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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. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Bud and I redid cables at the indoor range once.
    It was pretty filthy. Dunno what was powder residue and what was lead.
    Wore a mask, scrubbed up after.
    No big deal.

    Proly wouldn't want to do range repair/clean up as a job though.
     
  2. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Lead is very dangerous, but you have to eat it or breath it, for it to hurt you.

    If you re-load, don't eat anything or rub your eyes until you thoroughly wash your hands.

    If you reload, dust from your tumbler (originating in the exposed fired primer residue) will be your primary source of lead exposure. You should tumble out doors (or in an open out building like a garage or barn with doors open), or if you must do it indoors, then have good ventilation.

    Code compliant indoor ranges are supposed to have ventilation to deal with fumes and lead. Indoor ranges I've seen that don't have good ventilation (private clubs) ban shooting lead bullets. Be smart and don't shoot at hokey indoor ranges with poor ventilation.

    If you do these things, you will greatly reduce your risk.
     
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  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    So was the air flow at the indoor range I shot at. It's not the perceived/felt air flow down range that matters but rather how well the air flow management and filtration is removing the lead dust from the air. And if the exhaust air is not filtered of all the lead dust, it is being sucked back in at air intake to be recirculated through the range. ;)

    We have plenty of THR members, including me, who posted blood lead level increase that point to shooting at indoor ranges (and breathing in lead dust while picking up spent brass from the floor if they reload) as source of lead level increase.

    As members stopped shooting at indoor ranges, lead level decreased. Same in my case and I intentionally continued to handle and reload lead bullets during the 3 months I stopped shooting at indoor ranges.

    So what else would explain my blood lead level increase to 8 then 12 and back down to 8.1 and now to normal? And BTW, my wife, son and daughter all tested normal for lead level. So I was the only one affect by lead level increase which was resolved by not shooting indoors. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
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  4. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    No way. I went to the premier indoor range in a major city. I'm sure it was code compliant because of the large investment they've made in that place. It's as fancy as any indoor range I've ever seen pictured. When I walked into it through the double automatic glass doors, I almost gagged on the stench and fumes. If the ventilation isn't taking away the fumes I can smell, how could it be taking away the lead salts from fired primers? It doesn't, and all the people in there were inhaling them. I still shot some rental guns because it's the only practical opportunity I'd get, but my one visit there will probably be the only.

    The only way to make indoor ranges safe is with good ventilation AND for all persons to shoot lead-free primers and lead-safe bullets exclusively. Trusting in code compliance won't do it. I don't know enough about the indoor range business to say whether the compliance levels aren't good enough or whether adherence to those levels is shoddy all around, but I know enough to be absolutely convinced it's not working.

    Personally, I have much closer access to millions of acres of public land where shooting is unrestricted, so I can shoot clean ammo, avoid other shooters altogether (their toxic ammo is the least of my concerns), it's absolutely free, I can shoot over 1000 yards, and it's very well ventilated.
     
  5. denton

    denton Member

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    OK, I have to ask... I haven't seen Rodinal developer for ages. Developing 220 film? Wanna buy a 120/220 SLR?? :)

    My annual wellness check was this morning, so, as was mentioned, I asked the doctor to add lead to my blood test. I'll be interested to see what comes back.

    I had not considered the effect of a vibrator case cleaner. That's something worth considering. Thanks to those who posted for that suggestion.
     
  6. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Even though the indoor range is properly equipped with excellent ventilation system, it is only as effective as how well the ventilation system is maintained, filters replaced and surfaces where lead dust can accumulate are cleaned.

    Most exposure from handling spent brass will occur during initial collection, sorting and dry tumbling. Do this in an environment with good fresh air circulation outdoors and you reduce your exposure to inhaling lead dust.

    If concerned, wearing 3M respirator (comes in small/medium/large sizes) with 2097 filter (meant for lead paint removal) is cheap $28 insurance - https://www.amazon.com/3M-Paint-Rem...lf+mask+2097&qid=1559244229&s=gateway&sr=8-15
     
  7. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    A lot of this has to do with your general health, activity level, metabolism, and what else you expose yourself to.
    Your body can and does process and eliminate things from your system on a regular basis, and the small amount of lead from shooting would be hard to measure on someone that is physically active, has a good diet, and does not do something for a living that exposes them to toxins.

    The same person working as a blue collar worker in heavy industry though may already be exposed to toxins including heavy metals, have less income for or make poor decisions about their diet, and probably gets rewarded with overtime that means they have little life outside of work doing things that remove as many toxins as they spend hours adding them.
    These things are accumulative, and accumulating them faster than you can remove them from your organs and bones happens more readily if your body is also trying to remove other heavy metals or toxins.
    Being a heavy drinker or on prescription or other drugs that occupy or reduce how readily your liver and kidneys filter your system also would make it harmful at a quicker pace.


