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Old September 24, 2009, 09:23 PM   #26
Jector
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He said my lead count was 2!
Think I'll go shoot myself in the foot to catch up!
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Old September 25, 2009, 09:21 AM   #27
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good stuff

It's always good to see threads like this one.
I wonder whether some folk are more susceptible to absorbing lead and to "holding" on to it. Since I have been having my lead levels tested, try as I might - no casting, no indoor shooting, careful washing, etc. - my level has never tested at less than 8 and normally hovers in the 10-12 area. It had once risen to 40 - lots of sloppiness on my part. It came down steadily - about 3 to 4 parts/decaliter per month - when I stopped the careless behavior (Actually, I stopped all firearms activity for about six months. Lots of archery)
Nowadays, when I shoot indoors I wear a HEPA rated mask and change it out regularly. Gloves always when casting - always well vented.
Still at 10-12 parts.
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Old April 20, 2012, 08:35 AM   #28
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lead in blood, now 20

Old Thread of mine. I am glad I made it as there is a lots of info here as well as a time line. Ill see if I can figure out how to make a new thread that links to this one. Meanwhile I have to report that my blood lead level went up to 20 from 17. Although I have taken some precautions I did move the casting pot into the garage. I am convinced that is most of it. Despite keeping the bay door and the side door open I must have inhaled a lot of lead. The other methods of ingesting lead just dont add up; the range gets a A plus from the testing authority, and the owner went to great pains to vent well when he built it. The primers do count, and I regularly throw out my tumbling media. Heavy metal soap is a help, however I cant argue with the test results. Now I have to drop casting for a while, maybe a year to see if it drops. I am also drinking milk again.
Keep safe out there,

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Old April 20, 2012, 01:47 PM   #29
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Your experience is interesting and thank you for sharing it.

Spudgunr on Cast Boolits calculated the amount of lead in the air :
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=75964

Quote:
I found an OSHA letter stating the max lead concentration for an indoor range is 50 micrograms per cubic meter (this should be the PEL, permissible exposure limit, based on breathing this for an 8 hour shift).

At lead's melting point (621F) the vapor pressure is 4X10^-7 Pa (400 parts per trillion)

@815F its 1X10^-4 Pa (1 part per billion)
@1300F it is 1Pa (10 ppm)

So, at 815F that is 12 micrograms per cubic meter, at the molten leads SURFACE, 1/4 of OSHA's PEL (and you KNOW they are conservative!)

870 degrees - 5X10^-4 Pa - 60 micrograms per cubic meter (just above OSHA PEL)

925 - 1X10^-3 Pa - 125 micrograms per cubic meter (2.5 times OSHA's limit for an 8 hour shift).

1000 - .01 PA (.1 ppm) = 1200 micrograms per cubic meter.

1100 (Added in on the edit just because this value was mentioned above) .13 PA - 15,600 micrograms per cubic meter, three hundred times the OSHA guidelines.
This came from NIOSH STD 78-158, just multiply by 1000 to get micrograms.



I am of the opinion that one should use forced air circulation over your casting pot. People should be mindful of the lead particles that collect not only on surfaces, but on clothing.

Lead particles don’t have to be visible, there are billions of particles floating around in front of you that you cannot see. When they get micron size they will float, can float for weeks given air circulation. Of course human lungs are very good at absorbing these things and passing them directly into your blood stream.

I would recommend buying lead wipes and wiping off the areas around your casting pot. Apparently people have bought lead testers at Home Depot and found very high lead levels in their casting area. Might be worth looking into to determine the extent of your problem.
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Old June 8, 2012, 09:37 AM   #30
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blood lead level too high

hi Mr. Fire,
Very good summation, I think that Dillon Reloading sells the wipes. I have been using the soap but will add the wipes. That is if I feel free to cast again. Let's see how long it takes to get my lead level down to below 10; My new Dr. who isnt quite the diligence of the old one, has put me on blood tests at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months. Saying that he will monitor it and call me in if he doesn like the progress. Then I have an appt for the six month test. And we will review the situation.
There may be a lot of equipment and lead for sale soon.
My bullet supplier who sells me moly coated bullets has offered to buy the lead. I dont know what he would pay; I may ask for .90c/#.

developing.....

much obliged,

Max
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Old June 8, 2012, 04:58 PM   #31
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Some interesting responses...guess I should be dead by now.

