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Thread: Lead exposure

  1. #1
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Lead exposure

    I'm the messenger here, not the target.

    OK, I mostly reload and shoot plated or poly coated bullets anymore. I used to handle lead/cast bullets when reloading so much my hands and fingers were grayish black.

    I have no idy what my lead levels are. Maybe outta curiosity, I'll get it checked next blood workup I do.

    From reading this forum link and many others I gather generally it is not casting lead bullets if proper precautions are adhered to, but rather indoor ranges and tumbling brass indoors and handling of fired brass. Picking up brass on ranges (especially indoor ranges) where lead dust accumulates on the floors, although Range workers and those who compete seem to be saying shooting a lot and being exposed to lead every work day contributed to their higher levels.

    Seems the primers are the main culprit and the lead residue they leave behind in/on brass and on ranges and the floors/grounds...especially worse at indoor ranges.

    I'm not sure why some folks have lead levels higher than others who seem to have the same habits. Common sense and washing up plays a role, but seems to be no particular rhyme or reason for low vs elevated or high levels for some of these posters.

    I own a Lyman tumbler with a slotted lid, I don't use that one. I use a solid lid one. I tumble in the garage with door open, but have sliding screens. There is "Dust" when I dump the brass and spin it in the colander basket. Then again there is also" Dust" when I scoop out the kitty liter from my cats liter boxes.

    I read a lot of theories and some actual reductions in lead tests by those who either stopped going to indoor ranges or altered their methods of tumbling/handling brass and hygiene habits.

    Some say breathing "Gun-smoke" on any range is enough with or without exposed lead bullets, especially where it is concentrated indoors is the culprit, some say even outdoors shooting in matches and what not. Especially bad for range workers.

    I don't have any conclusive evidence to point to one way or the other. It does seem tumbling brass and touching and breathing the brass and dust is believed to be a big factor in their conclusions.

    And primers are a big concern of lead contamination. Now whether breathing in gun smoke which may contain particles from exposed lead bullets and fired primers or handling fired brass to reload is worse, I dunno. Hard to say from what I've read. Seems high concentrations on ranges expose folks the most and indoor ranges are the worst, no matter how high speed their ventilation system is.

    Anyhow, read here for some comments and links from the S&W forum.

    So just curious what y'all s opinions are.

    Knitepoet says his lead levels are good and he cast lead bullets. I know some fishermen had high lead levels from making/handling lead sinkers. Any amount of lead ingested into our bodies is not good fer us........especially the hot lead type....... like from being shot................

    http://smith-wessonforum.com/reloadi...ad-levels.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    BTW: That is but one link on the subject. There are many many threads on about every gun related forum out there.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  3. #3
    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Probly collects in the dirt at outdoor ranges too.
    Keep the little kids from digging/playing in the dirt between strings.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Yesterday, I was watching a YouTube video about how to cast one's own bullets. While I won't criticize anyone who does it, there is no way I would want to deal with that much lead.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    I'm the target here, not the messenger.
    FIFY

    I'd like to hear some good "science" on this also, not hearsay or pseudo-science. I do think the world-wide anti Pb hysteria is WAAAY overblown by several orders of magnitude. OTOH there is a hazard level that is real - not the over hyped crap one hears - and I'd like to know more about it.
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    Re: Lead exposure

    I have extremely sensitive lungs and am prone to bronchitis and pneumonia. I had double pneumonia about 8 years ago which almost killed me and had single lung pneumonia last august that put me in the hospital for a stay. I can easily tell when there is even the slightest air pollutant. Any indoor range I go to, no matter how new or how well ventilated messes with my lungs and breathing. I can tell that I'm breathing in particulates of some nature or another. Most people likely don't even notice but I'm guessing that the majority of it is lead embedded particles. I'd gather that lead is way easier absorbed through the lungs than the skin.

  7. #7
    Senior Member alphasigmookie's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Lead exposure is definitely not good, but it appears based on the existing science that it is much more of an issue for children than it is for adults. In children exposure to lead can lead to developmental issues and reduced IQ. In adults the evidence tends towards things like increased risk of disease and cancer.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Think you pretty much have to eat/ingest it or breathe it in, not sure if much can be absorbed by the skin unless you took a bath in molten lead and you would have other issues before lead poisoning would matter.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  9. #9

    Re: Lead exposure

    I have seen one patient that was sanding/stripping lead paint in his basement. His levels were so high he was in convulsions.
    The fire service needs a "culture of extinguishment not safety" Ray McCormack FDNY

  10. #10
    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Well, Big Chief, I can give you an isolated example of chronic lead exposure over time. ME! EVERY year at the nuke plant the annual physical included blood sampling and a relaxing 10 minute break inside a whole body counter that also gave readings on metals inside the body. I don't know how it worked, and didn't care.

