Quantcast
  1. Upgrade efforts paused for now. Thanks for your patience. More details in the thread in Tech Support for those who are interested.
    Dismiss Notice

Lead poisoning...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Y-T71, Jun 18, 2022.

  1. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    759
    Location:
    Ohio
    In another thread about the state of popularity of bullet casting, one poster brought up the fact that he had elevated lead levels.

    Since the thread was beginning to stray away from the OP's original topic I thought I'd start a new one.

    Has anyone else had issues with elevated lead in their body? (not including being shot ;))

    Have you gotten tested?
    Do you test regularly?
    Why did you get tested in the first place?

    I am genuinely curious about all this.

    Thank all
     
    Demi-human and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  2. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Messages:
    1,456
    I look at it like this.

    If you make your own bullets, wear a proper respirator rated for lead. Gloves for your hands and safety glasses to protect against any splatter.

    When you load'em, wear rubber gloves to cut down on exposure. If not, wash your hands with cold water and soap when done. Definitely before eating anything or touching your face.

    If you cast and load a lot of lead, get checked out to protect yourself.
     
  3. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,665
    Don't eat, drink or smoke while casting. Wash really well before doing those 3 things after casting as well. Another thing to look out for is white powdery lead oxide on your raw material. That can go airborne and be breathed in.

    At the temps we cast the lead is not being vaporized. Lead poisoning happens mostly by ingesting (ie; paints chips and kids) that's why it's imperative to clean yourself up really well after processing or casting lead before going hand to mouth.

    I know veterans that have bullets left in their bodies from wars. They are not being slowly poisoned by them......


    And I have been tested. I was slightly elevated, but not in the dangerous zone. The nurse at the clinic asked me a series of questions: Do you make stained glass windows? No. Do you live in an older home with possible lead paint? Yes. Do you shoot and or cast bullets? Yes. She advised to just make a better practice of cleaning up and being mindful of my environment around my common areas and my family (small kids etc.). There are vitamin and diet changes you can make to reduce the levels of lead in your body as well.
     
    Scooter22, mdi, Akula69 and 4 others like this.
  4. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,665
    Another thing to consider too is when I was a kid we always crimped our split shot on our fishing lines with our teeth (nature's pliers).

    Maybe that's what's wrong with me?.....o_O
     
  5. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2020
    Messages:
    8,286
    In 2003 I was diagnosed with a tumor in my salivary gland’s related to nickel exposure from my days working as a machinist. Those tumors were successfully removed and I underwent cancer protocols that were completely successful. My doctor at the time was concerned about exposure to other metals known to cause cancer so I get tested regularly for a full spectrum, including lead and mercury. So far everything is fine and none of my metal tests have come back with a problem but I’ll be tested every four months for life.
     
    Walkalong, Bcwitt, allisd17 and 4 others like this.
  6. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    759
    Location:
    Ohio
    When I started reloading I never gave lead a second thought, you know: young and dumb.

    Later, when I realized that there was a potential risk, all my (admittedly limited) research kept leading me to spent primers as the ultimate culprit; not the projectiles themselves.

    I've always taken basic precautions like casting in a well ventilated area and washing my hands religiously.

    I do not wear a respirator nor have I ever wore rubber gloves while loading.

    I've also never shot indoors which seems to come up regularly when asking about elevated lead levels in the shooting sports.
     
  7. Akula69

    Akula69 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2020
    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    The Armpit of this Country
    EMC45 is absolutely correct, but please always wear a respirator and gloves. Can't speak for anybody else in here, but my age level has probably caused me to be exposed to more lead from paint then any other source (Even including casting for about 3 years and LE firearms instructor for 12 years). My lead count is below the danger range.
     
    EMC45 likes this.
  8. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,665
    I always wear gloves, never shoot at indoor ranges, and I try to keep good ventilation/air circulation when processing and casting lead.
     
    Y-T71 likes this.
  9. Pottimus

    Pottimus Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Texas
    No, not that I know of.
    No
    No
    And no. I wouldn't put my hands in my face after touching a sewer pipe....
    upload_2022-6-18_8-2-52.jpeg
    Okay "I" probably would.
     
