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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. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    I think you pretty well got it ReloaderFred.
     
  2. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I love watching these kinds of guys show how it is done. I also envy his work area.

    One thing that still just makes me bang my head on the wall is that, even though he is taking what most would consider reasonable precautions, it isn't nearly as careful as I am. I always wear gloves and a respirator for crying out loud! Just goes to show that some folk just can't get away with as much exposure.

    Having said that I got some great news from the Doc today. My lead level was 35 on July 23. I took a follow up test yesterday and it came back at 15! I think the vitamin C and calcium supplements have been paying off.
     
  3. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    thanks for your post reloaderfred. I am very convinced that some people are just more or less sensitive to it than others. I also 100% buy into the vitamin c theory since my levels dropped 20 points in 6 weeks.

    On the plus side, I have not had an illness of any kind since 2011 so I can't be too unhappy with my physiology. I suspect that my crappy diet had as much to do with it as anything else (lead collecting that is).
     
  4. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Finally some good news!

    My lead level dropped from 12 to 8.1 from the test 3 months ago. As requested by my doctor, only change I made was that I stopped shooting at the indoor range.

    For my doctor and for me, this conclusively identifies indoor shooting as the primary source of my lead exposure as I continued, during the past 3 months, other reloading activities as usual:


    - Sorted/processed mixed range brass in the backyard wearing 3M 2091 respirator/filters and washed hands afterwards but I DID NOT wear latex/nitrile/vinyl gloves (even though I had them).

    - No special handling of clothes worn to the range/sorting of range brass was exercised. They were cleaned the same as other laundry.

    - Cleaned/polished sorted range brass in the backyard with vibratory tumbler using walnut media and NuFinish polish while wearing 3M 2091 respirator/filters when sifting media from polished brass.

    - Processed cleaned/polished brass in my indoor reloading room without gloves (resizing rifle brass, trimming to length, chamfering case mouth, etc.).

    - Reloaded lead bullets indoors WITHOUT wearing gloves/respirator but washed my hands afterwards.

    - I used Hoppes #9 solvent, Breakfree CLP and motor oil (various brands) WITHOUT gloves to clean firearms and lube them. Any leading/smearing of lead in the barrel was removed with copper strands wrapped around old bore brush. I washed my hands afterwards using Lava bar soap or Dawn dish soap.

    - I tried to not eat any canned meat products from countries other than USA (like tuna, smoked oysters, sardines, anchovies, etc.) although I may have eaten a few cans of tuna during the past 3 months.

    - Cleaned/polished brass cases are stored indoors in my reloading room.

    - Thousands of lead rounds were reloaded indoors on C-H single stage press/3 Pro 1000 presses/Dillon 650 with exposed spent primer collection (unlike Lee Classic Turret with closed spent primer collection) with none of my family showing an elevated lead level. I use a washable HVAC filter from Home Depot and air conditioning/ventilation vent was open to the indoor reloading room and family breathed the same air.

    - Only supplements I took during the past 3 months were once a day multivitamins and chewable Vit D from Costco (my doctor suggested I take Vit D supplement because the level was low). No changes were made to my diet other than trying to not eat any imported canned meats from outside of USA.

    - I do like cooking shrimp/oyster/clam dishes but tried to limit my intake during this time and ate mostly beef/pork/chicken/ground turkey from Costco and local grocery stores.


    Since I was the only one who showed an increase in lead level, the only difference between my family and me was that I shot more at indoor range (although they also shot at the same indoor range, I did A LOT more shooting during various bullets/powders load developments and accuracy testing during the previous 3 month period when lead level increased from 8 to 12). My primary focus was eliminating inhaled lead particles/dust as greatest source of lead exposure.

    I hope this information helps others with elevated blood lead levels.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  5. max it

    max it Member

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    hi ya, I am glad y'all are keeping this going.
    I am addicted to my indoor range; everyone knows my name!
    besides its a lot further to the outdoor ones.
    but I would agree to the assements posted here. not that I am an expert, but I have read a lot and my Dr. Bones also singled out the stryphonite (sp.) in primers that gets in the air.

    Much obliged,

    Max
     
  6. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    If your body is sensitive to lead and shoot at indoor ranges, you should seriously consider using a respirator with proper filters. 3M respirator with 2091 filters is now a permanent part of my range bag for shooting indoors. For me, it's a cheap $15 insurance against lead exposure - http://www.amazon.com/3M-Series-Facepiece-Respirator-Medium/dp/B000FTEDMM

    BTW, here's the latest 4/24/14 CDC report on indoor ranges and elevated blood lead levels - http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6316a3.htm?s_cid=mm6316a3_w
     
  7. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    BDS, glad to hear your levels are down. Due to get mine rechecked and I am hopeing they drop since I have cut way back on shooting at the indoor range.
    Not glad to hear that the cause was the indoor range, but I figure thats my main exposure, sometimes the truth isn't pretty.

    The only good thing was all this time I thought I was just getting old and senile, now I can blame it on the lead. :)
     
  8. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    I can't remember when the last time I shot at an indoor range was but I know I only fired 10 rounds and left.

