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Lead Poisoning Question

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TomJ, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Interesting. I do not believe I have ever had my blood lead level tested at the VA. Is this something you have to request from the primary care doctor?
     
  2. Virginia Jim

    Virginia Jim Member

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    At age 65 and only shooting outdoors, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
    I grew up in an era of lead paint on toys, lead in gasoline, lead fishing sinkers, etc.
    I don’t have any brain daxmazage.
     
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  3. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    I don't go to the VA but I have to request it from my doctor.
     
  4. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Another factor is people absorb and metabolize lead differently. Some may not show elevated levels and some may have high levels with the same exposure. Also the amount of "safe" lead in your system is debatable. Some have high levels and show no ill effects. Some have relatively low levels and show symptoms.

    Always good to take reasonable precautions commensurate with your personal comfort level.
     
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  5. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Yep. I have my tested yearly. I just ask my PCP to request it.
     
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  6. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    they had a lot of health problems and lead was the cause of most of them.
     
  7. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    That's how I knew about the sweetness quality. I remember reading how Roman's used "Sugar of Lead" to sweeten their wine.
     
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  8. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    My primary care physician gets me in there every six months and makes sure I get a chest X-Ray and blood work. Years ago we had a local indoor range close for a month while they replaced the air handlers. Another problem was during the winters bringing in fresh air meant cold air and keeping the place comfortable cost money. I hear things are improved under new ownership. A good clue is when you walk to the firing line of an indoor range and notice you are in a cloud of powder smoke that something isn't quite right.

    Ron
     
  9. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Get tested. My levels were way high and I felt fine. >50:eek:
    Might not have known there was a problem with the indoor range where I used to shoot unless I got tested.
    My insurance will pay for the test but if yours won't (or it's not covered) cost seems to be between $50-$75.
    You can sometimes skip the Dr visit and just go to a lab and have them do it for you.

    Lead poisoning is not a joke, it is real, be safe get tested.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    What I understand is that the lead in the blood goes directly into the major organs and your bones.And it does not come out. You accumulate lead. Break a bone and you have a big lead release. Lead poisoning is not joke, it has been well understood for more than a century. Some of the first industrial safety laws were about protecting workers from lead.

    Don't take comfort that there is some sort of pill or magic cure, even if you are that type of personality who is disposed to think that technology will solve all your problems. It won't. I talked to a nurse about the massive increase in diabetes, since I was a kid, and she told me her observation of the dismaying number of diabetics she sees, who do nothing to change their habits, only downing pills or injections. Well, don't count on chelation therapy as a simple fix for lead poisoning. A quick review of chelation therapy shows there are those whom that treatment ravages their body.

    From Wiki:

    Chelation therapy

    Chelation therapy is a medical procedure that involves the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. Chelation therapy has a long history of use in clinical toxicology and remains in use for some very specific medical treatments, although it is administered under very careful medical supervision due to various inherent risks.

    Chelation therapy must be administered with care as it has a number of possible side effects, including death

    Reducing lead exposure first and foremost means staying away from indoor ranges. Secondly, transition to plated bullets, and when they become available, lead free primers. I don't know how much lead is blown out of the muzzle of powder coated bullets, but if the coating is intact after shooting, I believe that is a positive sign.

    If 80 micrograms per cubic meter is still the industrial limit for workers (it might have gone down) then one 38 Special lead puts out 5600 micrograms per shot!. The lead primer adds an additional 400 micrograms each shot.

    cFdtyUT.jpg
     
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  11. film495

    film495 Member

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    Most people I don't think wash up very well after shooting, this is probably the biggest overall improvement that could be made. One other thing on Lead I found recently was - and I am guilty of this - not really being good about wearing latex gloves when cleaning firearms, solvents and lead are all over that firearm and not good for you, and then washing well after. Honestly, I'm not really worried about me, but the idea that I'm bringing trace elements and possibly exposing others or children - makes me worry about it more. Also, over time how much could I be bringing into my home on clothes and such. A friend of mine uses a plastic ammo can as a range bag - saw him wipe the exterior down quick when we were exiting an indoor range - I thought, that's an interesting tactic. My old - fabric range bag just be a lead gold mine …
     
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  12. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    As someone who had a fair number of chemistry classes and had a dose of too much lead from firing at indoor ranges, one of the main issues is ingestion either through breathing, swallowing, etc. and some forms of lead are more dangerous than others. My sister had to go through chelating treatment after their well's groundwater was found to be contaminated with heavy metals like mercury and cadmium from nearby old industrial operations. It is a very unpleasant treatment over time because they are basically filtering your blood in an attempt to leach the heavy metals from your bones, fat, and other lurking spots in the body and her heavy metal contamination either led to or made worse existing autoimmune issues.

    Elemental lead, unlike something like mercury, is not readily absorbed through the skin but becomes dangerous when it forms compounds that can do so such as using cleaning solvents, ingestion of fine particles such as tiny bits of aerosoled lead bullets after firing, not washing up well after shooting as film495 points out, and reloading activities such as tumbling, etc. There are relatively cheap lead test strips that you can use to determine contamination and cause you to revisit your reloading procedures and choice of projectiles.