    Your body does a lot of its repairs and flushes out toxins during sleep, so your sleep becomes a big factor too. It takes many hours of sleeping in a row to remove a lot of waste products, and cutting into your sleep means you are carrying over toxins from one day into the next and accumulating them.
    You absorb very little lead if it is not in dust form, being breathed in, or eaten that way. If you are not eating, or smoking, during shooting, or casting your own bullets in the fumes of lead between washing up then you likely will need to have other habits in life for regular shooting to add enough lead to your system faster than it is removed by your system.

    Some parts of the nation are more toxic, have had heavy industry longer than people cared about the pollution it causes, and Trump did just about destroy the EPA so I am sure some places are pouring toxins into your environment that pose significantly greater risks than the minor lead from shooting does.
    Other people work in industry where there is fumes or high exposure to raw materials on a regular basis.

    Currently the solid waste of sewage processing is being used as fertilizer for our food crops, this includes all the the drugs, metals, and chemicals flushed down a toilet or dumped down the drain by big industry, and which is poorly dealt with by a sewage treatment system that primarily eliminates living things such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, rather than removing toxins such as metals, drugs, or other chemicals.
    This means you are exposed to all the drugs and chemicals that go down a toilet each time you eat, and probably adds far more toxins to your system than shooting ever will.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
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  8. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    Unless they're camo.:rofl:
     
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  9. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    But we have THR members who report measurable increase in blood lead levels from shooting at indoor ranges.

    If you shoot indoors often, especially if you reload and collect spent brass from the range floor, best way to measure your lead level is to get a blood test.
     
  10. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    I have worked in manufacturing for 30 years. 1/3 of that in a cleanroom. Nasty chemicals.....lead the least of the worries. Worked tons if OT but was younger. Now work in a foundry of sorts. Amazing how many dont wash hands. Most everybody chews or smokes.

    The lead i worry about on ranges.....aint laying or blowing on the range. Its the one in the morons gun
     
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  11. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    I dont sleep for diddly and have one kidney and dont have lead in me. My last blood test was last yr. I still feel like crap.....and doc said its noise at work ( and i am not alone ). Blood and other checks very good. Still feel like crap.

    Arthritis and allergies are whats getting me nowadays.
     
  12. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    My dad is retired. He picks up brass at the local indoor range..,sorts and cleans and brings back to the shop to sell. He gets zero $ from it. No perks either. He has been a yearly member at least the last decade. He does this same thing at the outdoor club. Hes not in the best of health and they check him often. No lead. And he shoots indoors once or twice a week. That range has good maintenance....strong air flow......and heres a biggie i think

    When pops shoots hes usually the only one on the range.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  13. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    I shot maybe a half dozen times all last year. Outdoors. Avoid indoor ranges due to public attendance. No RO at local indoor, do have cameras.


    Sad to say.....I dont shoot enough to get lead poisoning. Been that way for a decade ( job change and other.... don't have the time ). Most of my shooting has been outdoors. Like yardage and lighting better. Not as noisy too.
     
  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I shoot, reload and cast often, only time my blood/lead levels became elevated were when I was shooting indoor matches every week. I quit that except for a few sanctioned matches and they went back down.
     
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  15. Insignificant bill

    Insignificant bill Member

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    Lead exposure is definetly a problem whether shooting indoors or out. Some people are more susceptible.
     
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  16. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Lead exposure has a pronounced negative impact on the brain development of small children. If you have kids then you really need to be sure you are exposing them to as little lead as possible. Lead toxicity in adults can be treated, but cognitive damage from impaired brain development is forever.
     
  17. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    My kids helped gramps cast lead. Helped me reload.
    We lived in an old Victorian house.

    The biggest detriment to kid brain development has nothing to do with lead from the range.

    Crap food and crap parenting screws kids up. Add in the liberal school system/society and they grow up clueless, unwilling to think, and arrogant.
     
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  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    denton is essentially correct.

    If the range has a good ventilation system, monitors for airborne lead to keep it under control, and cleans their shooting stations to minimize surface contamination the risk is primarily from poor personal practices on the part of the patron. Don't take anything on the range you'll put in your mouth, wash hands thoroughly with cool soapy water before you leave and especially before putting anything in your mouth.

