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  #1  
Old 02-26-2014, 7:43 AM
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Default Lead Exposure...

So my wife who is a nurse and well aware of my shooting/reloading passion recently made me watch a video on the dangers of lead exposure. I previously knew this was relevant, but had relegated most the hype to liberals using the EPA as a way to harass shooters and drive up costs. After this video and a fair amount of personal research I am not deterred from my hobby in any way persay, but I'm gonna be a lot more careful at indoor ranges (only kind I have access to) as well as once I've shot all my Missouri Bullet Company exposed lead rounds I'm moving to some kind of coated or plated bullet to load with. I'm a bargain hunter to the max for bulk deals on reloading components and would definitely appreciate any advice on where to find the cheapest coated or plated bullets. I reload only handgun rounds, mostly .380, 9mm and .45 ACP. Best deals I've found are:
http://www.precisionbullets.com
http://www.berrysmfg.com

I would appreciate links to anything cheaper as I will miss my Missouri Bullet Company lead prices


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Old 02-26-2014, 8:02 AM
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I was worried about lead exposure at one time, (I cast my own) but in casting so long as you don't put your hands in your mouth you will be ok, the lead needs to get way over 750 deg before it becomes a problem. I also shoot outside an have my levels checked ever few years. But I do understand what you are talking about with inside ranges.

check out this built comp. they have good prices, even better if you can get into a group buy.

http://www.xtremebullets.com/
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:06 AM
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not the first thread about this in the past two weeks. Good.

Save the cheap lead for the rest of us who have no issues wearing PPE and getting blood tests. Enjoy your plated bullets!
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:12 AM
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I like Precision Bullets in 1911's, but to be honest, I don't think the coating on that round does much good for mitigating lead exposure. Precision Bullets smoke pretty good coming out the barrel with Titegroup in .40S&W, too. I only shoot outdoors, so I don't mind so much.

Also, if you're concerned about lead exposure, you'll need to worry about the primers, which are in my opinion, the primary method of lead exposure in the shooting sports for most people. This is why I deprime brass before throwing them in a vibratory cleaner.
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:16 AM
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lead doesn't smoke. Coatings and powder smoke.
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:39 AM
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I worry about spent primer exposure, too, so I too deprime before tumbling,,and handle brass from the tumbler with latex gloves, and wear a dust mask when the tumbler is open and I'm around media.
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
lead doesn't smoke. Coatings and powder smoke.
That's what I was trying to imply with the Precision Bullet + Titegroup mention.
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:56 AM
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OP, try SNS Casting for coated lead bullets. No leading and very little smoke. Quality product, priced right, fast shipping and it's a family owned company.
www.snscasting.com
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:14 AM
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Are you having your lead levels checked as part of your physical? If not, you should. There is no reason to panic over using cast lead if you are safely handling it.

Without a blood test, you really can't know what is going on.

I have my doctor check it every year. It's free, I don't even pay a deductible because it is part of my yearly physical. When I asked for it my doctor wanted to know why. I said I was a competition shooter. He said okay - just wanted to make sure it wasn't occupational. End of conversation.

Now the kids pediatrician explanation is different. My wife doesn't want that conversation, so she just says I work in a tire shop (wheel weights) and wants to make sure I'm not bringing it home.

ETA: kind of disappointing to see a nurse fear monger instead of using scientific proof (like a blood test).

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Old 02-26-2014, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citadelgrad87 View Post
I worry about spent primer exposure, too, so I too deprime before tumbling,,and handle brass from the tumbler with latex gloves, and wear a dust mask when the tumbler is open and I'm around media.
I use a wet tumbler due the dust from the media. Works great!
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:09 AM
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I use a wet tumbler due the dust from the media. Works great!
Me too. I would not have it any other way.
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Old 02-26-2014, 1:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ocabj View Post
That's what I was trying to imply with the Precision Bullet + Titegroup mention.
That's the load I have used for the last 15 years, and Bear Creek, essentially the same as Precision bullets. My last blood lead level was 22. I shoot 6 times a month in compeition, and only outdoors. If you want to be lead free, go with non toxic primers and full metal jacketed bullets. You can dry tumble without dust, add mineral oil to the walnut, and liquid car polish to the corn. The other source is spent primers, lead styphenate, when you punch them out on the reloader. I have a catch tray with about 1/2" of motor oil in it to coat the primer when it drops and capture all that dust. Get your lead level checked now so you have a baseline.
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Old 02-26-2014, 1:37 PM
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i work at the poison control center at SFGH, been here 32 years. here's what i can tell you. working indoors every day at a range with poor ventilation can be a problem. casting lead fishing weights or bullets and inhaling the fumes from molten lead can be a problem. swallowing plain lead (non-jacketed bullets or fishing weights) or getting shot and retaining bullets can be a problem. nothing else is.