    I shot a lot more then than now, and molded MANY thousands of lead bullets and lead fishing jigs and sinkers, and still do. And in the early times, wasn't careful about ventilation. The whole body counter thingy showed that I was not experiencing a high lead content in my body, and I was in the 'normal' average for someone my age. But my welding was causing some high levels of metals like chromium and other vaporized weld metal. I changed my welding habits and cured that over a few years, and levels went down.

    IF you're worried about lead ingestion through breathing at ranges, especially the indoor ones, then a simple dust mask will take care of you. Same cheap paper mask used for sanding, painting, and the like. I worked extensively mixing boric acid solutions including sodium tetraborate, and wore a dust mask doing that. Breathing in the dust is extremely detrimental to one's health, as in not all that much will kill you graveyard dead. Also had to wear disposable gloves that went above the elbow to prevent any of that stuff from mixing with sweat and entering through the skin. And goggles; I hated the goggles because they filled with sweat. Mixing that stuff is hot work.

    And for what it's worth, houses that are supplied by the old copper pipe with lead solder, and inside copper pipe with the lead solder are the really bad exposure medium now. Any low pH water, or high chlorine level potable water, will dissolve the exposed lead for your drinking and cooking pleasure. And at a lot higher levels than recreational shooting would provide.
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

  11. #11
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    I shoot at outdoor ranges and not too worried about it from that aspect , but find it interesting what those guys who had elevated levels said about how they got them and reduced it.

    The brass cleaning/tumbling aspect is interesting.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  12. #12
    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    I shoot at outdoor ranges and not too worried about it from that aspect , but find it interesting what those guys who had elevated levels said about how they got them and reduced it.

    The brass cleaning/tumbling aspect is interesting.
    Tumbling/cleaning is only a problem with the dust during separation, and that should be done outside, anyway. And just like after going to the bathroom, wash your hands! After separating brass from media I use an old bath towel to clean off any dust on the outside of the brass. Just dump the brass in the middle, grab the corners of the towel in either hand, and give them a good rolling around. Gets any residual dust off them without having to handle them to do it.
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    When I first went to instructor school years ago, they recommended that we get our lead levels checked annually. The thinking being that we would be on the range and breathing a lot of lead residue and handling lead contaminated stuff. With that, I asked two different doctors at two different times while having blood work done to please check my lead level. They didn't think it was needed. I explained why I was asking for it. They still didn't think it was needed and said it's more of an issue for children. Not so much for adults. If I die of lead related causes, please sue my doctors and buy a lot of guns for me.

    Elevated lead levels would be more due to getting it on your hands and shoving them in your mouth. I make sure my people know to wash their hands frequently and not be sticking stuff in their mouth while we're training. And pregnant women are not allowed to play. Pretty much, don't cast lead in an enclosed room and don't shove it in your mouth and you should be fine.

  14. #14
    Senior Member NN's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Back in the day, people thought if you were thirsty, just suck on a lead bullet and that would help Ya.

    You suppose that is my-----------
    Go Cowboys go

  15. #15
    Senior Member NN's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    It has to be lead dust, vapors, and lead combined with other elements, not just pure lead pieces.

    Most of us that have hunted for some time have used lead shot or lead core bullets and even though we are careful;
    we have gotten a piece of lead in our food at the dinner table. This issue does not seem to cause a problem as long
    as we do not eat off pewter plates and have our wine from pewter goblets.
    Go Cowboys go

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    Re: Lead exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    I'm the messenger here, not the target.

    OK, I mostly reload and shoot plated or poly coated bullets anymore. I used to handle lead/cast bullets when reloading so much my hands and fingers were grayish black.

    I have no idy what my lead levels are. Maybe outta curiosity, I'll get it checked next blood workup I do.

    From reading this forum link and many others I gather generally it is not casting lead bullets if proper precautions are adhered to, but rather indoor ranges and tumbling brass indoors and handling of fired brass. Picking up brass on ranges (especially indoor ranges) where lead dust accumulates on the floors, although Range workers and those who compete seem to be saying shooting a lot and being exposed to lead every work day contributed to their higher levels.

    Seems the primers are the main culprit and the lead residue they leave behind in/on brass and on ranges and the floors/grounds...especially worse at indoor ranges.

    I'm not sure why some folks have lead levels higher than others who seem to have the same habits. Common sense and washing up plays a role, but seems to be no particular rhyme or reason for low vs elevated or high levels for some of these posters.

    I own a Lyman tumbler with a slotted lid, I don't use that one. I use a solid lid one. I tumble in the garage with door open, but have sliding screens. There is "Dust" when I dump the brass and spin it in the colander basket. Then again there is also" Dust" when I scoop out the kitty liter from my cats liter boxes.

