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I'm very interested in how you manage to protect yourself from lead exposure in indoor ranges. I used to only occasionally shoot indoors, but for the past couple of years I've been doing it more during the winter.

I've tried respirator masks, but haven't figured out how to keep them from fogging my glasses.

I also use GoJo with pumice as a hand cleaner after shooing, and wash my clothes and shower after using the indoor range.

Any ideas for improvement, especially in a non fogging respirator will be very much appreciated.
 

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First off, I'd like to comment that while this particular piece contains useful information, it presents an unrealistic view.

"The natural, or desirable, level of lead in human beings is zero."

That's like saying the desirable level of ambient radiation is zero. Unless you live in an underground bunker with an artificially filtered environment, it isn't going to happen. I haven't seen the study mentioned in the article, so I don't know if they compared against another local sample that doesn't shoot on a regular basis in indoor ranges, or what the water quality was in the area, or the soil quality, or other factors such as work environment or food.

The lead levels in my blood are going to be higher because I have a well where my drinking water contains lead -- although under the allowable limit. My first suggestion is to lay off the shooting or handling of guns, equipment or accessories that have to do with shooting, then get your lead levels checked a couple of times before continuing. After you start shooting or reloading, have them checked again.

My answer to the question of acceptable exposure at indoor ranges is: as little as possible. At my peak activity, I don't shoot more than once a week and for no more than an hour. (I've only shot indoors twice since March.) I would rather stand out in the cold in the winter than shoot at an indoor range, but since shooters are treated like toddlers in this country, I can't visit an outdoor public range without some sort of club or government custodian. No one wants to supervise in the dead of winter.

A larger range is probably safer than a smaller one, but a ventilation system that doesn't blow back at the line is a must for me. When I can taste the residue, it's time to quit. Also remember that if your reload, you're probably using primers that contain lead styphnate. (See Winchester MSDS at http://www.winchester.com/pdf/MsdsPDF/msds_w60.pdf )

I notice a lot of new policies about lead "vapor" exposure. I take issue with this terminology, and I think it gives people the wrong idea, (unless you're actually casting with the pot temp set too high.) I feel that a shooter's (bad) habits greatly increase his risk of poisoning, so one case does not apply to all. Lead doesn't actually vaporize, it is more accurately described as being abraded into a dust that settles. Protecting your lungs is important, but if you fire a bullet from a revolver with exposed lead at the rear, a fine coating of lead is blasted over the cylinder face, on the frame, all over your hands (and cuticles or under fingernails), on the bench, on the partitions, on your gear and your clothes. A ventilation system is no help here.

I think you're on the right track, but many shooters just aren't as cautious as you are. The linked handout actually mentions a lot of things that I would list here. I also suggest:

* Not using an alcohol or other solvent-type cleaner on your skin after shooting or handing gun accessories
* Washing your face with a non-solvent cleaner -- especially if you have facial hair -- as well as your hands
* Wearing non-porous gloves when shooting if possible
* Wearing non-porous gloves when reloading or handling shooting equipment that may have been exposed to lead dust
* Wearing non-fogging shooting glasses so you're not removing them to wipe them down, thereby touching your face near your eyes and your hair
* Never running a case polisher with the top open, or cleaning cases in a washing machine or dryer; do not handle used cleaning media with your bare hands.
* Keeping reloading accessories and books in the corner where your bench happens to be, and cleaning your hands after handling the books, cartridge cases, presses, dies, case tumblers, spent primer buckets or any other related item.
* Don't distribute reloading or shooting equipment all over the house -- just keep it in the reloading area.

Any single item here or in the handout is probably not going to significantly elevate the risk, but they add up.

If you're wearing regular shooting glasses and they're fogging, try switching to a brand that doesn't have a curve or an overhang near the top that traps moisture. I bought a new pair that is titled forward and has not overhang, so fogging is now a non-issue for me.

Since lead is a cumulative poison, if you're actually seeing elevated lead right now, it's time to stop all shooting and stay away from the loading bench for a while while you monitor your levels. Too bad it's not as easy to do a lead test as it is to do a blood sugar test.
 

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Wow. DWTim, that was really interesting. My concern for the past year or so is two small children and my reloading stuff. This has been in the back of my mind for awhile. I clean cases outside, but I store the tumbler and used media openly in the utility room. Gonna change that. I am compulsive about washing up and changing clothes before getting near the kids.