  10. BJung

    BJung Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2021
    Messages:
    708
    Location:
    California
    I use a fan to push the fumes away, If I work in my garage with the garage door partially closed to keep nosey neighbors away, I use a fan and a make-shift funnel. After I cast, I wash my clothes and take a shower.. I use a pan to catch stray lead but if it gets on the garage floor, I pick up what I can, brush some aside and toss the flakes in the garage, and rinse off the garage floor. My mother's house has a big yard and there's room so I cast my ingots at her house when I do yard work there. And so, I cast with clean ingots at home. I also PC my bullets soon after I cast them so the lead isn't exposed. HomemadeFlu.JPG
     
    Walkalong and SingleActionAndrew like this.
  11. dannyd

    dannyd Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    563
    I have casted for 32 years and have been tested once. According to their scale it was a 4 the bottom of the scale.

    If your range as bays or you use a indoor range take some lead wipes and test a couple places you will be surprised..

    The reason I think the new rise lead poisoning is the new shooting bays with high walls; they have no ventilation and people bring their launch.

    I was at the range today and only use 25/50 yard line with a nice breeze; I was watching guys in the bays just the smoke from their guns; it was not going anywhere but around their heads.

    If you are using a 20 to 25 lbs pot outside and using it correctly plus cleaning up correctly. I don't see how anyone work have a problem.
     
    johnjohn and Shooterbob like this.
  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    29,980
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    Has anyone else had issues with elevated lead in their body?
    Have you gotten tested?
    Do you test regularly?
    Why did you get tested in the first place?


    Yes, Yes and No.

    When I was conducting a lot of lead pistol loads shooting at indoor range, I was concerned due to the THR lead poisoning thread with CDC study that showed elevated lead levels from shooting at indoor ranges - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ealth-information.307170/page-10#post-9544358

    At first getting tested was out of curiosity but when the result came back 8 and rose to 12, my doctor was required to contact the Public Health department and put me on monitoring while we identified sources of lead intake and lower level back to normal.

    (FYI, most likely source of lead intake is lead dust inhaled from spent primers shot out of muzzle or hovering around spent brass. So shooting downwind outdoors/in ventilated indoor range and taking proper precaution when collecting/handling spent brass especially after dry tumbling, are crucial and 3M respirators are affordable and cheap insurance to have in your range bag/brass sorting/processing station. ;))​

    It turned out handling and reloading lead alloy bullets (Mostly from MBC) was not the primary cause nor dietary source (Canned non-US seafood products like smoked oysters, sardines, etc.) rather inhaling lead dust/fumes while I collected spent brass from the indoor range floor (Which BTW had nice industrial ventilation system that felt like shooting in a hurricane) with to a lesser degree, sorting and dry tumbling spent brass.

    When I stopped shooting at indoor range and sorted/processed spent brass outdoors wearing 3M respirator but kept all the other lead alloy bullet reloading process the same, my blood lead level returned to normal and hasn't increased since now that I do all of my shooting outdoors at our retirement location (BLM land) and my doctor agrees that I no longer need to be tested for lead levels - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ealth-information.307170/page-12#post-9625420

    I have collected several hundred pounds of lead/alloy for casting bullets and fishing weights for retirement and plan on observing proper ventilation precautions to prevent/minimize lead fume intake and not worried about lead level increase.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
  13. BJung

    BJung Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2021
    Messages:
    708
    Location:
    California
    I shoot at outdoor ranges so I'm okay. As a member of an indoor range, only air rifles are allowed when kids shoot and that's why I'm a member there. She gets free lessons and all the equipment to use. I think the tumbler material is pretty dirty. I tend to pour it in a plastic shopping bag, knot it up, and drop the bag in the garbage. When I handle the stuff, I wash my hands.
     
  14. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    7,498
    Location:
    North Alabama
    I have been as high as 13 μg/dL and due to that information I changed some of the ways I processed brass and reloaded. Since that high point I have managed to get my levels to fall pretty consistently since. My last check-up I was at 3 μg/dL.
     
    Walkalong, 1KPerDay and Bcwitt like this.
  15. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    759
    Location:
    Ohio

    Great post, thanks.

    I appreciate that you added the links to an old thread that I otherwise wouldn't have seen.

    Got some reading to do :thumbup:
     
    Demi-human and bullseye308 like this.
  16. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2020
    Messages:
    1,098
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Yes, Yes and the misses brought up the subject years ago when the kids were small. Been casting for over 35 years. Get tested every few years and it is always negative and normal. Not even elevated. Wash hands and face afterwards. No drinking, eating, smoking while casting and clothes are washed the next day. Cast in garage with cross ventilation. Use all types of lead. Scrap most cases from the club too. And the scrap yard has me sort out Russian steel, aluminum and other weird stuff from brass. I cast super soft round ball and hard pistol bullets too from 2 different furnaces.
     
