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Lead Poisoning --Valuable Health Information

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by actionflies, Oct 4, 2007.

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  1. max it

    max it Member

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    lead levels

    hi JC, I recently bought a thermometer. My lead melt is about 650-700deg. Using a Lee pot there are numbers on the temp setting dial which are not exactly related to degrees however I kept it as close to 6-7 which seems to translate to above temp. I dont know if lead has to vaporize for it th exhale fumes, do you? I do know that no one suggest you cast indoors without the proper ventilation possibly in a commercial facility.
    I have inquired at my favorite indoor range and I am told that the vent system there is fully compliant. At least 1/2 of my shooting is outdoor, also. I tend to think it was the casting indoor, and I am going to lay off that for 6-12 months and retest.
    Much obliged, to you and the others who offer good advise,

    Max
     
  2. FuzzyBunny

    FuzzyBunny Member

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    Did not read all 200 posts but have history to share.
    The Romans would add lead to wine to make it sweeter and also had lead pipes for ware sources.

    Made many of then crazy as wood rats. You can see that in some of the history. Also testing from some bones in that era showed lead levels sky high.
     
  3. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Not just lead, but lead acetate (AKA 'sugar of lead').

    The same material that was added to many lead paint as a hardener and gloss improver.
     
  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Spudgunr on Cast Boolits calculated the amount of lead in the air :
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=75964

    The idea that lead has to be brought to a boiling temperature, or 1100F, to have lead particles in the air, is without any basis . Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures is a good place to start to have an understanding of this subject.

    This came from NIOSH STD 78-158, just multiply by 1000 to get micrograms.

    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/1970/78-158.html

    LeadConcentrationsoverleadpots.jpg

    I am of the opinion that one should use forced air circulation over a casting pot. People should be mindful of the lead particles that collect not only on surfaces, but on clothing.

    You can find lead wipes to wipe lead off surfaces, you can find lead test kits (so I have heard) at Home Depot.

    Lead particles don’t have to be visible, there are billions of particles floating around in front of you that you cannot see. When they get micron size they will float, can float for weeks given air circulation. Of course human lungs are very good at absorbing these things and passing them directly into your blood stream.

    Lead should not be in anyone. The only acceptable level of lead in a person is zero. There is just so much lead in the modern environment that since the 50’s, the argument was to determine an acceptable risk level. As research has advanced, “acceptable” lead levels , such as the OSHA standards, keep on being defined downwards.

    For those who have access to older issues of American Rifleman, this is a very good article:

    Don’t Let Lead Poison You” , American Rifleman Nov 1984, pg 39. by Dr George W. Huckaba and Dr George C. Wood.

    Dr Wood was a Professor of the Department of Drug and Material Toxicology, University of Tennessee, Memphis TN.
     
  5. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    Also posted by spudgun

    02-16-2010, 05:04 PM #9
    Spudgunr
    Boolit Buddy


    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: NW Indiana
    Posts: 64 Two posts ago is right, high temps means LOTS more lead vapors. Check my previous posts to find one I did on lead concentration. I personally don't want to go over 800 or 900, lead concentration is expotential. Below 800 or 900 I feel safe casting indoors.

    If you are casting outdoors, then don't worry about temperatures as far as lead vapor concentration goes.




    I get tested now 3 times a year with no problems, and yes I cast indoors.

    Those shooting at indoor ranges are subject to lead and its compounds from the primers and bullet bases, not from melting pots.
     
  6. carbuncle

    carbuncle Member

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    Deleted
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  7. RangeDS

    RangeDS Member

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    I was recently told by folks at an NRA conference that Dawn dishwashing soap, and similar, will do the same job of removing lead that the D-Wipes do when it comes to washing your hands.

    And one thing that I've not read here, being able to move the air is important but can you scrub the area down too? Assuming that most everyone here will have a home made and designed ventilation system you might should consider adding a good mop down to the process to keep your area and surfaces clean.
     
  8. max it

    max it Member

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    Lead Blood level count

    HI, its an old thread, the problems are very real and current for some so here goes anyway.

    my blood lead level is down from 20 mcg/dl to 15 now after a year and a half.
    what did i change, no casting, mask when handling media, less indoor and more outdoor shooting, plated bullets vs lead, more and dilligent washing of hands and face.

    i will cast again; more precautions next time.

    max
     
  9. Gingahippy

    Gingahippy Member

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    Hi. I have not had time to read all the posts yet but am about to get into reloading and casting and have been wondering about exactly these issues.

    I have often left the indoor range with a rough throat from smoke after an hour of shooting despite their ventilation.

