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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. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    This thread got me interested enough to get mine lead levels checked. Since I shoot around 12,000 rnds a year give or take, I figured I would be up a bit since most are lead revolver rounds.

    I was shocked when mine came back at 1.1. They ran two samples to be sure, but yep, 1.1.

    I guess I can rack it up to shooting outside and following proper rules of handling and cleaning up afterwords. I will start measuring it every couple of years just to make sure.

    I suggest you all get it checked because you cannot really guess. Oh by the way, my doc had to order special receptacle and gear for the test as it is not a commonly done one. No big deal financially, but you did have to warn them before hand to get the resources in.
     
  2. Bear41mag

    Bear41mag Member

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    My lead level was 37 recently, so I started the vitamin C and quit shooting in our indoor ( not ventilated so good) range at the club. Started using a respirator when smelting my lead and cleaning my brass.

    I also have purchased some D-Lead wipes to use at the range and on my reloading bench to clean up the residue. I also got some of the D-Lead soap that I keep on the sink by my gun room and upstairs in the bathroom and use it religously. I also carry a bottle in my range bag to wash up after each range session.

    Hopefully in a couple months I will be back to normal (lead level at least :rolleyes:)
     
  3. hatchetbearer

    hatchetbearer Member

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    I used to work in a Lead acid battery recycling plant, shoot in an indoor range and cast musket balls, when i left that job, my lead level in my blood was 73ppb, 40 was paid layoff. my only symptom was tiredness. take Vit. C and eat alot of cilantro. we were also told to lay off pop (soda) and drink water and Gatorade instead. given time, your lead will go down. Until then have a laugh at the "plenty of lead in my pencil" jokes (not very high road i know, but when the shoe fits....)
     
  4. PowderApe

    PowderApe Member

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    For those interested in the technical aspects of lead exposure:

    http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic293.htm

    Kids are more at risk because their brains and nervous system is still developing-
    Ingestion and inhalation are the usual culprits
     
  5. Old School

    Old School Member

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    Great thread for sure. I will definately consider all of the different sources of lead poisoning related to ammo. I will also look at any indoor ranges I use with a critical eye now. I actually prefer the outdoor range, it is just a longer drive. Now that drive is even more worth it for me.
     
  6. rapier5316

    rapier5316 Member

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    oral chelation supplier

    without wading through 5 pages where this info. may be, you might check out www.longevityplus.com and look for their Essential Daily Defense product.
     
  7. KeithCarter

    KeithCarter Member

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    I am a Registered Nurse, Lab Tech (do tests for lead), a former high-school physics teacher, and and have a lead casting business.

    We Americans are a bunch of hypochondriacs. We are deathly afraid of that which we don't understand, and do a bunch of foolish things to keep "safe".

    We had two guys that handled and cast lead every day all day indoors for two years. A test showed normal levels.

    Wash it off your hands. Don't put fingers in your mouth (smoking). As was said, lead primers are the problem much more than bullets. So only shoot in well ventilated areas or outdoors.

    That's all it takes. No big deal. Don't breathe it and don't eat it, and you won't have any problems.

    But I notice here we all have our favorite preventative and cure-all. That's cute, but it's also silly and expensive.

    Keith Carter, MLT/ascp RN BS
    NRA Life
     
  8. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Hooray! Finally someone who knows everyday real world experience. Like I said earlier, much to do about nothing.

    I don't know if it was here or over on TFL, but after years of casting/loading and shooting lead boolits, i had a lead test. That lead test read out at 5.0! Real good considering my exposure.
     
  9. MAGNUM44

    MAGNUM44 Member

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    not only shooting lead bulletts what about people who do casting of lead bulletts and are breathing in the molten lead when they are casting etc ?
     
  10. taprackbang

    taprackbang member

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    Whatever we do lets not report testing, but Big brother Big Daddy Government can do whatever it wants and break whatever law it wants. Welcome to our wonderful America.
     
  11. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    I'm not going to read all the posts to see if anyone knows about this or if it was already posted.

    But the fastest way to lower your blood lead level (or any other heavy metals for that matter) is to drain out some of your blood. Obviously, you can only drain out so much and then you must wait for your body to replace what is lost, or else get a transfusion. But the replacement blood is lead free.

    So if you regularly donate blood, you will be continuously losing heavy metals and your heavy metal concentration in your blood will never rise to dangerous levels.

    Think about it. It's a good reason to start donating blood regularly...even if it is for selfish reasons. Maybe you shouldn't donate while you are currently above the safe level of lead concentration, but once you are down to a safe level you could start donating as a pre-emptive or preventative measure.
     
  12. Trustin

    Trustin Member

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    it's EXTREMELY hard to get lead poisoning, people who get it arer not taking necessary precautions, if it was absolutely harmful to everyone it would be regulated like asbestos.

    WASH YOUR HANDS!
     