your average reloader will never have a problem. going to the range once or twice a week for a few hours a day will never be a problem. shooting missouri bullets means having to just wash your hands before going into the house. your average fisherman using lead fishing weights will have a much higher lead exposure and none of these guys have any trouble at all. reload and shoot your missouri bullets with confidence, wash your hands after each session, and get a lead level with your yearly physical.

just a little advise from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist.......
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Old 02-26-2014, 2:32 PM
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I wonder how high my lead levels are being an eCig smoker, and all Cartos (atomizers) coming straight from China. I'll ask for that test, my next yearly...
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Old 02-26-2014, 5:53 PM
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I just wear a glove on hand that I use to put the projectile in the case. Seems to minimize the risk.
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Old 02-26-2014, 6:08 PM
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Originally Posted by alantani View Post
i work at the poison control center at SFGH, been here 32 years. here's what i can tell you. working indoors every day at a range with poor ventilation can be a problem. casting lead fishing weights or bullets and inhaling the fumes from molten lead can be a problem. swallowing plain lead (non-jacketed bullets or fishing weights) or getting shot and retaining bullets can be a problem. nothing else is.

your average reloader will never have a problem. going to the range once or twice a week for a few hours a day will never be a problem. shooting missouri bullets means having to just wash your hands before going into the house. your average fisherman using lead fishing weights will have a much higher lead exposure and none of these guys have any trouble at all. reload and shoot your missouri bullets with confidence, wash your hands after each session, and get a lead level with your yearly physical.

just a little advise from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist.......

So whys my lead level 25?
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Old 02-26-2014, 6:31 PM
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So whys my lead level 25?
Have you been making flower arrangement?

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Old 02-26-2014, 6:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alantani View Post
i work at the poison control center at SFGH, been here 32 years. here's what i can tell you. working indoors every day at a range with poor ventilation can be a problem. casting lead fishing weights or bullets and inhaling the fumes from molten lead can be a problem. swallowing plain lead (non-jacketed bullets or fishing weights) or getting shot and retaining bullets can be a problem. nothing else is.

your average reloader will never have a problem. going to the range once or twice a week for a few hours a day will never be a problem. shooting missouri bullets means having to just wash your hands before going into the house. your average fisherman using lead fishing weights will have a much higher lead exposure and none of these guys have any trouble at all. reload and shoot your missouri bullets with confidence, wash your hands after each session, and get a lead level with your yearly physical.

just a little advise from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist.......
Howdy,Lead dose not vaporize at casting temps and I believe lead oxide forms around lead in your body and does not leach into your system.Please send me all your lead.
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Old 02-26-2014, 6:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alantani View Post
i work at the poison control center at SFGH, been here 32 years. here's what i can tell you. working indoors every day at a range with poor ventilation can be a problem. casting lead fishing weights or bullets and inhaling the fumes from molten lead can be a problem. swallowing plain lead (non-jacketed bullets or fishing weights) or getting shot and retaining bullets can be a problem. nothing else is.

your average reloader will never have a problem. going to the range once or twice a week for a few hours a day will never be a problem. shooting missouri bullets means having to just wash your hands before going into the house. your average fisherman using lead fishing weights will have a much higher lead exposure and none of these guys have any trouble at all. reload and shoot your missouri bullets with confidence, wash your hands after each session, and get a lead level with your yearly physical.

just a little advise from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist.......
Really? The lead bullet exiting the muzzle shears off lead particles, which you breath in. Setting up steel, which has lead splash on it, is a problem, lead particles can be very fine,and you breath them in during handling. Breathing in lead styphanate from the primer is a problem. Handling lead weights does not cause lead in your blood, ingesting and breathing lead does. Punching primers out causes lead dust, which you can breath in. Casting fumes do not cause high lead levels unless your nose is in the lead pot. You may be a pharmacist, but you don't know jack about lead levels for shooters. To all you guys shooting Missouri bullets, which I have shot tens of thousands, get your lead blood level checked and report back.
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Old 02-26-2014, 6:47 PM
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Just find a new hobby. It's like an EASY button!
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Old 02-26-2014, 6:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alantani View Post
i work at the poison control center at SFGH, been here 32 years. here's what i can tell you. working indoors every day at a range with poor ventilation can be a problem. casting lead fishing weights or bullets and inhaling the fumes from molten lead can be a problem. swallowing plain lead (non-jacketed bullets or fishing weights) or getting shot and retaining bullets can be a problem. nothing else is.

your average reloader will never have a problem. going to the range once or twice a week for a few hours a day will never be a problem. shooting missouri bullets means having to just wash your hands before going into the house. your average fisherman using lead fishing weights will have a much higher lead exposure and none of these guys have any trouble at all. reload and shoot your missouri bullets with confidence, wash your hands after each session, and get a lead level with your yearly physical.

just a little advise from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist.......
I am your average reloader and shot about twice a week at On Target with lead bullets...sorted brass without gloves, ditto for the polishing media...I use gloves now as its rough on dry skin.