I have been shooting and reloading most of my 68 years of life, worked in electronics and breathed lots of solder smoke for 20 years, collected mercury from old thermometers and played with it as a kid...we even used to play with it at school during recess, still have some lead embedded in my hand from a lead pencil that I got stabbed with in 4th grade. Plus, I was a semi-tanker driver driving the smog, lead filled air of the Southern California freeways for another 27 years.

Ah, the memories.........
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:10 PM   #32
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"...still have some lead embedded in my hand from a lead pencil that I got stabbed with in 4th grade..." Although it is called lead, the black stuff in a lead pencil is made up of a mixture of graphite, clay, and wax...no lead. Or, I would be melting them to cast bullets.
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Old November 2, 2012, 10:27 AM   #33
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Lead blood level

hi Ya Guys, It's still 20!
I need to be under 10.
No casting for me
Can't give up the indoor range, it's addictive.
Much obliged,
Max
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Old November 2, 2012, 11:11 AM   #34
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Since my April post I found more data on where we get exposed to lead, and unfortunately, the greatest exposure comes from shooting lead bullets.

The table from the report below shows that each round from a 158 L in a 38 Spl M10 puts out an average of 5600 micrograms of lead.

If you remember the OSHA limit is 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

LP stands for lead primer, they also tested lead free primers. Lead primers put out a surprising amount of lead in the air.

The lead in the air level dropped significantly using jacketed bullets.

I believe this is why indoor range users report high lead levels, people are pumping an amazing amount of lead with each shot.

I think using jacketed bullets, plated bullets, and if you can find lead free primers, will reduce your lead exposure.

Assuming you stay away from indoor ranges.

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Old November 12, 2012, 08:49 AM   #35
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I have been casting now for 8 months and just had a lead test done and its 17. I shoot at an indoor range with very little ventilation once a week for an hour or two but occasionally I am there all day.
I cast and tumble in a shed (but don’t tumble while I am in there) so will move these jobs outside and do all media separation outside from now on.
I wash my hands whenever I handle lead, cases etc, don’t eat and wash clothing after casting so that shouldn't be an issue.
I reload on a bench in the house used primers go into a tube on the press but I have been cleaning the primer pockets onto a sheet of paper. Will do that outside from now on only clean brass in the house.
Will report back next blood test in a few months see if the above steps help.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:14 AM   #36
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indoor range lead levels

hi Slam,
The statistics dont make sense clearly; what is in the air is not in the blood.
But I am concerned about the lead primers and the lead bullets especially at the indoor range I frequent. My armorer also has a blood lead level of 20m/dll. And he doesn't cast which is where I expect that I got it. But that might not be the case as you stated it could be the primers and lead bullets. So far the level in my blood has not gone down. Next test in a couple of months. I will report it here.
Much obliged,

Max
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:37 AM   #37
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Lead doesn't leave your blood system. Unless you lay off to see if your levels don't increase, the amount will not decrease. I would suspect poor ventilation- one reason I hate using indoor ranges
I know the above post is 3 years old but a lot of people believe it. You lose lead every time you expel bodily fluids because the lead shows up everywhere, sweat, urine spit, you name it if it leaves your body miniscule amounts of lead go with it. Picked up most of my lead when I was teaching and spent 5-6 hours a week inside an old indoor range. Since then I have lost over a third of what it used to be. Took 30 years but it's gone and I only shoot outdoors now. I cast inside but my pot is under a hood and vented outside with a pretty nice blower sucking up the fumes.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:45 AM   #38
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Lead doesn't leave your blood system.
I give blood regularly, I have to believe that has a positive effect (for me, anyway). I was tested a couple of years ago and it was 14.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:48 AM   #39
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Old Grump is correct - the lead does eventually leave the body, albeit slowly.

I shoot in a number of indoor pistol leagues and all of the ranges have inadequate ventilation. A number of years ago, I had my serum (blood) lead level tested and it came back at about 31 mcg/dl, well above the recommended maximum for adults of 10 mcg/dl. I started shooting with a half-face respirator - and also trying to be a bit better about hand-washing after shooting, although I was already doing that - and my lead came down to the high 'teens in about a year, then to 7.9 mcg/dl about a year after that. The respirators work and after a short adjustment period they're no more bothersome to wear than the standard eye and ear protection.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:17 PM   #40
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The statistics dont make sense clearly; what is in the air is not in the blood.
What is in the air will be in your blood if you breathe the air.