    That said, for the past 5 years I have been hovering around 7 on my lead level and just had a test taken last week the results were a 3.

    Now I haven't changed anything, still pouring bullets in the same manner as before, still loading for and shooting my handgun and such just as much as I have been if not more. I feel great about the lower level, but haven't got a clue why it has gone down, but sure glad it wasn't up.
     
  9. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I have probably mentioned this before on this thread but I have started wearing a mask OUTDOORS as well. I was corresponding with a doctor back east who did some extensive testing of his own at outdoor ranges and ended up with surprising results.

    According to his air testing equipment, outdoor ranges that were covered had as much lead in the air as indoor ranges. Even uncovered out door ranges had air lead levels that were nearly 50 times the OSHA acceptable limits for safety. In some cases, when the wind was towards the shooter, exposure was much HIGHER than indoor ranges since indoor ranges tend to have airflow away from the shooter.

    I feel like a tool and I get a lot of stares but at least it allows me to keep shooting. Without doing this, my lead levels get into the 30's and I never shoot at indoor ranges anymore.
     
  10. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    Had my BLL tested and got the results today: 2 :D

    So, I will keep doing what I have been doing. Plated bullets, wet tumbling, shooting outdoors.
     
  11. Sweet Agony

    Sweet Agony Member

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    Thank you for posting this, there is a thread running on the Sig Forum with a similar theme.
     
  12. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    Indoor ranges vary considerably in their ventilation. I used to shoot at one (1-2 hrs/week) where I'd be blowing black boogers for the next three days. That got my blood lead up around 20. That place is still in business, but I don't know why. They also have a deteriorated backstop that gives some nice bouncebacks from time to time, entire .45 bullets.

    Now, I typically shoot the same amount at a covered outdoor range but there are few other shooters there. I also shoot an IDPA about once a month at a new indoor range with very good ventilation. My blood was 5 on the last check.
     
  13. suemarkp

    suemarkp Member

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  14. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Member

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    I agree with ReloaderFred that some people are more susceptible to lead than others.

    In my case, after a long absence, I got back into casting and reloading a little over 11 years ago. I do my casting in the garage and the only protection I use is a fan blowing across the casting area and out the roll-up door.

    For the last 4 or 5 years, probably 90% of my shooting has been at an indoor range. Mainly because the indoor range is about 12 blocks from my house and a decent outdoor range is 80 miles each way.

    I’ll admit that my first knowledge of the vitamin C and Calcium impact is reading this thread. However, I’ve been taking “C” for at least the last 40 years and Calcium for about 7/8/years. The first time I ever had a blood test for lead was about a year ago and my level was at 6. I don’t know if it’s the C and Calcium and/or a natural resistance, but it was lower than what I expected.
     
  15. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    i have spent over 50 years doing Army EOD and civilian EOD/UXO stuff. i have burned thousands of tons of military small arms ammunition.

    i managed the destruction of all unserviceable US Army ammunition after Desert Storm. We burned hundreds of millions of small arms rounds in big pits. At first i cleaned and reused the pits after burning. i soon quit that because of the dust.

    Got home and took a very thorough employment physical for an environmental remediation company. Couple months later a medical type at corporate looked at my test blood test results: There were high levels of lead in my system. Had more tests done, lead level was still very high. The doctor wanted me to take chelation therapy. i opted instead to take 500 mg of vitamin C daily. Four months later tests showed the lead was out of my system.

    Don't breath the fumes from melted lead. Wash the hands after casting or handling lead.
     
  16. Bama Drifter

    Bama Drifter Member

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    Sorry my 1st post to the forums is in a year old thread!
    Anyway, as an avid shooter and reloader with young child I felt urged to share my thoughts/ experience. About a year ago our kid tested over 8 blood lead level, while an adult can handle that much it is borderline high for a toddler. After rounding up all my components and stray brass, I put it in the garage under my bench and ordered some D-lead wipes, D-Lead abrasive hand soap, and purple nitrile gloves to wear when sorting dirty brass or seating lead bullets. The exterior paint was likely a major cause of my kids elevated levels, but I'd be a moron to not keep my stuff locked away from little hands.

    Wife and I tested 0.0 blood level (and I DO shoot once a month at an indoor range), and the kid's level has dropped to 6, then 4 after daily iron supplements. SO glad chelation wasn't necessary. Long story short: eat right or take multivitamin w/ iron + calcium, wear nitrile gloves when handling cast bullets and dirty components, and wipe your hands off BEFORE leaving your shooting station to knock off majority of lead, then of course wash hands, fore arms, and face before eating, and CHANGE SHIRT if you'll be giving hugs when you get home. :) Sorry to beat a dead horse, but please take lead seriously.
     
  17. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    Good reminder. Thanks Bama
     
  18. klw

    klw Member

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    Causer of high lead levels

    I've got an article at Wolfe Publishing on this now. Don't know if they will take it or not but...

    Bullet casting does not raise blood lead levels, at least if you are using normal precautions.

    Shooting cast pistol bullets can but you have to have a VERY high daily number of shots to do it.

