Vacuum cleaner for lead and other metal particles

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TTv2, Sep 10, 2022.

  1. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Kind of an odd question, but I moved to a new apartment recently and have decided that the spare bedroom is going to be the reloading area. Problem is it has wall to wall carpeting and I generally don't like reloading on that because of all the heavy metal particles.

    So, for when I go to vacuum that floor are there any vacuum cleaners that are made to filter out lead, mercury, and all the other crap we have to deal with when it comes to reloading?
     
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes. They are VERY expensive. Typically five grand. Of course that is because you need filters that prevent you from exhausting Pb and Hg into the air.

    Better to avoid that problem in the first place and cover the carpet to protect it use a disposable wet "mop".

    What would be the sources of Pb and Hg that would get in the carpet?
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  3. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Get a plastic office chair mat for under your reloading area.
     
  4. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I use a shop vac.
     
  5. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    I layed some paneling underneath.
     
  6. bigger hammer

    bigger hammer Member

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    I thought that this would be a good solution to the problem when I was my department's Rangemaster. I was quickly dissuaded from the thought by doing some research. Even if you're using HEPA filters, a great deal of harmful stuff can get past the filter and become suspended in the air.
     
  7. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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  8. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Unless you're reloading for your particle accelerator, how are you making to heavy metal particles?

    You mean the occasional shaved bullet? That's not a particle, and it's 3 orders to large to be inhaled.

    Just vacuum, but no primers, and no big piles of powder.
     
  9. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Biggest concern is spent primers having been dropped on the floor
     
  10. chamokaneman

    chamokaneman Member

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    To me, these are the best suggestions and I may add something over the carpet in my room at some point just so nothing has to get kicked up when I vacuum.

    I don't worry too much about myself because I don't spend any time near the floor and the room is tucked away in the basement with no HVAC in there to carry it around the house. My grandkids, on the other hand, have been know to hang out with me and I don't like the idea of them touching any dusts from spent primers, etc. that may have worked their way down there so I try to make sure most of those kinds of things are captured before they get far from the press and just vacuum from time to time to keep the room tidy.

    The bottle for the Lee APP I got this past year does a fine job of capturing that type of de-priming debris I must say.

    Overall, I'd say that simple housekeeping and handwashing/not eating while reloading, etc are the most important things.
     
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  11. Kaldor

    Kaldor Member

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    Unless you are dropping them by the 1000s, I wouldnt sweat it. Just vacuum the floor, a spent primer isnt gonna kill your vac or blow up. No big piles of powder though.
     
  12. Pottimus

    Pottimus Member

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    I am curious if a home lead tester kit has ever reviled any contamination in anyone's reloading area. I have never thought of it as a problem.
     
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're concerned about spent primer landing on the floor you should be able to relax about Hg since modern primers shouldn't contain mercury fulminate.
    Are you concerned about the oxidized lead styphnate?
     
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  14. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes.

    When my blood lead level increased to 8, then to 12 triggering my doctor to notify the Public Health department for monitoring (10 is the threshold point), I tested my reloading room and it was positive for lead. Wife and children had normal lead levels - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/lead-poisoning-valuable-health-information.307170/page-12#post-9625420

    Working with my doctor, we arrived at most of my lead intake turned out to be lead dust inhaled at indoor range while bent down towards the floor to pick up spent brass and while sorting/processing spent brass at home.

    To reduce/eliminate lead intake, I stopped shooting at indoor range and sorted/processed/dry tumbled spent brass outdoors wearing 3M respirator - https://www.amazon.com/3M-Facepiece-Respirator-6291-Particulate/dp/B000FTEDMM/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=3m+respirator&qid=1662892380&sr=8-11

    After shooting outdoors, hands/arms were washed and shirt was removed before entering the house.

    Indoors, depriming of spent primers was done using tube collection into a plastic water bottle as I reloaded inside the house.

    After several months, my blood lead level returned to normal without making any dietary change but I did reduce/eliminate canned oyster/clam products along with shrimp.

    I now do all of my shooting outdoors at BLM areas and continue to reload indoors while sorting/processing spent brass outdoors without wearing 3M respirator and no increase in blood lead level. And I am back to eating shrimp/oysters/clams.
     
  15. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Happy things are back to normal (or close anyway). But CANNED seafood?? NEVER!

    Edit: I should also ask about those indoor ranges…were they modern? With sophisticated HVAC? I only shoot at indoor ranges (no other choice) and they profess to be safe. One is NRA HQ
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  16. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Them's fighting words!!! Gotta have me some anchovies now and then.;) The rest I could care less though.
     