I had my lead level tested at the peak of my exposure due to poor habits...very little lead to speak of, about average for a 12 year old kid living in the countryside in the heartland. Same for hearing and I had three busted ear drums from diving.

Go ahead, get the kid tested and shut up the old lady for all times. If you don't actually chew on the bullets or make dinner with lead crusted fingers you are going to be fine.

To really get exposure the lead has to be ingested, through breathing or orally. If you kick up a lot of lead filled dust a high quality respirator is in order. I even tested my media with a lead test kit...none....
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Old 02-26-2014, 7:29 PM
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I have been casting bullets (with my dad) for 35ish years, put lead split shot on my fishing line with my teeth, lived it houses with lead paint. Smoked when reloading cast bullets.

my lead level was 9 micrograms per deciliter (last time I had it checked 2 years ago). I am 47 now.

Don't eat lead and you will be fine. you can not get lead in your system through skin contact.
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:42 PM
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So whys my lead level 25?
that's a good question. how long ago was this level obtained? what kind of routine did you have? we know that guys at ranges can get elevated levels, but with good hand washing and some reasonable precautions, you can avoid these problems. if it were not possible to avoid significant exposures, then no one would ever be able to work at a range.

think about it. if working at a range meant that you could not avoid an elevated lead level, then you could not work at a range. it's that simple. but with some resonable precautions, including good handwashing and lead level checks, you should be able to work safely at a range. checking levels is the key.

so what kind of routine did you have? the lead clearly went from the cartridge to your bloodstream. it does not happen to everyone, but it does happen. if there is something specific that you did that resulted in an elevated level, tell us. do you pour your own bullets? process alot of brass? work at a range? maybe a contractor that strips alot of paint in old buildings?
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Old 02-26-2014, 9:53 PM
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You should also be concerned about the lead compound contained in the primer mixture, which becomes vaporized (smoke) when detonated. You may notice that some ammo is now being sold as non-toxic, in which a lead free primer mixture in being used. The case headstamp will have the letters NT which designates Non-Toxic
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:05 PM
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Howdy,Lead dose not vaporize at casting temps and I believe lead oxide forms around lead in your body and does not leach into your system.Please send me all your lead.
guys, if you melt lead, you will get some vapors, but it's not alot. i mean, years ago, many folks would melt lead on the kitchen stove, during the winter, with the house all buttoned up from the cold. no one died from lead poisoning, but there were most certainly people with elevated levels. in general, it's a good thing to avoid. you want your lead levels to be under 10.

fortunately, we do know that lead exposure is on the decline.

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Because of preventive measures in the recent years (eg, removing lead from gasoline, banning lead-based paint), the average BLL for children 1 to 5 years of age has decreased from 15.0 mcg/dL (1976-1980) to 2.7 mcg/dL (1991-1994); the average BLL for adults has decreased from 14.2 mcg/dL (1976-1970) to 3.0 mcg/dL (1988-1991) (Lane & Kemper, 2001; ATSDR, 2000).
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:07 PM
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The OSHA workplace permissible exposure limit for inorganic lead dust and fumes is 50 mcg/m(3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average.

FDA standard: Children less than 7 years of age should not consume more than 6 mcg lead daily from foodstuffs

•The normal upper limit for blood lead is considered to be approximately 0.40 mg/L (Baselt, 2000).

• Adults are at increased risk of developing symptoms and signs with levels above 40 mcg/dL (OSHA) although effects at lower levels have been observed (Wang et al, 1985).


• Lead in excess of 0.07 mg per 100 cc (70 mcg/dL) in whole blood frequently indicates severe lead poisoning. Lead excretion in urine generally exceeds 0.1 mg/L of urine (Lewis, 1996).


• Workers with blood lead levels of 40 to 60 mcg/100 mL blood may have subtle neurologic effects (Hathaway et al, 1996).
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:08 PM
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Xtremebullets.com is a great place and prolly the cheapest.
Powerbond.com is ALSO a good place but not as cheap as the above.

If you wanna get cheap though, go to Extremebullets and buy the CAST LEAD bullets, then melt off the lube and PC them!
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:22 PM
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as far as treatment goes, most efforts are directed towards identifying the source and modifying habits to avoid ingestion or inhalation. for actual chelation therapy, the levels have to be pretty high. still, we want the lead levels to be under 10.

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•ASYMPTOMATIC ADULTS AND Blood Lead Levels LESS THAN 70 mcg/dL: No routine chelation is indicated.

