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  #51  
Old 01-29-2012, 03:24 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Note: I did a very quick search, not in depth unfortunately, and found no hair-raising issue among tire busters at the tire shops across America. They probably handle more elemental lead annually than you and I will handle in a decade.

[I found lots of sites warning about how wheel weights thrown from an automobile will be ground into dust under the tires of millions of vehicles on the roadway. Then that dust lands on buildings and plants in urban areas, then finds its way into our bodies. That appears to be the reason they are changing lead to zinc or tin for wheel weights. Unfortunately the research is incredibly thin. Only one study is generally cited, and the researcher simply assumes the lead is ground to dust with no empirical findings. For instance, if the lead from millions of wheel weights are ground into dust, where are the millions of steel clips that should be left on our roadways?]

So if tire busters aren't in so much danger, why would we believe bullet handling is such a danger to us? It would be great to find a clear and unbiased study.
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  #52  
Old 01-29-2012, 03:55 PM
RustyFN RustyFN is offline
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Many indoor ranges have been closed by OSHA due to improper air flow/ventilation and improper filters to remove the airborne lead from indoor ranges.
We have a nice little indoor range at our club. They have been doing some remodeling but haven't upgraded the ventilation system yet. I haven't shot there in a few years because of that. I always go the the outdoor range to shoot. I also don't drink or eat while reloading. I also started wearing Nitrile gloves while reloading, they are very cheap insurance. I have the lead levels tested every year when they do my blood test. It has always been good and I want to keep it that way.
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  #53  
Old 01-29-2012, 04:12 PM
Toxdoc Toxdoc is offline
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Originally Posted by Nick A View Post
ToxDoc - Retained bullets aren't as common among us reloaders as simply handling copper and lead during reloading. Are metals absorbed rapidly through the skin, or is normal handling and washing thoroughly afterward reasonable precautions that will protect the typical reloader in his activities.
I would hope most reloaders don't have retained bullets. It would be a remarkable technique that led to that. I was replying to an earlier statement about not removing retained bullets. I would argue that in children and younger women, they should be routinely removed. All others should have monitoring that doesn't currently happen.

Standard lead compounds should wash off the hands. There is minimal absorption without solvents.

The major source of exposure from shooting is going to be inhalation, assuming people wash their hands well. I've thought about wearing a mask when on the range, but never have.

For reloading, I wear gloves when handling primers and brass. I'd like to wear an N95 mask, but I ran out (and now have a beard so the masks no longer fit properly). One should also take the same precautions when separating media. My other concern is casting. I don't personally cast but I'd be concerned about vaporized lead when burning off impurities and fluxing. Molten lead does release vapors, but in a well ventilated area, at standard casting temperatures, that is probably that much of a concern.
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  #54  
Old 01-29-2012, 04:23 PM
Toxdoc Toxdoc is offline
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Originally Posted by Nick A View Post
... will be ground into dust under the tires of millions of vehicles on the roadway. Then that dust lands on buildings and plants in urban areas, then finds its way into our bodies. That appears to be the reason they are changing lead to zinc or tin for wheel weights.
I would suspect it is a combination of cost and environmental regulations about lead handling. The regulations are getting a touch insane. Technically, a business may be in violation of CPSIA for selling a child's bicycle if the valve stem has a standard alloy of brass. Manufacturers have been forced to make changes like that, which ignores the largest source of childhood lead poisoning: lead paint in older homes
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  #55  
Old 01-30-2012, 02:32 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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People with retained bullets do have significant lead levels.
Source?

Better tell the trauma surgeons.
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  #56  
Old 01-30-2012, 03:02 PM
bjeffv bjeffv is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick A View Post
Note: I did a very quick search, not in depth unfortunately, and found no hair-raising issue among tire busters at the tire shops across America. They probably handle more elemental lead annually than you and I will handle in a decade.

[I found lots of sites warning about how wheel weights thrown from an automobile will be ground into dust under the tires of millions of vehicles on the roadway. Then that dust lands on buildings and plants in urban areas, then finds its way into our bodies. That appears to be the reason they are changing lead to zinc or tin for wheel weights. Unfortunately the research is incredibly thin. Only one study is generally cited, and the researcher simply assumes the lead is ground to dust with no empirical findings. For instance, if the lead from millions of wheel weights are ground into dust, where are the millions of steel clips that should be left on our roadways?]

So if tire busters aren't in so much danger, why would we believe bullet handling is such a danger to us? It would be great to find a clear and unbiased study.
Actually the use of lead weights to balance tires is being phased out here in the USA. Hence the zinc and iron ones being used.
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  #57  
Old 01-30-2012, 06:06 PM
Toxdoc Toxdoc is offline
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Originally Posted by brickeyee View Post
Source?
Here is a quick and dirty: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15033646

That is one of the better studies as it give a view over time. The numbers aren't high by occupational standards, but then again, I think I addressed that already.

Quote:
Better tell the trauma surgeons.
I do.

I've had at least 3 patients that I treated for severe lead poisoning have the bullets/pellets removed. Especially in women who may become pregnant, there is little question that retained bullets can present a potential threat to the developing fetus.

It may surprise you, but trauma surgeons aren't particularly well versed in this subject.
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  #58  
Old 01-31-2012, 07:48 AM
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RetiredRod RetiredRod is offline
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This is a very informative thread with lots of factual information and informed opinions. Let's make it a sticky.
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  #59  
Old 02-01-2012, 02:24 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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The results actually indicate a short term rise in blood lead and a long term decline as the surface of any lead fragments is slowly passivated in vivo.

Hardly surprising, and it does not indicate a long term issue (though with a small sample size) since the long term blood level level is seen to decline with time.

This would indicate the likely formation of stable lead compounds on the surface of lead fragments limitings their ability to be dissolved and absorbed.

That a similar behavior is seen in ingestion of lead is also not surprising, not that the presence of multiple fragments resulting in a higher surface are also results in higher increases.

Once lead exits the body in feces, or reacts to form stable compounds that serve to isolate the fragments, the level blood lead level falls.

This would indicate that except in possibly exceptional cases (presence near or in joints with exposure to synovial fluid (and its known ability to dissolve lead) their is really not much news here.

Last edited by brickeyee; 02-01-2012 at 03:01 PM.
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  #60  
Old 02-03-2012, 02:28 PM
bjeffv bjeffv is offline
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Originally Posted by brickeyee View Post
The results actually indicate a short term rise in blood lead and a long term decline as the surface of any lead fragments is slowly passivated in vivo.

Once lead exits the body in feces, or reacts to form stable compounds that serve to isolate the fragments, the level blood lead level falls.

This would indicate that except in possibly exceptional cases (presence near or in joints with exposure to synovial fluid (and its known ability to dissolve lead) their is really not much news here.
It takes 20-25 years for lead absorbed to leave the body. It is absorbed from the blood into the organs. Specific metal binding proteins are expressed to sequester and neutralize the ions, but guess what: the metal remains in your body. So lead causes the expression of metallothioneins to help sequester and protect you. see the next three articles.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15734587
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19071644
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...9/?tool=pubmed

now we have Pb2+ being bound by metallothioneins, it protects to a certain extent, but guess what? chronic exposure and metallothionein expression causes toxic insult and eventually renal cell carcinoma.

Here is a link to a paper demonstrating that using the heavy metal Cd2+ (Pb2+ works in the same way, but Cd2+ is what the grant was for.)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8171441

The connection I am trying to make is that just because your blood level goes down, does not mean that the lead is out of your body, it has been sequestered somewhere else by specific proteins. Enough chronic exposure eventually will cause cancer. Again half-life in body is 20-25 years.

yes if you eat a lead BB it will excrete out and not be fully absorbed, but high blood levels followed by low blood levels a year later just means that the metal has been bound by proteins located in other organs.

Here are some other interesting links. Hopefully the study of the metallothioneins leads to an increased understanding of the carcinogenesis of heavy metal exposure.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8184419

Last edited by bjeffv; 02-03-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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  #61  
Old 02-16-2012, 11:07 PM
mr_savvy mr_savvy is offline
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Best to limit all lead exposure

I've been shooting Bullseye for 25 years, much of the time indoors. 25 years ago most of us weren't too concerned about lead exposure, and a lot of ranges weren't well ventilated, but as more and more shooters were finding that they had high lead levels, many of us became more concerned. Now most ranges are much better ventilated and many of the guys I shoot with are wearing respirator masks. My lead is tested twice a year and I started paying attention to lead exposure when my count reached 18. The mask and basic cleanliness precautions brought it down to under 10. Many of the guys I shoot with are still a lot higher. I agree that lead from primers in the air indoors is a major factor but I also take precautions when reloading (keep my hands away from my face and wash well afterward). Many of us have also become concerned with the dust generated by sweeping up brass on indoor range floors. Basically no one is in the range without a respirator when sweeping and efforts are made to keep the dust down. A recent suggestion is to use an oil-based sweeping compound to keep the dust down. We used to use an indoor vac system, but the possibility of fire or explosion from unburned powder on the range floor put an end to that. (Yes, we ignited a pile of sweepings on the floor.) I strongly suggest that anyone who shoots indoors wear a respirator and wash up carefully after shooting and have your lead levels checked regularly.
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  #62  
Old 03-02-2012, 12:17 AM
Keith_J Keith_J is offline
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Citric acid will solvate lead from fired cases, preventing much of the dust issue with case preparation. Lemishine, a product sold for automatic dishwashers is mostly citric acid and does a great job in dissolving brass tarnish.

Use 1/2 to 1 ounce per gallon with a small bit of detergent (Dawn liquid) for an hour soak or more. Reuse until it no longer pulls the tarnish off. Rinse cases well and let dry before tumbling in your favorite media.

The media will last longer and tumbler/vibratory cleaning time will be less.

Of course the spent cleaning solution will be high in lead, copper zinc and dirt and eventually, it will have to be disposed. Let it dry out in a bucket. Dust here is minimal as it clumps by action of the detergent.
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  #63  
Old 03-03-2012, 07:24 AM
macboys macboys is offline
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Lead Exposure

I shoot over 10,000 rounds a year and much of it is indoors. I only shoot jacketed or plated bullets indoors. If you are concerned about the lead exposure, ask your doctor to test your blood. Mine has been fine and I am 56 years old.
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  #64  
Old 03-06-2012, 01:50 PM
flgolfer29 flgolfer29 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRod View Post
This is a very informative thread with lots of factual information and informed opinions. Let's make it a sticky.
I agree with this statement ^^^, because of this thread I had my Lead exposure level checked. While the Lead exposure tested out at a fairly low count, 15, it did result in a follow-up phone call from my doctor and the local county Health Department asking many questions about my work environment, hobbies, etc..

Due to conviences, most of my shooting (98%+/-) has been at an indoor range. That will change as I will have to find a place outdoors resulting in much further travel. Also, cleaning brass has always been outdoors but I would seperate it from the cleaning media inside my shed. That will change also. I started wearing gloves as others have mentioned as well.

joe
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  #65  
Old 03-06-2012, 02:30 PM
Overkill0084 Overkill0084 is offline
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I never thought that my shooting and reloading would ever be a big deal where lead was concerned. I don't really shoot that much, when compared to some. I made an effort to use good hygiene practices when reloading. I actually did give the issue some thought & thought that basic prevention would be good. So anyway, my test came back with 61 micrograms per Deciliter (IIRC, this is the correct unit of measure, though I make no guarantee). I'm told that above 40, it's serious. The one doctor I talked to wanted to start chelation immediately. He was somewhat surprised that I had none of the typical symptoms of lead poisoning. After we spoke, he backed off some when I explained that I've been away from shooting & reloading. I gave more blood yesterday and am currently wondering if it will show improvement. I have shot once in the last month, before the results came back. I haven't even touched any reloading equipment in about a month.

Suspected issues:
Range ventilation. My range's ventilation system is not really bad. However, those who reach up and close the vents because they are cold, probably need to be somewhere else. When left alone, it is probably considered a decent setup. I have a respirator that was issued to me for a previous job. I will be buying the appropriate filters and use it when shooting.
Reloading. I suspect that the majority of my problem is airborne dust from the brass tumbler. It will be moved outside when in operation once I find a suitable spot. I will also use gloves and a respirator when emptying it from now on. I load a lot of cast bullets. I will probably start using latex or nitrile gloves when handling lead.

Is some of this a bit much? Perhaps, but I like being above the ground in a decently healthy state. I didn't take it too seriously, but I will in the future. Prevention is easy, kidney transplants aren't.
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  #66  
Old 03-06-2012, 02:37 PM
iGun iGun is offline
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Here's another possible source of lead exposure. In 3-Gun matches it's common to shoot steel plates at fairly close range with 12 ga lead birdshot. The shot basically vaporizes. You can see it in the air for a short time after the hit and then it disperses. I try not to stand downwind of that... and handle the steel with gloves.
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  #67  
Old 03-07-2012, 03:37 PM
GOVTMODEL GOVTMODEL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overkill0084 View Post

Suspected issues:
Range ventilation. My range's ventilation system is not really bad. However, those who reach up and close the vents because they are cold, probably need to be somewhere else. When left alone, it is probably considered a decent setup. I have a respirator that was issued to me for a previous job. I will be buying the appropriate filters and use it when shooting.
Ventilation is the number one problem. To stay below the OSHA limit for airborne lead a minimum 50 feet per minute air flow past the shooter is typically needed.
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  #68  
Old 05-05-2012, 04:55 PM
pleasant1911 pleasant1911 is offline
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Well, I am about to jump into lead world with so much safety in mind. Get mask, gloves, old cloth, wash them ever time I cast, outdoors, and shower...is that most of it.
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  #69  
Old 05-14-2012, 12:32 PM
Jerry944T Jerry944T is offline
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Sequel: I have lead poisoning

I started a thread a couple of months ago that ran for 3 or 4 pages.

It concerned a test I had my doctor perform to see if I had lead levels in my blood that were concerning. The doctor told me that it wasn't a routine test so I told her that I'd feel better checking since I shoot and reload extensively.

The test came back saying that I had lead levels higher than normal but wasn't specific as to the actual number, just that the index was greater than 20 which is considered excessive for an adult.

Off to a hematologist and some specific results. All this took time since it is certainly not a routine test and takes a specialized lab. Today I finally got the definitive results. My index was 23 which is encouraging.

I told the doctor that I had cleaned up and improved my lead hygiene and he thought it was best to check again in 3 months to see if it dropped. Fine with me since no treatment other than good habits are needed.

The moral of this story, which I really hope people will take to heart, is that those of us that handle firearms and reloading equipment really do need to find out what your lead level is and take measures to reduce your exposure.

I wear a mask while sorting brass, have moved my tumbler outdoors and wear nitrile gloves when reloading.

All I can say is "whew!!, I'm glad it wasn't worse and I hope someone learns something from my experience.

Original thread: http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=360787

Jerry
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Last edited by Jerry944T; 05-14-2012 at 01:44 PM.
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  #70  
Old 05-14-2012, 12:52 PM
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Kruzr Kruzr is offline
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Blood lead levels in the 20's is a far far way from being considered lead poisoning for an adult. All that is required is a reduction of exposure. If you had lead poisoning, you would be on chelation treatments and your levels would have had to been in the 60's.
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  #71  
Old 05-14-2012, 12:59 PM
Jerry944T Jerry944T is offline
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Agreed but the screening test just tells you if you are above the normal level not the actual quantitative amount.
In other words you don't know if it is 21 or 121, just that it is above what is considered normal which is 20.
Until the definitive test results came back I had no idea of the actual number so getting that number was important.
Back to my main point. Get it checked!
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  #72  
Old 05-14-2012, 10:42 PM
mld3021 mld3021 is offline
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Your point is well taken. I'm not careful shooting, reloading, tumbling, etc., , but I will get checked. Thanks for the heads up.
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  #73  
Old 05-15-2012, 03:27 AM
aauwen aauwen is offline
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Thanks for posting!!! It certainly has made me more aware of lead safety. I have rearranged my bench, started using gloves & masks for more of my reloading process and now do almost all of my cleaning & dumping of media outside.
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  #74  
Old 05-15-2012, 04:34 AM
kc2za kc2za is offline
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I appreciate the posting as it's a good warning to pay attention and handle the stuff with care !!
Thanks !!
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  #75  
Old 05-15-2012, 11:20 AM
tchostler tchostler is offline
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When we were kids, some 50 years ago, we handled and even "chewed" lead split shot when fishing, poured lead indoors and never gave a thought about toxicity. Oh well, too late now. Most of what I reload is jacketed and when I clean brass, it's in a water bath.
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