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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. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    Glad to find his thread. Will have my blood tested at my next physical in a couple of months.

    I had already started wet tumbling my brass and will definitely continue with that. I have a septic tank, so I am not sure that dumping the rinse water down the drain is a good idea, if anyone has some insight into the best way to handle that, let me know.

    One thing I have started doing is to wet tumble the brass for a few minutes, without the stainless media, before I decap them while they are still wet. It keeps the dust down during the decapping. I did not start doing that because I was worried about lead, but because it kept the dust out of my press. I'm thinking that will also be a good thing to keep the lead exposure down. Of course, after I decap them, they get the full wet tumble with pins.

    Now I just need to figure out what is the best route to dispose of the waste water. Is there anything to add to the mix that will bind with the lead and make it inert?
     
  2. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Unfortunately, the only real lead remediation strategies are way beyond the scope of your home based operation.

    HSO might be able to shed some light there.

    What you could do in the meantime is filter your waste water through a fine micron filter. 3m makes water filter cartridges that would prevent lead particles from being expelled in the stream, but I have no idea how to make their system process low pressure waste water instead of higher pressure inlet water :/


    As someone whose body apparently holds on to lead like Private Pile held on to jelly donuts, I can say im very jealous of those of you who seem to simply sweat the bullets out of your body !

    I now have a casting "season". The rest of the year is home-brew chelation. Seriously.

    Want to track how lead contaminate moves the fastest through your house ? Use some of those lead test strips on your doorknobs. I was SHOCKED.

    I was extra shocked to learn that my lead levels were higher when I was casting "lightly" and outside as opposed to my little casting cubicle indoors with in/out ventilation. Track your sources, and clean them as best you can.

    For 99.9% of regular shooters, 0 is not an attainable number on a blood lead score. Under 5 seems highly irregular. For regular bullet junkies, like casters, scrappers, and the like, keeping it under 10 seems possible- but difficult.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I don't recall who posted this but suggested lining baking sheet or baking pan with plastic sheet and when the liquid evaporates, toss the remaining solids along with the plastic sheet in the trash to be sent to the landfill.
     
  4. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    The problem I see with that is where to put that so it will evaporate. Outside, obviously, but it will be exposed to wildlife to some degree. Don't want birds drinking out of it.

    I'll have to explore the evaporation idea.

    I had someone suggest taking it to a place that drains into the city sewage. They monitor and treat the water for lead, I was told.
     
  5. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    You could use chicken wire mesh to cover the baking pan/dish while the wet wash/tumbling water evaporates.

    I wouldn't dump it in the city sewer and many coastal cities' treated sewer discharges to the ocean.

    I certainly would not dump it in the septic system as it will leech down into the ground water supply (yours if you have a shallow well).
     
  6. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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  7. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    Where did all that evil lead come from to begin with?

    A range that I belong to has its water tested monthly, it has untold tons of lead shot, & bullets on their land. This has range was built in the 1940's, yet to have a problem.
     
  8. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    Well, it doesn't occur naturally on earth's surface. Most lead comes from processing galena which is a crystal ore created by direct precipitation from hydrothermal fluids deep underground. In other words, it is naturally occurring but did not exist on the surface of the planet until men started mining it.

    Since our physiology has no use for it and there is little to no tolerance for it in the human body it is dangerous. It is believed that little to NO lead existed in our various water sources until men began using it.

    Lead is a dangerous toxin... Period. It doesn't make folks anti-gun to admit to this. It just makes folks anti-fact to say otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  9. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Lead in it's raw form is benign. It's in it's oxidized or airborne form that it's a problem. You can't absorb it through the epidermis. It has to be ingested or inhaled.

    You can hold a lead ingot in your hand for years and it won't be absorbed through your skin, but the lead that rubs off the ingot needs to be washed off before that hand touches food, is put in your mouth, etc.

    Those who worry about any lead from their reloading hobby getting into the waters of this nation are completely forgetting the tons and tons of lead sinkers that are already there from the past century of fishing...........

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  10. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    Did I say it was not a dangerous toxin? No I did not!

    What I said was the range I belong to has yet to have a problem with their water supply even after 70 years of the shooting sports being held there.

    That is the facts of what I said!
     
  11. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    Thanks for the spell check... edit made:)
     
  12. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I am truly sorry if I offered offense, I am not in the habit of trying to do that and I sincerely apologize if I came off that way.

    My point is that it is common for shooters to use the argument that lead came out of the ground and, hence, putting it back into the ground is harmless. This is not true at all as lead was never a naturally occurring substance on earth's surface until men started digging it up and using it. It is also not entirely true that lead won't leach into water sources. The fact that almost all of our water has trace amounts of lead in it is evidence of this.
     
  13. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    At this point I just want to know what to do with the waste water from wet tumbling. :uhoh:
     
  14. max it

    max it Member

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    still too much lead in blood

    hi ya, my level is still 17-19
    that after giving up casting over a year ago
    and switching most of my indoor shooting to plated bullets :banghead:
    one member here suggests that different folks react differently to lead fumes, amen.
    my pedestrian view is that we as a group are not taking lead serious enough.
    in order to eliminate contamination we need to completely wash and change clothes, clean all casting and reloading surfaces, and no eating or drinking around such equipment.
     
  15. poco loco

    poco loco Member

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    my last test was a 7 but I never shoot indoors,

    I always cast outdoors with the wind at my back and a fan blowing over the pot. Never try to force melt the lead and try to clean the area and myself asap. I did lose a rooster to lead poisoning once after a tinsel fairy incident, chickens are very attracted to shiny stuff and even though I tried to get it all up, I missed enough for him to poison himself.

    I also tend to cast in long sessions then take a month or so break which might help.

    I honestly think our biggest problem is primer blowby and dust on our presses from decapping. Keep that process as clean as possible, I usually decap on a separate press with a Lee universal then tumble after.

    I picked up some of the HiTek coating to try and 500 pre coated to try in the 357 Sig just for grins....want to see if I can get them close to the HAP 115g.

    Never shoot indoors and if you must, get a real vapor proof mask, they aren't cheap, neither is lead poisoning.
     
  16. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    max it and poco loco, my thoughts are along the lines of yours. While we may be "overreacting" to some extent on some aspects of reloading/shooting, I feel being overly cautious with lead exposure is not a bad thing, especially if you have small children/animals around your place.

    I am planning to line baking sheets/pans (from garage sales) with plastic sheet (thin/cheap one used for painting from the dollar store should work), let wet tumbling waste water evaporate where wildlife can't get to and toss remaining solids along with the plastic sheet in the trash.
     
  17. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    Read the last sentence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_metal

    As in maybe..
     
  18. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    Frankly I think we have bigger problems with Radon gas, foods we eat "as in obesity & diabetes", drugs, and drivers using cell phones.

    Myself, I've been casting since the 60's, currently get my blood tested 4 times a year because of other issues, and my lead levels are in the 3 to 5 range. I cast indoors, however I do not shoot indoors.

    Are we over reacting, not sure, but at my age of 70+ I have bigger issues to be concerned about.
     
  19. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    Someone pointed out to me that most of the lead styphenate residue should still be in the primers. If decapping before wet tumbling, the water should not be as contaminated as we might think. Don't know if this is true, but it makes some sense.

    BDS, I am thinking along the lines of some type of a small barrel where I can dump the waste water where it can evaporate. In the sun, painted black, well ventilated but covered so rain can't get in. I'm also thinking about a system to filter the water and recycle it, just for wet tumbling purposes.

    I wish I knew of a way to test each aspect to see how the lead exposure/risk relates to each aspect of shooting/casting/reloading.
     
  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I think that's a good idea provided you don't disturb the dried solids/particles/dust. Not sure reusing wet tumbling water is a feasible idea.

    You can buy lead test kits at Home Depot, Amazon, etc.:

    2 swab kit $10 - http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Pa...ols/Lead-Paint-Test-Kits/N-5yc1vZc5bkZ1z0sv1r

    6 swab kit $30 - http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klean-Strip-D-Lead-Paint-Test-Kit-EKLP64000/202754551

    8 swab kit $23 - http://www.amazon.com/3M-717834209102DUPE-LeadCheck-Swabs-8-Pack/dp/B008BK15PU
     
  21. blarby

    blarby Member

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    One important note- dont let those little swabbies give you a heart attack.

    They turn blue at almost any trace of lead. Great for finding sources and tracking contamination, but cant really test the volume of material present- or if its
    "harmless" elemental lead or one of its many more harmful mutations.

    ReloaderFred pretty much nailed that one. Most of the eco crowd thinks that ingot is going to give birth to millions of gremlins. The truth is much different, but what gets in the news ?
     
  22. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I am trying to get to 70+ without falling apart and I already have "issues". :D
     
  23. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I just had my follow up test yesterday and am waiting on pins and needles for the results... one of the reasons I am hovering on this thread and probably sounding like a jerk.

    I am convinced that some of us are just screwed when it comes to absorbing lead. In the circle I cast and shoot in I am the only one who wears a mask and gloves and I am the only one with lead issues. As stated earlier, my kids and wife test at or around zero and I work in a new building sitting behind a computer so I am convinced it is my shooting activities.

    You have probably heard all of this but, for what it is worth, here are some things I have found that helped me drop my levels a bit last time around. I wish I had never stopped doing them and won't stop this time around!

    take vitamin c every day. I take 1000mg. Some people take up to 3000. There are studies that claim this alone can decrease lead absorption by up to 70%. It is unclear about whether it helps you get rid of what you already have in your body.

    make sure you are getting plenty of calcium and iron in your diet as lead replaces them if you are deficient.

    Don't shoot or cast on an empty stomach.

    Wear a face mask while shooting or casting EVEN IF YOU DO IT OUTSIDE. I was corresponding with a doctor from back east who is a shooter and did his own testing. He assures me that shooting outdoors can be every bit as bad as indoors if there is no wind, especially if your bay is covered. The mask needs to be either a 2091 or 2097 filter to get the lead. They are cheap. I got mine from pksafety.com for around $18.

    This is where I am at as well. I sure wish I didn't have to be so worried about it but my lead levels are telling me otherwise. I do really envy those of you who don't have these problems. I really love casting and shooting lead bullets but it is looking more and more like I will have to go to tmj, plated or, heaven forbid, quit altogether if my levels don't start dropping.
     
  24. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    FYI, here's Jerry Miculek melting lead and casting bullets.

    [YOUTUBE]PSgQ82Kqhzo[/YOUTUBE]
     
  25. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    I "may" be one of those people who's body handles lead differently, but I take common sense precautions. I've studied the lead issue for our range and have attended sessions given by Rick Patterson, the CEO of SAAMI, and Ed Guster III, the EPA's expert on lead issues for ranges, and have personally talked to both of them about the lead issue. I'm pretty familiar with the real issues of lead contamination and can tell internet hype in an instant, so sometimes I may come off as a little short with some people. I've dealt in facts my whole life, and tend to have disdain for rumors and untruths.

    With that said, I started reloading in 1963, and casting bullets sometime about 1967 or so. I now have a commercial casting machine (Magma Mark 6) set up in a shop, plus a Magma Master Caster set up in my garage. I personally cast about a seventy to eighty thousand bullets per year. I went through over 4,000 pounds of bullet alloy in the past year.

    Three years ago, I had my blood lead level checked and I was at 11, which is well under the 19 level that is considered "ok" for adults in my state. I started taking 3,000 mg of Vitamin C everyday last year (1,000 mg with each meal), and when I had my blood lead level checked in February, I was at 9, and this was with the increased casting I've been doing.

    The only precautions I take are to make sure I've got a fan drawing the air away from me when casting, wear leather gloves to keep from getting burned, wear glasses to protect my sight, and religiously wash my hands often, especially prior to eating. That's it.

    I turned 70 last month and have been shooting and reloading since I was 19, and casting since I was about 23. As close as I can figure, I've reloaded and shot over 800,000 rounds of ammunition in my lifetime, and I'm far from done. In fact, I just bought another 6 eight pound jugs of powder today and another handgun.

    I sincerely believe that personal hygiene has more to do with lead contamination than almost anything else, other than shooting on an indoor range with inadequate ventilation and proper housekeeping on that range.

    Indoor ranges should never be swept, and there shouldn't be any rugs on the bench at the shooting positions. Those two things contribute almost as much to lead contamination as a poor ventilation system. Those ranges should be wet mopped and a hepa vacuum cleaner should be used, and the benches should also be wet mopped on a regular basis. The only indoor range I ever shot on that I felt comfortable about was the range at the FBI Academy, at Quantico, VA. I avoid shooting on indoor ranges for the above reasons, if at all possible.

    My opinion is that some people's bodies pick up things, while other's don't, kind of like sitting in a doctor's waiting room with all the sick people. Some sitting there will catch what the others have, while others won't. Maybe it's magic, but it happens. I can't explain why, and I can't explain why some people may take all kinds of precautions and still get high lead levels, while I take minimal (what I consider common sense) measures and don't get high lead levels. (I can't explain magic, either.......)

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
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