    In my case, I asked the doc to add a test for lead in my annual physical blood tests and it came back elevated but not at the danger level yet. At that time, I fired quite a bit at indoor ranges that were not the best ventilated and used lead bullets that I reloaded. Since then, I only fire lead outside with good ventilation other than a cylinder or two at a new range with excellent ventilation for function testing and have not been buying any more lead projectiles as the slight cost advantage over plated is not that important to me as my health. My semi-autos, I use plated or fmj and have been following the development of powder coating or the hi tek stuff with interest.

    The major risk that I see aside from the lead bullet itself which can be removed from the equation by using fmj, plated, or maybe powder coating etc. is the lead styphnate in primers as this stuff is aerosoled in firing, contaminated the brass and can spread contamination around easily, and is the type of lead compound that is bioactive. Unfortunately, there is some handgun ammo that is factory loaded with the newer "non-lead" primers but the brisance is apparently different than that of traditional lead styphnate or even potassium perchlorate primers. Thus, different flash hole diameters has already created an uproar in the reloading community on reloading the brass and the new primers are much more difficult to come by. Reloading manuals also lack information about them especially in high powered rifles and such.

    I'd imagine that range workers would also benefit from switching to cleaner alternatives and this is something that the shooting industry and shooters really needs to get behind as long overdue in promoting newer safe primers and ammo. Apparently the powder companies are already making "greener" smokeless powder that lessen the impact on the environment. That is my personal take.
     
  13. EIB0879

    EIB0879 Member

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    Probably why during RSO training the prototype SOP included no food or drink on the range. After the discussion here I understand more of the why.
     
  14. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    my sister uses chelation therapy on a regular bases, it helps her kidneys recover.
     
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  15. patmccoy

    patmccoy Member

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    True if not treated, but chelation works with vitamin C. This is what is used with children, as the other drugs are too dangerous for young livers and kidneys.

    I've used vitamin C (500mg every morning, and used to also take 500 mg in the evening. Over the years my lead levels have dropped from 56 to 21. When I started having tests, and found the high levels, the other instructor in our range also had tests and had no high lead levels, but had been taking vitamin C for many years.
     
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  16. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    good info.
     
  17. film495

    film495 Member

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    I read for a lead blood test to be done correctly chelation should be done before the blood test, otherwise you're only testing for recent exposure. Long term lead exposure can be hidden in bone and tissue and not show up much at all in a blood test otherwise. Not sure if what I read was accurate, but it sort of seemed to make sense. Food for thought anyways.
     
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    When you go for your physical every year, remind you Dr. to check your lead level. It’s not something they normally do but didn’t charge me extra when I asked.

    I shot weekly matches up to the point another member tested high, then we all got checked and were all high as well. Club quit running matches at the indoor range. I am back to “normal” now, still reload, cast and shoot but I can count the number of indoor matches I have competed in on my hands since then.
     
  19. Jammersix

    Jammersix Member

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    Don't believe I'd take info off the net.

    I've always understood that lead is permanent. The sentiment here is that it isn't permanent.

    One of us is wrong, which demonstrates that the net is a bad place to get medical information.

    I'm going to check with my doctor.
     
  20. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Sadly indoor ranges are the one of the major causes. (for people who use them)
    Can they be done right, yes, but a lot of them are not.
    If you spend five minutes in the indoor range you x expsoure, and hour and you are now 12X, 2 hours......

    When I shot at the indoor range I spent maybe 4 or 5 hours a month there.
    4 or 5 hours a month was to long for that range. (BTW I don't shoot indoor anymore)
     
  21. Nuclear

    Nuclear Member

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    As I remember, the body confuses lead with calcium, hence the deposition in bones. So someone who is already in taking more calcium than needed would be somewhat protected from lead intake.
     
  22. sota

    sota Member

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    I think "wrong" is a bit strong of a descriptor; more like, information inertia caused by lack of informational exposure to the general populace.
    There also doesn't appear to be a comprehensive body of medical work, detailing infiltration and exfiltration of lead from the body.
    Lead appears to be stubborn to remove from inside the body, but can be done with various methods, some more aggressive than others.
    My general opinion at this time is, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if firearms users ate an (extra) orange or two a day.
     
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  23. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    Thanks everyone for the information. I never realized how serious this could be. I'm due for a cholesterol test within the next week and will have my lead levels checked as well. I no longer shoot at that range and will limit myself to my outdoor gun club. I moved my brass tumbler to the garage (it was in the spare bedroom I use as my reloading room) and am picking up some latex gloves. I also bought D Wipes to use after we shoot. I've learned the hard way that when it comes to health issues, prevention is much easier than trying to cure problems.
     
  24. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Spent fifty years doing EOD work that included the burning of large quantities of small arms ammunition. Came down with lead poisoning
    twice; last time as a result of burning hundreds of millions of rounds of small arms ammunition from Desert Storm. We initially cleaned out the burn pits without wearing proper PPC. Breathing lead dust is very bad news. We stopped cleaning the burn pits early on but the damage was done.


    When the job ended i took an employment physical for another company. After working two months on that job, the company CIH looked at the results of my physical. Was re-tested and the lead was still a big problem. The best that doctors could do was offer chelation treatment. i elected instead to take large doses of ascorbic acid. In two months the lead was gone. That was over 25 years ago. i'm 80 years old and suffer no known consequences from lead poisoning.
     
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  25. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    thanks every one for the info on vitamin c, i take it every day and will not stop taking it.
     
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