    Something that may be useful to you: Cilantro/Coriander leaf is a known chelating herb that has been suggested as a way to aid removal of heavy metals as is Chlorella. Cilantro should be taken daily as part of a meal and Chlorella can be found in any health food store in tablet form or powder that you mix into juice.

    And let us not forget that heavy metal fillings are said to contain mercury and lead. If you are in need of lowering lead levels from your body then getting rid of thise old amalgam fillings would be a very good start.
     
  10. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Amalgam filling contain mercury and silver, not lead. I'm pretty sure removing the fillings will expose you to a much higher dose of mercury than just leaving them alone. The mercury is encapsulated by the silver -- until you start grinding them out.
     
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Lead poisoning is very serious and there should be zero lead in your body, any lead that is in your body came from man made items. As more and more medical evidence has accumulated over time, what was considered an acceptable amount of in body lead keeps on going down, down, down.

    The current arguments are on how low the standards should go.


    The current OSHA standard (29 CFR 1926.62) for lead exposure in construction has a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m3), measured as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).

    http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_v/otm_v_3.html

    Based on my readings, any exposure to lead is bad and efforts should be taken to minimize ingestion or inhalation.

    While it should have been obvious, it turns out the greatest source of airborne lead exposure comes from shooting.

    Remember that the OSHA exposure limits are 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

    April 1977, REPORT NO. BRL 1976, REDUCTION OF AIRBORNE LEAD CONTAMINATION IN INDOOR FIRING RANGES USING MODIFIED AMMUNITION Arpad A. Juhasz

    LeadinAir38Special158grainbullets.jpg

    The referenced report shows a 158 L bullet fired in a S&W M10 38 Special, with a lead styphnate primer the average shot put 5643 micrograms of lead into the air. Fired with a lead free primer the average shot put 3380 micrograms of lead into the air. When the barrel was cleaned of lead fouling, copper jacketed lead free primers put an average of 13 micrograms of lead in the air. If you read the report, they really never removed all the lead fouling and so it is uncertain just how much lead would come out with a barrel that was only shot with copper jacketed bullets and lead free primers, but it would probably be less.

    I find it amazing that each shot from a 38 Special blows 5643 micrograms of lead in the air. This quantity of lead in the air provides a reason to all the reports of elevated lead levels from shooters at indoor ranges. There is an indoor range where I live, I have shot in it, the air flow away from the firing points is fast, but coincidentally one of the Range Attendants is a patient of my General Practitioner . My Doc said this guy has high lead levels in his blood. The exact numbers are none of my business.

    Based on this, first thing you should do if you really want to limit your lead exposure is to avoid indoor ranges, and shoot copper jacketed bullets.

    Then, if you are doing that, be mindful of the lead in the air from casting and the lead you carry on your clothes, and your skin, from the loading bench.
     
  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    According to this 4/25/14 CDC report on indoor ranges and elevated blood lead levels, there likely is a link - http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6316a3.htm?s_cid=mm6316a3_w
     
  13. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    Quick insight. I manufacture lead bullets as well as touch lead and lead particles ALL DAY LONG. I have been doing so now for about 5 years. I had my lead levels checked about 7 months ago just to see how things were going. I was at a 4. So, my question then is did it come from the primers when I shoot or from the lead that I get on me when I work?
     
  14. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I think normal lead level for adults is 2-4, so your level of 4 may be ok if you maintained that level for some time.

    Keep in mind that we may absorb lead from other non-shooting/reloading sources such as water, imported food, glazing on ceramic containers, household dust from paint and exterior soil, etc. so test these sources as well.

    If you are concerned about identifying possible sources of lead, you can get lead test kits (stores like Home Depot carries them) and test different areas you suspect.

    Links for 3M LeadCheck swabs:

    Home Depot (2 pack for $9.97) - http://www.homedepot.com/p/LeadCheck-Instant-Test-Swabs-2-Pack-LC-2SDC/203313743

    Amazon (8 pack for $22.64) - http://www.amazon.com/3M-717834209102DUPE-LeadCheck-Swabs-8-Pack/dp/B008BK15PU
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  15. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    I was tested about 6 months ago. The lab report showed (normal 0-19).
    Mine was "1".
     
  16. josmund

    josmund Member

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    This thread did what it was designed to do and got me thinking.

    I relatively new to the reloading game. I've probably loaded 150 bottleneck cartridges and have cleaned 3-400 in my Lyman Tumbler.

    I went out and purchased the 3M lead test sticks and tested my Rockchucker handle, the top of the press, my reloading tray and the lid of my tumbler. I found no signs of lead anywhere if I was doing it right.