Now if you are a fish, that is a different matter.
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Old November 14, 2012, 12:14 AM   #41
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Another fellow on the forum said a friend who had access to lead test gear had checked out his work areas. No lead contamination problem at the loading bench. None at the casting bench (lead vapor from normal casting temperatures is actually very low). The place it did show up? Around the case tumbler. That's primer dust. It's the bad stuff, and it's enough to make you want to use a wet tumbling medium. Doing your tumbling and media separating outdoors turns out to matter more than casting and other activities except maybe indoor shooting. I use a respirator for that. No big deal.
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Old January 10, 2013, 08:05 PM   #42
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lead in blood level still 20

HI Ya, I am glad I revisited this thread. I really need to use the Niosh 95 masks when i load and unload the tumbler. As the title says, its been quite a while since i stopped casting now. I sold 750# of lead for moly coated bullets. But the lead level has not lowered. Which leads me to believe that it is not from casting; it is the primers fired in the indoor range and on the cases. But I am not about to quit the range. I do shoot outdoors for meets also.
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Old January 18, 2013, 05:04 PM   #43
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Thanks for the update and I hope that you can get your lead levels down.
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Old January 18, 2013, 06:03 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick View Post
Another fellow on the forum said a friend who had access to lead test gear had checked out his work areas. No lead contamination problem at the loading bench. None at the casting bench (lead vapor from normal casting temperatures is actually very low). The place it did show up? Around the case tumbler. That's primer dust. It's the bad stuff, and it's enough to make you want to use a wet tumbling medium. Doing your tumbling and media separating outdoors turns out to matter more than casting and other activities except maybe indoor shooting. I use a respirator for that. No big deal.
Glad I added sonic cleaning as an early step then. Mainly for cosmetic reason but also to eliminate primers from the tumble media, I use an universal deprimer, sonic clean, size, trim, then tumble before loading.

Thanks for all the discussion of lead.
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Old March 1, 2013, 11:15 AM   #45
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Pilgrim, good reminder. I just went out to the garage and changed media. I am determined to keep it fresh. I use crushed walnut shells from the Bird store; $3.75 for 10#
much obliged,

Max
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Old March 1, 2013, 11:09 PM   #46
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This thread is part of the reason I'm building a casting shed with an outdoor case cleaning and smelting facility. Shooters I know who got lead poisoning got it from being on the firing line during training and/or comp shooting. Case cleaning seems to be a leading cause as well, I mostly handle media outdoors and practice good hygiene.
Max it: have your healthcare professionals talked to you about washing your hands and face after shooting, wearing a cap, protective eyewear and changing clothes soon after a match? Also be sure not to eat or drink and try not to touch your face while shooting indoors.
Some folks have a hard time getting lead out of their system, some alternative medicine remedies seem sensible.
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Old March 1, 2013, 11:36 PM   #47
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Why not wear a N95 or better mask while shooting at the indoor range?

When you leave, make sure to wash your hands and blow your nose (especially the blow-your-nose part if you *dont* wear a mask)

And it wouldn't hurt to take a daily vitamin C and a couple of Tums (calcium) -- but don't take them at the same time. Take one in the morning at the other at night. The calcium is to help your bones keep from absorbing lead. Not sure if it will drive out the lead that's already in your bones, but they will turn loose of it eventually and you pee it out.
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Old March 2, 2013, 08:54 PM   #48
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Guys TeX and Bob, I have the Niosh 95 mask but i would feel foolish to wear it indoors. Especially as I am friends with the gunsmiths there and I know one of them has a 20 also.
Also the media thingie, seems important.
Blow nose sounds good; i do wash after every session, and shower and change after competitions. All good ideas though,

much obliged,

Max
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Old March 14, 2013, 09:06 PM   #49
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Last check mine was 4. I don't shoot indoors but I do cast & handle plenty of lead bare handed.
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Old March 14, 2013, 09:14 PM   #50
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My last one was a 2. I cast and shoot outside only.
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