, since no one wants to admit to falling apart psychologically, or to being unable to cope with the stress of their job. Furthermore, it's just rare enough that physicians fail to test for it. If you suspect the possibility of lead poisoning, ask for a blood lead test.



    TREATMENT AND PREVENTION


    It's a lot easier to prevent lead poisoning than to treat it. But in most cases, the treatment consists of simply removing oneself from the source of exposure, and allowing the body to slowly eliminate the lead by excreting it in the urine.

    Usually, the level drops quickly at first as the kidneys remove lead from the blood. However, lead is stored in the bones, liver, kidneys, and other internal organs, and is only slowly surrendered back to the blood. This means that the blood level can remain elevated for quite some time, and can vary considerably from day to day. It is the blood level, not the level stored in the tissues, that results in lead poisoning. People have been known to have acute episodes resulting from lead being released from their own tissues. (For instance, women who have been chronically exposed to lead, and who develop post-menopausal osteoporosis -- where the bones quickly lose a lot of mass -- are at risk of being poisoned by the lead being released from their own bones.) The longer one has been exposed to lead, the longer it will take to recover since the tissue level of lead is much higher and endures longer. Consequently, it can take weeks, months, or even years for one's blood lead level to return to normal.

    In extreme cases, as noted above, chelation therapy is employed. This rapidly lowers the blood level of lead, and causes some lead to be leached from the bones and tissues. But it may still take a long time for the blood lead level to come down to normal.



    Obviously, the sensible thing to prevent lead poisoning in the first place is to take the proper precautions. Exclusive use of jacketed bullets can prevent much of the lead contamination on shooting ranges (this was the original reason why the Nyclad round was developed), but this is more expensive than using cast-lead reloads, and may be impossible to enforce on many ranges. Furthermore, this still leaves the lead from the primer, and the down range impact spray. Federal Cartridge is developing a lead free primer, but it is not available yet. So one should assume that most indoor ranges are contaminated with significant amounts of lead, and will continue to be for quite some time. This leaves personal precautions as the only other course of action.



    Not shooting on an indoor range is the best solution, but that simply isn't an option for most instructors and their students. If you must shoot on an indoor range, use the proper respirator. All safety and equipment supply houses sell two-stage respirator masks rated for metallic particles and vapors, and they aren't that expensive. If you find that wearing a full respirator makes it impossible to talk and to be heard on the range, at least use one of the disposable paper masks rated for fine dust and paint overspray. This will not catch the lead gases, but it will filter out some of the lead dust which is better than nothing. If wearing a mask on the range makes you feel "silly", or inadequately macho, remember that this was the attitude towards hearing protection just 10-15 years ago. At that time only wimps wore hearing protectors, and .38 cases stuffed in the ears were commonplace. As a result we have officers today going around and saying "huh?" and "what?" a lot. Hearing, once lost, is lost forever, So is a career, or life itself.



    When you leave the range, blow your nose, and wash your face and hands immediately with cold soapy water. The cold water closes the pores of your skin, and prevents the washing of lead particles into the pores. Thoroughly cleanse the facial area around your mouth, particularly if you have a mustache or beard. And for obvious reasons, blow your nose before you wash your face.



    Try to wear an outer garment, like a jumpsuit or coverall, that you can either have washed after each range session, or leave in your locker. This will prevent carrying the lead dust on your clothing into your car and home. Likewise, have a pair of shoes to change into after you get off the range. If you do go home wearing the same outer clothes you wore on the range, change them immediately, and put them in the washer. Washing one's hair before bedtime is also a good idea. Your hair can hold a lot of dust, and you will transfer it to your pillow every night. Again, these precautions are particularly important if you have young children at home. And finally, have your blood lead level checked every six months to make sure the precautions you are observing are adequate.



    All of this may sound like a pain, but following these precautions will greatly reduce the likelihood of lead poisoning, and the author can vouch for the fact that lead poisoning is a REAL pain. It ruins the lives of many people each year who never find out what's wrong with them, and we know for certain that it kills some people. It's a danger that anyone who spends much time on a shooting range needs to understand and respect.



    This article is respectfully dedicated to the memory of ASLET member Sergeant Thomas Kelly, who died on Sept. 17, 1989. Sergeant Kelly died of acute respiratory failure after being exposed daily for two weeks to lead and associated gases on the firing range. It is the author's sincere hope that the information presented herein will contribute to preventing further such tragic losses.