No offense, but this IS assuming that you know what you are talking about.

Why do you add the point about not using solvent based cleaner on hands and accessories?
 

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heres my take on it. Lead poisoning can happen to a caster. Ive been treated for high levels with chelting theropy twice now. My lead level was as high as 78 and i beleve my doctor said the worry level starts at 20. i showed absolutely no symtoms. I get migrane headaches and was wondering if that was the cause but even after getting levels back down i still had the headaches so i doubt if it was the cause. Can you get it from casting? Yes and no. If you are using a good casting pot with a thermostat and a are careful about not picking up my bad habbits. Like smoking while casting not wearing gloves and using poor housekeeping practices yes. Keep in mind that i cast probably more then the rest of the guys on this forum combined so im not a typical case but if your conserned you should take percautions when casting. I dont think a resperator is nessisary but useing gloves and washing up afterward, keep things out of your mouth while casting (food cigerettes drinks ect) Keep your casting area seperate from your loading and keep it clean and you should have no problem.
Theres bigger conserns then casting. three ways you will pick up lead in your system are smelting lead over high heat. I use a turkey fryer cranked right up and im sure the temps get much higher then an electric pot and a guy is handling dirty lead wws and all the dirt and crap in them that has lead dust on them. Do it outside and do it with gloves and wash your clothes afterward and that should take care of most of the problem. Second is your tumbler. Even if you dont use cast bullets you will have lead dust in your tumbler from the lead in primers. Keep your tumbler away from everything and handle the media accordingly and change it often. the third is shooting. I doenst have to be indoors. Even outdoors if the wind is blowing back in your face and your getting a face full of smoke your getting some lead vapors. even jacketed ammo will give off lead vapors again from primer compounds.
Now how anal do you have to get. I dont think very. I think if you keep this all in mind and use a little sense (something im lacking in) you wont have a problem. One thing i will say here though is that if you have a loading or casting setup in your home or even in your garage you need to keep it locked and not excessable to chiidren. Theres just to many other dangerous things a loader handles even other then lead that a kid has no bussiness in a loading room. If i had small children and couldnt keep them locked out of my loading room i wouldnt load its as simple as that. An adult can take a suprisingly large amount of lead poisnioning and never show a symtom but the same doesnt hold for a kid. Even pets can be effective. When my dog was a pup he was constantly draging rags and spruce knocking sticks that had lead on them off to chew. I now keep him out of the area as much as possible too.
Ill close with this. dont be in a panic about lead poisioning. For the average caster it will never happen. If your a dumb ass slob like me though it is very possible. A little common sense goes a long way here.
 

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bluebayou said:
No offense, but this IS assuming that you know what you are talking about.
None taken. I am just a poster saying so-and-so on the Internet. The linked handout agrees with my take on residue. I realize that this is an appeal to authority, but the relevant studies and scientific journals are mentioned in the handout.

Why do you add the point about not using solvent based cleaner on hands and accessories?
I have read that alcohol-based cleaners are more likely to make the lead in the residue absorbed by the body. Makes sense, since non-alcohol swabs are recommended when taking lead samples. Other than that, I really don't want to test this theory empirically. There are plenty of cleaning products on the market that are specifically formulated to remove metals like lead.
 

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Soap to reduce lead contamination

Was just thinking about this tonight as I sorted and deprimed several hundred 40SW cases. I keep my tumbler in the garage, and casting furnace (hardly ever cast). Since I've become more aware of the lead in primers I try to wipe down my loading bench with swiffer sheets and keep the primer catcher cleaned out - press wiped down. I don't know if its sufficient, but our vacuum is a high quality HEPA version that supposed to be good for allergy problems, and I hope it collects lead dust too. I don't know how small of particles it collects but pretty small - measured in microns I believe. Should check I guess.

Last winter a little kid in interior Alaska showed elevated lead levels. I believe he was getting exposed to lead from his older brother who shot indoors a lot for competition and practice. I might have this mixed up a little. Anyway, the shooter wasn't getting cleaned off enough and wasn't using special soap that helps remove lead.

I haven't bought any yet but the price isn't bad, especially if you get together with friends to share a supply.

Here's the link I found https://www.esca-tech.com/Skincare.htm

HTH Dan
 
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