    When I used the test strip, the wick turned pink. I'll use gloves but it make me feel better.
     
  17. max it

    max it Member

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    hi, all my prob's where from smelting and casting;
    although loading and shooting indoor can contribute
    the big culprits are what I mentioned,
    coupled with not washing the clothes and body right away.
    stay safe,

    max
     
  18. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I have been battling high lead for over a year now. I posted my experiences here:http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=727173

    Last week, I went in for another test and I am at 35. This is with wearing a mask when casting or shooting indoors, wearing gloves both reloading and shooting and not eating, drinking etc while doing any of it. I even started powder coating my bullets under the impression that it reduces lead residue while shooting. My family and co-workers do not have this problem so it is definitely from my shooting and, yes, 2 co-workers and my entire family have been tested.

    Trust me when I say I have tried it all. I decap before I tumble and I don't tumble indoors. I even wear a mask doing that. I wash myself and my clothes when I get done casting and shooting. I take vitamin C daily as well as iron and I eat before handling lead so I don't have an empty stomach.

    I feel I have taken all of the precautions that I can and only have luck getting my levels to drop when I just stop handling lead completely. I don't think many studies have been done on this, but I am pretty convinced that some people are just more prone to absorbing lead than others. Unfortunately for me, I seem to be one of those. I would be curious if anyone else has had this experience.

    It stinks but I have shelved my stuff and will leave it there for a few months. Then I will start 1 activity at a time (shooting, then reloading, then casting) until I figure out where it is coming from. I will probably also just have to make the switch to plated bullets. I am not happy about that because I love casting and making my own but high lead, regardless of the deniers, does make you sick. Even with my levels being too low to even require any treatment, I can feel the difference and it is not pleasant.
     
  19. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Playing a flame over lead and lead alloys to speed melting is one of the biggest sources I have heard of.
    That flame is HOT.
    WAY over what it takes to make lead vapor.

    Even a cheap K thermocouple and a meter will give you a decent idea of lead temps.

    And lead vapor is not on instant thing.
    As you approach the boiling point of lead it produces more and more vapor.
    MANY flames are WAY OVER the boiling point.
    Those sharp edges on the metal you see instantly melting under the flame?
    They are likely at the boiling point.
     
  20. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    Thanks for relevant post. It's worth noting that certain seaweeds are said to reduce heavy metals, also.
     
  21. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Schwing, my concern over lead exposure is one of many reasons why I requested the assistance of blarby for the "Partnership for powder coating" thread project - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=753510

    I shoot mostly at indoor ranges and in past year, I have shot a lot of lead loads for load development and range practice. When my lead level tested at 8, I took precautions and started wearing 3M respirator with 2091 fillter for lead dust/particles when I processed range brass (sorting by caliber outdoors in open breeze). I know that lead level of 8 may not be considered high for some but after 3 months of wearing the respirator and taking precautions, my lead level increased to 12 which concerned me and alarmed my doctor enough that she asked me to not shoot at indoor ranges for another 3 month while still taking the precautions.

    I had my family lead levels tested (they were OK) so my higher blood lead level was not the result of lead exposure from water or other environmental factors around the house or from food (imported food from other countries contain higher levels of lead -no more smoked oyster for me). To really narrow the source of my lead exposure, I voluntarily did not even shoot at outdoor ranges the past 3 months so if my lead level shows a decrease next week when I see my doctor (I already had my blood sample taken last week), I can confirm my lead exposure came mostly from the indoor ranges.

    In my post # 237, I mentioned that according to the 4/25/14 CDC report on indoor ranges and elevated blood lead levels, there likely is a link - http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6316a3.htm?s_cid=mm6316a3_w
    So you may "think" you are taking the necessary precautions but to be sure, you need to use lead tests kits to verify where the sources of lead exposure are and really look at where significant amount of lead intake maybe coming from (not necessarily shooting/reloading/casting related).