    For the doubters and skeptics...As a 2A advocate, shooter, and health and safety professional I helped local indoor ranges set up and carry out programs to monitor the range and employees to prevent lead exposure. I have caught changes in maintenance that degraded the ventilation systems the owners didn't mention by seeing blood lead levels for employees rise and then watch them fall as they corrected their errors. Lead exposure is the greatest risk for employees of ranges and for competitive shooters (or anyone that spends a lot of time on the range like competitors). The NSSF and NRA both have range programs to help ranges prevent lead exposure as do the military.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  19. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    And this tracking in.................won't most of that be worn off during off range travel?

    Maybe if mom or dad is an RO, or does range clean up all the time there could be some shoe/clothing transfer.
    I've done range repair and cleanup before. Its nasty.

    Most certainly wash up after, and run home and wash clothes.

    But then I do that all the time when not cleaning ranges.

    It's called being clean.

    If folks get dirty and track that home, leave dirty clothes out where the toddlers can chew on them...........I think range lead may be of concern. Just how much of one, compared to other aspects of the less than clean lifestyle ?????

    Yeah, toxins aint cool. But I think folks are trying to make Mr. Lead the Bogeyman.
     
  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Most of my lead intake was narrowed to inhaled lead dust from shooting indoors and while collecting spent brass from the floor of indoor range.

    I continued to sort, process and dry tumbled spent brass outdoors as usual and simply not shooting indoors decreased my lead level to normal.

    I always wash my hands before leaving the range or eating with hands.

    While there's the issue of lead dust on clothes, I did not change out to different clothes when I got home from the indoor range during 3 months I stopped shooting at indoor range.
     
  21. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Common sense................if folks aint got it, reading some PSA at the range, or worse, the interwebs.............aint gonna help em.

    Wash up, clean up. It it smells bad..........proly shouldn't be breathing there.

    My indoor range is 10 mins away w in town traffic.
    My outdoor range is another 30 mins away.

    It sucks.

    But I REFUSE to shoot indoors.

    The lighting sucks.
    The noise is horrible (idiots and their AR's blasting away.........at 25 yards or less).
    There is no RO............so rules of safety repeatedly broken.

    The chances of lead poisoning are great there..........but in a very direct manner.

    I'll lessen my shooting opportunities, burn more gas and time.............and shoot outside.
    BTW, there's a closer outdoor range.
    But that was a sporstman's club that ignored the old charter/pledge and as such I cannot support them.
     
  22. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    I have bad sinuses. Used to get migraines.
    And to top it off............have a super sensitive nose.
    Smell stuff when others cant.
    Many odors are overpowering (set off bad headache almost instantly).

    Couldn't deal w an indoor range of poor ventilation.

    Odd, as a kid, the 50 ft under the school gym was not bad.
    Have no clue if they had fans or anything. But that was .22rf only and once a week at best.

    Joined my local indoor for a yr, maybe two, way back.
    Shot when NOT busy too.

    Maybe I'm not the average shooter.
    Did have outdoor range access I prefer.

    Take kid to PT and there's an indoor range (w RO) a block away.
    I think some folks shoot weekly there, maybe mult times a week (lunch hour?)
    New place, not cheap.............hopefully their equip works as it should.

    FWIW there are range cleanup companies, that charge so much and keep the lead.
    They wear suits, respirators.
    I bet there's some redneck fly by night outfit that will do it way cheaper, without their workers having proper safety gear.
     
  23. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Just a reminder, but we often talk about our own exposure on the firing line, and as reloaders and hand loaders. These are of course the biggest issues that can lead to health threats.

    We also discuss how this can impact children and rightly so. It's an inspiration to keep kids away from ammo or potentially harmful loading components.

    However, don't forget your pets. I have two cats that have the run of the house, mostly because they wouldn't shut up if they didn't. They come to see what I'm up to when I'm loading. I keep a very clean workspace because of them. Cats get into everything. They are like having ninja toddlers in your home. I use a media separator, but am cautious to keep their noses out of it. I load open based bullets, but make sure they are always contained and put away. I vacuum my workspace very regularly also, and always pick up my stray spent primers.

    Some dogs tend to eat everything.

    Little bodies could build dangerous levels faster with the same level of exposure. While the same level of exposure is very unlikely, it could happen. Watch your pets, and keep a clean loading bench.
     
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  24. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Cats and lead poisoning.........think there some Australian videos of that on YT ;)
     
  25. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Ha! Yeah not everyone likes cats. They are challenging animals at times.

    But we need to be aware of all pets. Parrots and birds are drawn to shinny things, like bullets for example. Don't really want them eating those if you let them out of their cages from time to time.

    I knew a guy who had ferrets, and he let them roam the house. He found them sleeping in places he couldn't figure out how they got into.
     
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