  13. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Breathing in the molten lead. DAMM THAT WOULD HURT
     
  14. Hairballusmaximus

    Hairballusmaximus Member

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    One thing not mentioned is this: Some people are more susceptable than others!! I am allergic to bees, my wife and kids are not, I am allergic to pennecillin, my wife and kids are not, wife and daughter are allergic to latex, my sons and I are not. Some smokers live to 100 years with no cancer and some die as early as 30+ or - years. We all absorb at different rates and eliminate at different rates. I use some but not all the precautions and I was tested 6 mo ago after casting over 40,000 bullets in my shop and I wasnt told the actual # but was told I was extremely low and had no worries. I plan to get checked about once a year to keep on top of it.

    I firmly believe that some are way more sensitive or"allergic" you might say to lead than others. This is just my HO.

    Take whatever precautions you feel are necessary, and get checked.
     
  15. Shrinkmd

    Shrinkmd Member

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    Tumbler type?

    What do people think about depriming prior to tumbling to cut down on lead dust? Also, is the RCBS Sidewinder a good idea? Since the lid is tight fitting (allegedly) and can use liquid media instead of corncob or walnut husk. I don't want to spend that much for a tumbler, but to lower lead exposure (especially dust) it would be worth it to me.
     
  16. Hairballusmaximus

    Hairballusmaximus Member

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    Just go down to your local hobby shop and get what I call 'wing saddle tape' its foam rubber tape 1/4" wide and about 1/16" thick and self adhesive on one side. Place in sealing groove on tumbler lid and no more dust.
     
  17. R.Clem

    R.Clem Member

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    Having read only part of the posts on this subject, some of what I say has probably already been mentioned.
    I spent some of my younger life, like the 2nd threw 4th grade in the Kellogg, ID area, at that time the lead and silver capital of the world. The river there ran gray, picture a gray crayon flowing by your class room window, 24/7. I returned there in 1995 to see what the clean-up was doing, the rivers and streams leading from the smelters and mines are now pristine looking, they would not support aquatic life at that time, but I understand they will now. At about age 24 I got a job at a lead smelter on Harbour Island in Seattle. Before going to work for these folks I had to test for lead exposure, it was elevated. After working for this company about a year, I got really ill, I won't try to explain all of what went on, but, the key thing was my temper became very short and I was very violent. According to my doctor, this is a sign of advanced lead poisoning. I spent 7 days in the hospital having my blood cleaned, at the end of the hospital stay my blood lead level was less than when I went to work for the company smelting lead. That was nearly 40 years ago. Now every physical has a blood/lead count, it is still higher than average, but I feel good and have no evident problems.
    I still cast my hand gun bullets and shoot them on a regular basis. I only shoot out doors and then make sure that the breeze is not blowing in my face. I do not shoot plain base bullets, except in my 45-70, gas checks are the order of the day, always. recently I purchased a Sharps reproduction which I shoot black powder substitutes in, I did a considerably amount of investigation into this before I started shooting those big plain base bullets that are required for this caliber, and found that the use of a wad under the bullet and over the powder is required to get good accuracy, it helps or prevents the hot powder charge from from burning the lead from the base of the bullet. As a test I fired some rounds without the wad, I was really amazed at the amount of lead loss from these bullets, the high was 3 grains, all from one side of the bullet base. Before somebody asks, they were fired into wet news print, the deformation of the bullet was very minimal, and the total loss for the 5 rounds fired was 12.2 grains of lead.
    Anyway, to continue on, I started experimenting with wads and plain base bullets in one of my .44's. The loss of lead on the plain base without a wad is substantial but doesn't seem to be extreme, (if you can call a .5 to 1 grain loss insignificant, that is per bullet), however, if I spend some extra time and a little more effort and cut some wads from old milk jugs and put them over the powder before seating the bullet, the lead loss is none existent. This is worth a try, it doesn't eliminate the lead exposure from the lead bullets, but it does cut it down considerably.
    I hope this helps some of you, give it a try or shoot gas checks only, but always shoot out doors with lead bullets, and make sure the breeze is not blowing in your face. If you have to shoot indoors, by all means shoot only bullets which have a total copper jacket.
    Your health is important, if you don't protect it you won't be able to do what all of us here like to do. SHOOTING!
     
  18. elktrout

    elktrout Member

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    This thread really interests me in understanding the effect of gas checks. Do they really reduce the lead gas plume that much?

    I used to shoot lead bullets from my revolvers years ago and stopped doing so because the inside and outside of the gun had a "baked on" layer of gray junk that took an hour or more of scrubbing to remove. I deducted that it was from the hot gases burning the lead. I have shot jacketed ever since.

    Some questions for all of you:

    1. Do the gas checks reduce this phenomenon and keep the gun cleaner?

    2. Do the plated bullets do a better job of it?

    3. How much do the plated bullets leave the bore with copper build up, since they seem so much softer than a jacketed bullet?

    Thanks.
     
  19. Hatchet1961

    Hatchet1961 Member

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    Hand Washing

    Lead: Always wash your hands after shooting,
    reloading or handling any cartridges bullets or primers.

    NOTE:
    Wash your hands first in COLD water with soap.
    Then in Warm water with soap.

    (So you get most of the lead off without opening your skins pores by using warm or hot soap and water.
     
  20. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    NOTE; Lead cannot be absorbed through the skin, no matter whether the pores are open or not.

    The precautions about washing hands is to prevent contamination of food handled by your hands. Or when you rub your eyes or nose, that gives lead access to your body by ingestion.
     
  21. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    If you mean "lead" as in "metallic lead" then this is correct. If, on the other hand, you mean "lead" as in "commonly occuring compounds containing lead" then it's not.
     
  22. cliffy

    cliffy member

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    Lead as a Health Hazard is highly over-rated . . .

    Lead inhalation is slightly less detrimental than asbestos inhalation. Asbestos inhalation is less a health issue than Carbon Monoxide inhalation. Yet within EXTREMES available, all are deadly. Black Lung Death from working beneath the ground in coal mines is Number One as a surefire, mizerable death. Being eaten by a modern day WOLF serves adequately well. Automobile accidents create the most human havoc to date. Smoking cigarettes ranks way up there, however. How much governmental control should it take to determine our methods of death? Death by Wolf has not yet been "controlled" by governmental action. Soviet, Socialist, Insane control will control our deaths soon, so why worry about mere WOLF intervention? cliffy
     
  23. EHL

    EHL Member

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    So I gotta ask, is casting bullets "safe"? I've read too many stories of guys who's eyes went crooked from years of casting bullets in their garage. Should I be outdoors with absolutley no inclosure? Just looking for tips cuz I'm looking at getting into casting my own bullets but I don't wanna go cross eyed to save a few pennies.
     
  24. jfh

    jfh Member

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    here's my recent experience.

    1. In June 2007 I resumed reloading after a 10-year hiatus. Prior to this date, I'd had no recent contact with lead. Of the nominal 25,000 handgun rounds I loaded over the next 18 months, approximately 23,000 were loaded with lead bullets. Perhaps 20,000 rounds were loaded on my (Lee) turret, and perhaps 5,000 rounds were loaded on a Load-Master. No bullet feeders were used, IOW.

    Of these rounds, about 18,000 were fired at our club outdoor range, and about 2-3,000 were fired at a well-ventilated indoor range during the winter of 2008. I practiced no typical health precautions--no gloves, etc.--and would not usually remember to wash my hands before smoking. No clothing changes were done after shooting, etc. In sum, I practiced normal hygiene.

    2. In June of 2008, I had my blood tested for lead. The lead level was 24-25--or at the upper edge of 'normal.' I loaded little over the next few months, but shot perhaps 1200-1800 rounds a month until mid-November, none inddors, and NO shooting after that.

    3. In January 2009, the lead testing was done again. It had fallen to 16--i.e, well within the typical range.

    I experience no symptoms I could attribute to lead poisoning. However, I do have other health issues ongoing that could mask such symptoms, I think. My own guess is that there are no issues with lead poisoning. Personally, I would consider Radagast's report to be strictly subjective for anecdotal symptoms--but we really don't know, since no testing was done.

    Long-term elevated lead levels are an issue, but I personally think that the issue has been overblowen for the usual activism concerns. That is, lead poisoning issues are partly a political issue to promote increased governmental regulation.

    Were I to shoot exclusively--and frequently--at an indoor range, I would probably use more jacketed bullets.

    Jim H.
     
  25. DickM

    DickM Member

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    I'm quoting my own post from just over a year ago to save you the trouble of scrolling back to find it.

    I've just received the results from the blood test associated with my annual physical and my serum lead is now down to 11.8 mcg/dl, which is just barely high enough to be considered "elevated," and is much reduced from the 31 mcg/dl result of a year ago. I haven't changed the amount of shooting I do indoors (maybe increased, if anything), but I have been religious about wearing the respirator and washing my hands after shooting and reloading. These were very simple steps to take and I now would no more shoot without my respirator than I would without glasses or hearing protection. Wearing the respirator has become such a habit that I hardly even need to think about it, and I can now pursue my hobby without fear of compromising my health.

    I've seen several posts in the intervening year about how lead is not that much of a personal health concern. I've read some of the scientific literature on this issue and, as a practicing environmental toxicologist, I know how the numbers were developed and what they mean. Shooting indoors in poorly ventilated ranges without respiratory protection is essentially equivalent to smoking cigarettes, driving without a seatbelt, or leaving a loaded gun around for your kids to play with - you may be one of the lucky ones and not suffer the consequences, but only a fool would count on it.
     
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