    I went through this exercise and found/concluded:

    - Paper mask (N95/N100) offers limited protection and respirator with proper fit is better

    - 3M 2091 filter is for lead particle and do not offer protection from vapor - http://www.natlallergy.com/images/art/3M-2091-P100-Filter-Overview.pdf

    - 3M 2097 filter is for lead particle and vapor but offers limited protection from some vapor - http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebserver?mwsId=SSSSSuH8gc7nZxtUnx_e5vTSevUqe17zHvTSevTSeSSSSSS--

    - You will receive greater lead exposure from inhaled lead dust/vapor than from handling solid forms of lead (example: breathing in lead solder fumes/indoor range lead dust vs reloading with lead bullets)


    My future plans include the following:

    - I will limit my shooting at indoor ranges
    - We are in the process of selling our house to relocate where I will be shooting at outdoor ranges and open spaces with plenty of ventilation
    - I will process range brass outdoors (sorting by caliber, dry tumbling with walnut/NuFinish) wearing 3M respirator with 2091 filter
    - I will consider wet tumbling brass and evaporating rinse water with plastic sheet liner to be sent to the landfill to not contaminate septic/city sewer system
    - If I start casting lead bullets, I will switch to 2097 filter and get a industrial ventilation fan for the casting area


    The results from the powder coating thread looks promising enough that I plan to powder coat lead pistol and .300BLK bullets with the consideration that I will try to utilize complete coverage methods. I am not sure if there is enough lead dust exposure concern enough to wear respirator for powder coating activities as I am planning to use dry tumbling method using sealed plastic containers instead of spraying the bullets with electrostatic gun (if I did, I probably wear a respirator).

    Perhaps others can comment more on the lead exposure concerns from powder coating (dry tumbling vs sprayer use).
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  22. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    Thanks for the info BDS. I have been through much of what you have. My point in posting this was for moral support, as much as anything else.

    I would like to point out that I never shoot at indoor ranges but that my outdoor range is covered. In my research, I have found claims that a covered range can be just as bad or worse, especially if there is no wind or airflow.

    When I had my first lead test over a year ago, it was 32. In a panic, I went all out with the safety gear. I wore gloves and even a 2091 respirator when shooting, handling brass or dumping tumbling media (outside). A follow up test a couple of months later had me down to about 21. I assumed my precautions were good and kept going. A few months later, I was convinced by a buddy that I was being ridiculous wearing the mask and that it was not a contributing factor so I quite.... Here I am at 35 and shooting 100% outdoors, casting outdoors and being nearly neurotic about lead cleanliness.

    Basically, I am really scraping to try and figure out WHERE my exposure is coming from. I believe it is possible that I am just prone to it and may either have to wear the mask all of the time reloading and shooting or... Heaven forbid, give up cast lead completely and go to tmj or plated.

    I absolutely love casting my own so this is a real bummer. I go back in 2 weeks for my follow up test so I guess I will know after that. Hopefully your follow up goes well too. thanks again.


    As far as filters go, I have done a fair amount of research and the 2091 filter is sufficient. The 2097 doesn't really filter smaller particles but it contains an activated charcoal barrier that helps reduce the unpleasant smells more. Neither will really protect for lead fumes but lead doesn't produce fumes at casting temps and, my understanding is, that they don't remain fumes for more than a few microseconds after becoming airborne so, at that point, they are particulates gain. I think i will go to the 2097 as well just in the off chance that it catches more but, according to 3m, the 2091 works fine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  23. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Schwing, thanks for posting.

    Darn, you threw some wrenches in my plan ... :D

    I guess I will make 3M respirator part of my range bag and wear it if there is no obvious wind.

    Are you using a ventilation fan for casting? I think it will help push the fumes/vapor/particles or whatever away from you before you breathe any of it into your lungs.

    I think powder coating will definitely help reduce our exposure to lead while handling bullets/reloading and shooting/processing cases afterwards.

    Take care and keep us posted on your progress.
     
  24. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Great info here. My levels were high as well. I am hoping that taking precautions and cutting back on shooting at the indoor range will improve them. I am also checking for other means of exposure. I know my house has copper pipes that are soldered, so that is a possible source as well.
    I used to sort range brass then wash it before depriming; now I wash everything first before sorting. I am sure most of my exposure came from vapor/dust ath the indoor range but I am wearing gloves when cleaning my firearms and when handling lead and when removing cases from cleaning media. I am now wearing a respirator when depriming. In addition to all the hand washing when I come home from shooting the clothes I am wearing go straight into the washing machine.
    My number was high and I am due to be retested in a couple of weeks so I am hoping with the above precautions it will go down. I will let will let everyone know if I see an improvement.

    I would urge all shooters and reloaders to get their levels tested.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  25. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    Welcome to to club... the sucky sucky high lead club:)

    I think one of the most important things I have determined through this whole ordeal is that everyone is different. Some of the folks here seem to be able to chew lead like gum and lick their fingers after. Then there are those of us that seem to metabolize every molecule within a 100 mile radius. Then there are those who just never get tested. A friend of mine fell into this camp. After some needling, I convinced him to get his checked and he was 19.

    Good luck with your test. I am going back next week myself so... cross my fingers.
     
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