    I read a lot of theories and some actual reductions in lead tests by those who either stopped going to indoor ranges or altered their methods of tumbling/handling brass and hygiene habits.

    Some say breathing "Gun-smoke" on any range is enough with or without exposed lead bullets, especially where it is concentrated indoors is the culprit, some say even outdoors shooting in matches and what not. Especially bad for range workers.

    I don't have any conclusive evidence to point to one way or the other. It does seem tumbling brass and touching and breathing the brass and dust is believed to be a big factor in their conclusions.

    And primers are a big concern of lead contamination. Now whether breathing in gun smoke which may contain particles from exposed lead bullets and fired primers or handling fired brass to reload is worse, I dunno. Hard to say from what I've read. Seems high concentrations on ranges expose folks the most and indoor ranges are the worst, no matter how high speed their ventilation system is.

    Anyhow, read here for some comments and links from the S&W forum.

    So just curious what y'all s opinions are.

    Knitepoet says his lead levels are good and he cast lead bullets. I know some fishermen had high lead levels from making/handling lead sinkers. Any amount of lead ingested into our bodies is not good fer us........especially the hot lead type....... like from being shot................

    http://smith-wessonforum.com/reloadi...ad-levels.html
    big chief Ill pull the testing items up for your md to do on y.
    it is more then just blood lead levels.
    It is something at when we are conducting our hobbies we need to do it with caution.
    but lead can be mitigated easily from the body.
    It is smart to use nitrile or latex gloves under leather work gloves when hand casting, and to minimize any dust crated when drossing.
    if you wash your hands after shooting and picking up brass that helps.
    if you think about tobacco use when doing any activity with lead don't.
    you must first wash face and hands then smoke all you want or do all you want.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Hey, my mustache is a lead magnet........and I thought it was just fer licking and re-tasting the soup I had hours earlier

    I know this isn't a topic shooters wanna read about and discuss much, no more than smokers and dippers, heavy alcohol drinkers wanna hear about their habits being detrimental to their health. When I smoked cigarettes I smoked while shootin where it was allowed and enjoyed the hell outta it. Now I Vape, but must be behind the "Line" which is a few feet from the firing points to Vape or smoke.

    I wash may hands at the range before leaving, always after reloading and handling fired brass, especially after sorting it from the media tumbler and try to avoid the dust when separating the media from the brass while rotating the basket.

    Do I plan to wear a mask at the outdoor range I go to, nope or change clothes there and put my "Contaminated" clothes in a sealed plastic bag before leaving, nope. Will I stop picking up my fired brass to reload, nope.

    Will I think about/re-look at an Ultrasonic cleaner again..............maybe. Have I modified my ways a little over the years of how I handle gun cleaning solvents, fired brass cleaning and reloading lead bullets..............yep a little.

    So maybe some will modify their habits. So just use common sense when it comes to lead exposure at ranges and home. Isn't for me to tell you, but it is something to think about and take into consideration of how it may apply to you.


    Here is another worthwhile article you may wanna read.

    http://www.chuckkleinauthor.com/Page...-officers.html
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    And in California EVERYTHING causes cancer in lab rats and Loons.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  19. #19
    Senior Member zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    And in California EVERYTHING causes cancer in lab rats and Loons.
    Yea, ya figured that out, huh?

    That stupid Prop 65 nonsense...
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"
    "Religion can't be allowed the coercive power of government,
    government can't be allowed the 'moral' justification of religion."

  20. #20
    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    And in California EVERYTHING causes cancer in lab rats and Loons.
    Birth is the leading cause of death, or so I hear.

    Instead of doing the ultrasonic cleaning, you could do the ceramic or metal tumbling media in water bath. Might have to seal the bottom of your vibratory tumbler in case it leaks; electric motors and water don't play well with one another. It doesn't have the dust problem, but introduces wet brass with the nasties in water solution on the cleaned cases. But a big plastic colander and a hosing off outside would take care of that.
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

  21. #21
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Yep, then I could dump it in my back yard so it would seep into my Well water............6 of one and 1/2 dozen of the other or flush it into my septic tank (front yard) so it could get in the ground water eventually

    Probably better off just to keep on doing what I have been for decades with some common sense precautions.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    This is a good enclosed media separator by Lyman, but rather flimsy from reviews I read

    Or maybe this one is "New and Improved"????

    http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/757...FVgvgQod_4IHiQ
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!

  23. #23
    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: Lead exposure

    If it were me, I'd spend the extra $11 on this one. Better drum and container.

    http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/271...edia-separator
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

  24. #24
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    Re: Lead exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    I'm the messenger here, not the target.

    OK, I mostly reload and shoot plated or poly coated bullets anymore. I used to handle lead/cast bullets when reloading so much my hands and fingers were grayish black.