  17. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Darn it, you’re right, I forgot about anchovies.
     
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  18. film495

    film495 Member

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    I'm no expert, but I think most exposure is dumping a dry tumbler and taking a whiff of the dust that it makes, and/or from failure to wash hands well after shooting or reloading. There are various temporary floors that can just get laid out to make a working surface if you're worried about it. To me I'd think the most annoying part of carpet would be dropping something and having to fish it out of the carpet. I would not vaccuum the carpet, possibly some kind of wet carpet cleaner to prevent dust.
     
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  19. SingleActionAndrew

    SingleActionAndrew Member

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    Sardines in hot sauce. What are you thinking this morning CQB? Putting down canned seafood, I tell ya. ...
     
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  20. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Dang it! You’re right too! I love sardines in mustard sauce on fresh rye bread. What am I thinking today?
     
  21. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    Safest vacuum for strange or maybe-flammable stuff is shop-air driven systems.

    Plenty of knockoffs that people seem to like on Amazon, Ebay, but the basic pro models are Guardair to get familiar with it:

    Pretty inexpensive, small volume, handheld:
    https://guardair.com/products/gun-vac?variant=11617640382508
    They make ones that dump into a 5 gal bucket also.

    Expensive to hilariously expensive mounted items. This is the baseline 55 gal one:
    https://guardair.com/products/55-gallon-drum-vacuum-kits?variant=11617636679724
    And they go up from there.
     
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  22. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes, brand new ranges with chopped up tire rubber backstop to reduce lead bullet/dust scatter, hurricane like high velocity air ventilation system, California/EPA/OSHA approved air circulation/filtration system fully passed inspections, offset floor rubber mats to "trap" lead dust, floor/mats cleaned/wet mopped/washed daily.

    During this time, I was doing A LOT of lubed lead bullet load testing and continued to handle lead bullets but as my doctor confirmed, lead absorption doesn't happen by handling hard lead alloy bullets and most of my lead intake/absorption (key is cumulative intake/absorption) likely happened from inhaling lead dust off indoor range floor and handling/processing/dry tumbling spent cases (Main source of lead dust in shooting now days is from priming compound as spent cases drop to the floor and scatter residual lead dust from inside the case and inhaling lead dust).

    And according to this 4/25/14 CDC report on indoor ranges and elevated blood lead levels, there likely is a link - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/lead-poisoning-valuable-health-information.307170/page-10#post-9544358

    "... this report document serious lead exposure from indoor firing ranges ... BLLs (Blood Lead Level) should be kept below 10 µg/dL for all adults, and below 5 µg/dL for children and pregnant women.

    The findings in this report also suggest that firing range customers and family members of firing range employees, in addition to employees themselves, can be exposed to hazardous amounts of lead. There are an estimated 19 million active target shooters in the United States.

    ... The number of persons with elevated BLLs from firearms use during 2011–2012 highlights the need to increase prevention activities. Airborne and surface lead levels in firing ranges can be greatly reduced by using lead-free bullets, improving ventilation systems, using wet mopping or HEPA vacuuming instead of dry sweeping, and having a written protocol for range maintenance."

    Keep in mind the effects of "cumulative" build up of lead dust. ;)

    So instead of worrying about vacuuming lead dust ("heavy metal particles") from the carpet, it's better to prevent presence/build up of lead dust in the first place due to your "confined space" reloading set up:
    • Wash hands/arms after shooting
    • Remove shirt after shooting (Bring an extra shirt to the range to change after range session)
    • Clean bottom of shoes well or remove to prevent tracking in lead dust into the apartment (Likely picked up the most amount lead dust from range floor)
    • Shower to remove lead dust from hair/rest of body (I guess you can wear cap/hat during range session to reduce lead dust collection in hair)
    • Handle/sort/process spent brass while wearing gloves (Nitrile) and wearing 3M respirator outdoors (And wash hands afterwards)
    • Dry tumble spent brass outdoors (I would consider wet tumbling if dry tumbling outdoors is not an option)
    • Use closed system to contain lead dust (Likes of Lee Classic Turret, post 2018 Pro 1000, Pro 4000/6000, etc.) when depriming spent primers
    • If must shoot indoors, avoid breathing in lead dust while picking up spent brass (Hold breath as you approach range floor or use 3M respirator)
    • If concerned, use a lead tester kit to identify presence/source/build up of lead dust and have blood lead level tested
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  23. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Do you have all these concerns when you are shooting at the range??
     
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  24. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Might be most informative post you’ve made and you’ve made many. Thanks
     
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  25. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    You are very welcome.
     
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