    NOTE: For anyone wanting further or more detailed information, a complete research bibliography for this article is available. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Anthony M. Gregory, Tactical Training Associates, 8709 Castle Park Drive, Indianapolis IN 46256
     
  17. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    When I go to the range it’s usually with a variety of guns and I tend to stay awhile. I also shoot a lot of cast bullets. I also usually go to the store and get a bite to eat before I head home. Lately I’ve taken to wearing a pair of gloves just to keep all the black shooting grime off my hands. A cheeseburger generally tastes better without burnt bullet lube and lead styphenate fingerprints all over it.
     
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  18. Labguy47

    Labguy47 Member

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    Only if he’s making the bullets via smelting and or he has lead water pipes in his home.

    Simply washing his hands after shooting is the best prophylaxis.
     
  19. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I don't worry too much about it. Gotta die of something and if lead hasn't gotten me by now it better hurry up. But I do make sure I wash my hands carefully before eating if I've been shooting or reloading. I also have young grandkids. I won't hold or touch them after a shooting or handloading session until I clean up and change clothes. Small doses at young ages may have more of a detrimental effect on them than me. Or maybe I'm being overly cautious. But that is what I do.
     
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  20. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    I think this is another overblown issue. I've been shooting and fishing 50 years. Reloading 40. Casting bullets 30+. Remodeled/repainted several old houses with lead paint. I had my doc check me for lead at my 50 year full physical along with the butt scope. No lead. How could that be with all my exposure? I sucked on lead split shot to keep them handy while trout fishing and crimped sinkers with my teeth. He said it's mainly if its concentrated. Like industrial, shooting a lot in a enclosed range. He said don't worry about it unless I start eating old paint chips. Sorry, I should add I always wash my hands and face after shooting so I don't ingest lead it by eating or drinking on the way home. Same after reloading or casting.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  21. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Nitrile gloves won't help if he was shooting at indoor range and picking up brass for reloading.

    We don't absorb solid lead through skin not as much as inhaling lead dust off spent brass and indoor range floor.

    When I did a lot of lead load testing at indoor range, my doctor got concerned as my lead level went up to 8 and 12 and I got reported to the Department of Public Health for monitoring. My doctor and I narrowed the source of lead intake from inhaled lead dust from shooting at indoor range and when picking up brass from range floor (Range had ferocious ventilation system that made inside feel like you were in a hurricane). After I stopped shooting at the indoor range, my blood lead level dropped below 8 and now normal (We moved to our retirement location where all the shooting is done outdoors).

    If you reload, concern would exist when handling spent brass (collection, sorting and dry tumbling) and you could use lead tester to see if you have lead dust source (Chances are everything will test positive) - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ealth-information.307170/page-11#post-9619683

    Key is how much you inhale and if your blood lead level is high I would suggest:
    • Stop shooting at indoor range
    • If stop shooting at indoor range is not an option, wear proper respirator like 3M 2097 (paper dust mask won't help much), especially when picking up spent brass from floor - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...health-information.307170/page-7#post-6777462
    • [​IMG]
    • Wear respirator when processing spent brass
    • Process spent brass outdoors with breeze/plenty of fresh air
    • Wash hands after handling spent brass
    I continued to handle lead bullets during this time and my doctor agreed there was little concern for intake through skin as long as I washed my hands afterwards and before eating.

    Here's CDC study on indoor ranges and lead level increase - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ealth-information.307170/page-10#post-9544358

    My blood lead level reduction steps - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ealth-information.307170/page-10#post-9616073

    Positive outcome with reduction of lead level after 3 months of simply not shooting at indoor range but continuing to handle lead bullets to reload - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ealth-information.307170/page-12#post-9625420
     
    RA40, drband and Slamfire like this.
  22. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    Grapefruit and grapefruit juice is contraindicated if you are on Zocor (simvastatin) or other statins. There's a warning about this right on the Zocor label.

    You might have to choose between high lead and high cholesterol.
     
    LRDGCO likes this.
  23. denton

    denton Member

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    Embrace the power of "and". :)
     
  24. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    On the big list of things that real men never do, wearing rubber gloves at the range is near the top.
     
  25. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    It can be a big deal. One of the courses I attended in the military involved a whole bunch of shooting over a period of a couple of months, not to mention lots of explosives. Enough shooting that all the M4 barrels had to be changed after each class went through the course. The thing is, most of this training happened inside various buildings. As such, the concentration was much higher than if we had been on outdoor ranges, and the explosives just churned up powdered lead into the air even more. We weren't allowed to eat, drink, dip, etc. inside of any of the buildings, and we were required to wear masks during cleanup because we were using brooms to remove brass and other garbage from the buildings. We were also required to use a special soap to wash our hands before eating, drinking, etc. The instructors who worked there- for years- had to have their blood tested at intervals to see what was going on inside of them, and some were required to wear meters when they were working.
     
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