    I have no idy what my lead levels are. Maybe outta curiosity, I'll get it checked next blood workup I do.

    From reading this forum link and many others I gather generally it is not casting lead bullets if proper precautions are adhered to, but rather indoor ranges and tumbling brass indoors and handling of fired brass. Picking up brass on ranges (especially indoor ranges) where lead dust accumulates on the floors, although Range workers and those who compete seem to be saying shooting a lot and being exposed to lead every work day contributed to their higher levels.

    Seems the primers are the main culprit and the lead residue they leave behind in/on brass and on ranges and the floors/grounds...especially worse at indoor ranges.

    I'm not sure why some folks have lead levels higher than others who seem to have the same habits. Common sense and washing up plays a role, but seems to be no particular rhyme or reason for low vs elevated or high levels for some of these posters.

    I own a Lyman tumbler with a slotted lid, I don't use that one. I use a solid lid one. I tumble in the garage with door open, but have sliding screens. There is "Dust" when I dump the brass and spin it in the colander basket. Then again there is also" Dust" when I scoop out the kitty liter from my cats liter boxes.

    I read a lot of theories and some actual reductions in lead tests by those who either stopped going to indoor ranges or altered their methods of tumbling/handling brass and hygiene habits.

    Some say breathing "Gun-smoke" on any range is enough with or without exposed lead bullets, especially where it is concentrated indoors is the culprit, some say even outdoors shooting in matches and what not. Especially bad for range workers.

    I don't have any conclusive evidence to point to one way or the other. It does seem tumbling brass and touching and breathing the brass and dust is believed to be a big factor in their conclusions.

    And primers are a big concern of lead contamination. Now whether breathing in gun smoke which may contain particles from exposed lead bullets and fired primers or handling fired brass to reload is worse, I dunno. Hard to say from what I've read. Seems high concentrations on ranges expose folks the most and indoor ranges are the worst, no matter how high speed their ventilation system is.

    Anyhow, read here for some comments and links from the S&W forum.

    So just curious what y'all s opinions are.

    Knitepoet says his lead levels are good and he cast lead bullets. I know some fishermen had high lead levels from making/handling lead sinkers. Any amount of lead ingested into our bodies is not good fer us........especially the hot lead type....... like from being shot................

    http://smith-wessonforum.com/reloadi...ad-levels.html
    Ok the following is a quote( from miosha but it is the same for fed osha) This is the medical you want to deal with. If you are looking bare bones on the blood work follow paragraph (d) this is what is reviewed.
    Please not that blood lead levels are random in the day and week. the Zinc protoporphyrin will show a bell curve of the exposure over time. this will also lag behind the Lead.
    but shows better of how your body is reacting to the lead and processing it out.
    Also note, lead is a fat soluble compound. meaning it will stay in the fat cells.
    so if your heavy and go on a diet , you could spike the blood lead levels again.
    In note , outdoor shooting better than indoor,. Picking up brass is ok, just wash up after, and after a shoot wash your hands and face.
    This will help reduce the potential of exposure.
    Solid lead will pass through, vapor (fume) lead tends to mess ya up quicker.
    And yse I do follow my own comments here.
    PLease note that many countries in the world are still using leaded gasoline.
    Also many older fixed wing planes run on leaded fuels so we are still being exposed to lead in the atmosphere .





    R 325.51938. Content. Rule 38. (1) A medical examination made available pursuant to R 325.51937(a) and (b) shall include all of the following elements: (a) A detailed work history and a medical history, with particular attention to past occupational and nonoccupational lead exposure in all of the following: (i) Personal habits (smoking, hygiene). (ii) Past gastrointestinal. (iii) Personal hematological. (iv) Renal. (v) Cardiovascular. (vi) Reproductive. (vii) Neurological problems. (b) A thorough physical examination, with particular attention to all of the following: (i) Teeth. (ii) Gums. (iii) Hematological status. (iv) Gastrointestinal status. (v) Renal status. (vi) Cardiovascular status. (vii) Neurological status. Pulmonary status shall be evaluated if respiratory protection is to be used. (c) A blood pressure measurement.
    (d) A blood sample and an analysis which determines all of the following: (i) Blood lead level. (ii) Hemoglobin and hematocrit determinations, red cell indices, and examination of peripheral and smear morphology. (iii) Blood urea nitrogen. (iv) Serum creatinine. (v) Zinc protoporphyrin. (e) A routine urinalysis with microscopic examination. (f) A laboratory or other test which an examining physician deems necessary by sound medical practice. (2) The contents of a medical examination made available pursuant to R 325.51937(c) and (d) shall be determined by an examining physician and, if requested by an employee, shall include pregnancy testing or laboratory evaluation of male fertility, as the case may be.

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