    Demi-human and mdi like this.
  17. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    29,980
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    Very good point. Small children are more suspectible to even small inhalation of lead intake that would otherwise have no noticable effect on larger adults due to smaller body mass.

    It's listed in the "Reloading Library of Wisdom" - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/reloading-library-of-wisdom.649184/
     
    Otto and Y-T71 like this.
  18. mdi

    mdi Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    5,014
    Location:
    Orygun!
    The last employment with the water and power dept for a large west coast city included annual physicals. Heavy metal testing included. I always tested normal to very slightly elevated (attributed to LA smog). During that 25 years I cast quite a bit (and casting sinkers since I was 15) and regularly shot at an indoor range. I use common sense and after 35 years of casting still test normal, last test being 18 months ago. I use a fan to keep smoke out of my face, I don't stand over the melting pot doing deep breathing exercises, I don't chew on a freshly cast bullet, don't eat or drink during casting, and I wash my hands with Dawn when done. I do not use a respirator/mask, gloves remove any feeling and can be hazardous (easy to drop ladle or mold for me). Long sleeve shirt jeans, closed toe shoes and glasses is the extent of my casting attire. I don't believe the danger with lead poisoning is as common, easily contracted as many seem to think. Some would have you wearing a full hazmat suit with self contained, hepa filtered breathing equipment with leather gauntlets, aprons and head protection. Some will cite some casters that have elevated lead levels, and some may admit to having high levels but I believe there are millions that use plain common sense and are perfectly healthy (concerning lead poisoning) I believe the lead poisoning topic (scare) is waaay overblown and much seems to be parroting of other forum posts...
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
  19. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    9,824
    Location:
    Florida
    .308 Norma, Akula69 and Y-T71 like this.
  20. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2020
    Messages:
    2,365
    The old timers (circa 1700s) would often times shoot deer or other game, dig out the ball provided it was still inside the animal, and chew it round again so it would fit down the bore of their muzzleloaders. There is also documentation of people storing lead balls in their mouths during battles and shooting matches etc. to be spat down the bore after loading the powder.

    As someone on one of the black powder forums wrote, “lead poisoning hadn’t been invented yet.”
     
    Pottimus, Seiyoujin, Bcwitt and 4 others like this.
  21. EricBu

    EricBu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2021
    Messages:
    1,024
    This is a good thread, and it's beyond casting. One thing I haven't seen touched on yet...cleaning brass. Expended primers, and residue inside the cases are a huge source of contamination. When you tumble your media, and then dump your brass in a separator...the dust in that media is contaminated with lead, which you breath in. Don't tumble with the lid off, wear a respirator when you're separating the media, and wash your hands afterwards. Don't smoke or vape either while you're handling dirty brass.
     
  22. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    759
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'm about halfway through the link provided on the older thread on this subject and, so far, lead generated by primers; on spent brass, tumbling media, reloading bench surfaces etc and indoor/badly ventilated shooting areas seems to be the biggest causes by far (exception being exposure through working in an industry significantly involving lead)

    Increasing ventilation and/or avoiding indoor shooting as much as possible and practicing good hygiene (let's face it, this is just common sense) seems to be the key to significantly reducing, or even eliminating any problems with elevated lead.
     
    Demi-human, bullseye308 and LiveLife like this.
  23. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    7,498
    Location:
    North Alabama
    I add a bit of liquid turtle wax to my tumbling media. It traps the lead dust and leave a thin coating on the brass. This coating works nicely with pistol brass as a lubricant for carbide dies and as a general oxidation protection for all brass.
     
    Walkalong, Seiyoujin, Bcwitt and 2 others like this.
  24. dannyd

    dannyd Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    563
    I wash my brass now in a FART deprimed with pins, car wash and wax plus Lemi Shine. Cleaning that way is a little more work but it's easier on me and the equipment. Tumble dry cleaned for about 25 years nothing wrong with that way ether just like clean brass and it's way easier to inspect.
     
    Skgreen and jags like this.
  25. MifflinKid

    MifflinKid Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    260
    Location:
    Maryland (but I'll get back to Pennsylvania some d
    I had high blood levels for a period when I was shooting each week at an indoor range with an air handling system that pulled the air toward the firing line. Yes, that is correct. It pulled the air toward the shooters.

    I stopped shooting there and in a year my blood level was down under 3.5 ug/dl.
     
    Seiyoujin, Slamfire and Skgreen like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice