One of my new shooting buddies works for Gould Battery in a plant that makes automotive, truck and marine batteries. He isn't a reloader, so I was scarfing up his brass (like the brass rat I truly am, I didn't miss a single one, you guys would have been proud
). One of the fellows he works with does reload (rifle only) and the subject came up about lead exposure.
This has been a recurring topic on most of the forums I frequent so I thought I would post some interesting info.
We left the range and went back to his house to unload his stuff and his coworker (lives three doors down) dropped by to drool all over us having the chance to shoot a couple of new toys. I got to talking with him about lead, gloves and protection etc..
It seems his coworker had elevated lead level in his blood about four months ago. He works around lead all day and casts his own bullets and fishing weights too. His elevated blood levels were caught by a routine physical at work. The medical people he works with suggested a glove and respirator to use to drastically cut down the exposure to lead. For lower exposure areas, he uses a mask. He worked in an area where the lead plates are mounted in the battery cases. Now he works in a different part of the manufacturing operation, but he has to keep up the extra precautions. It seems that OSHA has a field day at battery plants and the people who work there are pretty judicious about protection.
Lead inhalation is MUCH more dangerous than skin contact, but if it's on your hands and you eat anything, pick your nose, scratch etc, lead absorption/exposure can be increased several fold.
I have bought several types of latex gloves (figured if latex was good enough to be a jimmy hat, reloading would be no problem), but have found that some cleaning chemicals (especially gun scrubber) eats then up and they are far from durable.
He gave me a box of the ones he uses. They are made of nitrile, MUCH heavier than latex cheapos and you can find them at Walgreens drugstore or online.
Nitrile Gloves - get the purple ones
I just put up a batch of 230's and the gloves seemed to hold up great. Good dexterity and good fingertip fit. The pads of each finger are *slightly* textured, to help in the gripping of small things. Overall, they are a ton better than the ones I have used in the past.
When I took them off, I took them outside and hosed them pretty good with Gun Scrubber. They didn't melt like the ones I was using before.
For a mask, to help prevent inhalation, he uses a carbon filter type. The ones he got at work were in a clear bag, so he didn't know which brand they were for sure, but he called the plant (24 hour operation I guess) and spoke to the nurse on duty and she said they were the same as the ones at Walgreens. The ones I found on their site were a little different, but it looks like they are pretty close in specs.
I didn't get any of these from him since I don't cast my own anymore, but thought it might be useful to those of you who do.
I'm not a chemist, a doctor or anything even remotely related, nor do I play one on the internet.
I just thought this was pertinent info, that may be of use to some of my fellow reloaders.