    What is most likely to cause trouble is shooting cast rifle bullets but even here it is hard to get in trouble.

    So my conclusion after studying this for about 7 years is that there is almost no way to get into trouble.

    For all but the most serious cast bullet shooters there just isn't a problem here, at least if you are an adult. What would happen to a child I just don't know.

    How the body eliminates lead is interesting. The higher your lead level the faster it is eliminated. The highest I ever got was 36. 40 is considered a problem. But at 36 your blood loses lead very quickly. If your lead level was, say, 12, you would lose it much slower.
     
  19. Rico567

    Rico567 Member

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    I agree with "klw"'s assessment. Metallic lead poses very few hazards, unless you're grinding it up and sprinkling it on your breakfast cereal (common sense prophylaxis discussed earlier, such as hand washing, wearing nitrile gloves, is always a good idea when handling any number of solvents or etc.).
    I cast bullets for 20 years, (from my 20s to my 40s, I'm 71 now) generally in an unventilated storage room in the winter, with no detrimental results that I know of.
    Primer residue from the lead styphnate compound used in primers is a more likely culprit...but, I suspect, mostly from a lot of shooting in improperly ventilated indoor ranges.
    I believe anyone who is in doubt should by all means get a test to determine lead levels. Only way to be sure.

    As for "Bama Drifter"'s account, I can't understand how a child could turn up with those lead levels and the parents with zero. A person might suspect lead sources other than bullets / reloading. Old-school paint is a likely culprit, because the lead was incorporated into that paint in compounds easily absorbed by the body.

    The biggest culprit in the lead wars is/was the old leaded gasoline- the additive involved, tetraethyl lead, was an absolute killer. Spewed out into the atmosphere 24 hours a day and very easily absorbed.
    I happened to be sitting in a geology class last winter, and the prof mentioned some research he had been doing with other people throughout the Midwest, and the good news is that lead levels in the soil have dropped dramatically in horizons laid down after the introduction of lead-free gasoline. So it DID help.
     
  20. Bama Drifter

    Bama Drifter Member

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    Thanks Rico & KLW. Pediatrician and state Lead Inspector agreed that it was likely from playing in front yard on hands and knees, getting lead contaminated hands (or a paint chip) in mouth and ingesting it. Didn't mean to sound paranoid about ammo or component storage, just wanted to be EXTRA cautious and not lead poison my kid through negligence. Our reading of 0.0 strongly confirms that it was something other than my shooting sports, interior paint, or tapwater. Since my kid's level dropped and we limit outdoor play to the park, nana's house, etc I'm not too worried. Hope that clarifies my first post.

    BTW, Tons of great info in this reloading forum!
     
  21. iagbarrb

    iagbarrb Member

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    Health authorities do have to warn you about lead poisoning.
    Ask how many patients had lead poisoning problems.
    How many shooters all over the world have lead poisoning signs?
    I guess those that work with leaded paint or lead miners.
    Let health authorities do their job. They can be sued if they do mot warn you.
    But not shooting will affect my health in a greater way than not shooting because of a blood test.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  22. klw

    klw Member

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    Wolfe Publishing

    One of these months Wolfe Publishing will have an article in their on-line addition about the problems facing shooters as regards to lead levels in the blood.
     
  23. max it

    max it Member

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    Lead in blood - updated 10-2015

    hi ya, since I first found that I have elevated lead in blood I want to report that the drop from 17mg/dll has been gradual and slight. this is over a two-three year period.
    I also did the research online and my MD came up with an abbreviated but succinct assessment.
    in brief: its the lead stryphonate (sp?) in primers. and yes indoor ranges are more to blame than outside. it gets all over the body from blowback. so yes you do need to wash thoroughly.
    but, the authorities have halved the danger level. its 50mg/dll not 25 read up.
    be safe

    (ps, I have read and contributed to many threads on this subject across different forums and formats, look it up) and don't believe anything you read and hear and only 1/2 of what you see.
     
  24. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Wolfe Publishing did an article on lead poisoning in Handloader 62, July-August, 1976. The author was Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D.

    It was pretty much common sense about washing after handling lead, not eating while reloading or shooting and shooting only in well ventilated indoor ranges, all of which is relative today. All my shooting is done in outdoor ranges........

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  25. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I would advise anyone who shoots at an indoor range to have their levels checked. Mine were way high, almost high enough to warrant chelation.
    (they went down below 50 while my insurance was trying to figure out where/who to send me to)
    Had a rapid drop from 60+ once I stopped shooting at the indoor range for a while. Ocne I was down below 20 (17) I went back and levels started to go up again.
    I have pretty much decided not to shoot there anymore even though it was nice to be able to get to the range in 15 minutes.

    Some indoor ranges may be ok, but some are not unless you don't shoot very much or go very often, both of which I did.

    I had no symptoms but got myself tested because I saw a post where someone else recommended it.
    Glad I saw that post.

    And yes, your "private" health data gets released to the State (at least in CA) without anyone notifying you that they did it. (testing lab is required to inform in CA) So much for HIPPA.
     
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