•6) ASYMPTOMATIC CHILDREN AND Blood Lead Levels 20 to 44 mcg/dL: No routine chelation is indicated. Succimer (same regimen as described above) has been used.
most of you have likely shot for a long time and have probably never had your lead levels checked and have had no problem. and that's fine, because it would be very unusual for you to have an elevated level. still, if you're around this stuff alot, it might be worth your time. ideally your lead level should be less than 10. with a level of 25, your doc would likely review your personal habits with you, try to identify some sources of exposure, try to limit those exposures and then recheck your level in a couple of months. if your level goes down, then recheck it again in 6 months to a year. if it stays the same or goes up, then it's back to the chalkboard.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:32 PM
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Thank you alantani --- for facts --
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Old 02-27-2014, 5:59 AM
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Xtremebullets.com is a great place and prolly the cheapest.
Extreme are plated and the lead still shears off. Shoot a bunch of rounds over a table with a white towel and you will see the flakes.
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Old 02-27-2014, 7:06 AM
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I'm the "perfect storm" as far as lung issues..have only one functioning lung (paralyzed diaphragm on one side)...COPD from years of smoking even though I quit some 30 years ago..and asthma...see the Pulmonary doc every 3 months..not on oxygen.

If I go to an indoor range (like is foolishly did about 2 weeks ago) where the sooty air is just hanging there (this particular range in the San Diego area is noted for being lousy for filtration and air exchange)...I'm going to suffer...I wear a mask when shooting but still get the sooty air. I think I've finally learned my lesson...stay the hell out of indoor ranges and especially the one I mention...some are better than others but I think I just need to admit I don't belong there.

Pulmonary doc is aware I shoot...she is also a shooter...said the main issue with me is not lead (though it's there) but the primer and lube residue. I often shoot commercial cast lead with the "blue crayon" lube which is dirty. I have my lead levels checked and not an issue...Pulmonary doc does not want me to cast..period!...her words not mine. I use a tumbler with walnut shells but if I have particularly dirty brass I'll normally give it a quick wash with a citrus bath, dry it and then decap first and then tumble..I don't pick range brass..try and shoot new brass and reload my own cartridges..I have a brass catcher for the semi's...anal you ask? I guess. I keep some pieces of used dryer sheets in the shells, use a dust mask and gloves when handling brass and tumbler components...I also wipe down the tumbler when done using it.

I don't wear gloves when reloading...got enough issues with touch without adding gloves to the mix.

I used to cast..I used to shoot indoors all the time with no issues...but no more.
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Old 02-27-2014, 7:30 AM
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I do the fishing weight with my teeth...Now going to be more careful not to smoke when shooting or put my hand in my mouth.I spend my childhood with air rife and lead pellet always on my pockets and don't remember if I washed my hand...I don't think so..
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Old 02-27-2014, 7:47 AM
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Originally Posted by alantani View Post
guys, if you melt lead, you will get some vapors, but it's not alot. i mean, years ago, many folks would melt lead on the kitchen stove, during the winter, with the house all buttoned up from the cold. no one died from lead poisoning, but there were most certainly people with elevated levels. in general, it's a good thing to avoid. you want your lead levels to be under 10.

fortunately, we do know that lead exposure is on the decline.
Not trying to argue,I have been casting for 33 years and for the first time in 32 years had my levels check and were at the minimums.Don't shoot indoors and not as much as I used to but I think just washing your hands and shooting outdoors helps.I cast at 750,what temp does lead vaporize?EDIT Commercial lube is made of?My lube is bees wax and castor oil,kind of organic.Please please send me all your lead for proper disposal.

Last edited by thx1138x1; 02-27-2014 at 7:53 AM..
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Old 02-27-2014, 8:15 AM
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Have good ventalation, wash your hands with D-lead soap and don't chew on bullets.

Or, switch to copper lead free bullets.
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Old 02-27-2014, 8:32 AM
alantani alantani is offline
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if you work with the stuff alot, it is good to go check your lead levels. you're all smart guys. if your level comes back at 15, 22 or 25, then you know that the stuff is getting into your bloodstream. then you can sit down and look at all the different points of contact that you have.

i pour lead to make fishing weights. i've got 25 pounds of the stuff in a pot all at once and i'm making 12 to 15 pound downrigger weights, 2.5 pound salmon weights, and 4 to 16 ounce torpedo weights for deep drop fishing. i work outside with a big fan to keep the air moving off in a certain direction so that i don't inhale the fumes from the pot. granted, most of it is once a year, at the beginning of the fishing season, but it usually takes up several days. with some reasonable precautions, you can do all of this safely.

Last edited by alantani; 02-27-2014 at 10:38 AM..
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Old 02-27-2014, 8:46 AM
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just took a look. the melting temperature of lead is 621 degrees farenheit and the boiling temperature is 3180 degrees farenheit. the lee pots are not going to get you anywhere near the boiling point. even at 1000 degrees farenheit, the vapor pressure is only 1.77mmHg, which is very low.

but here is where my perfect world ends. the lead i get is not just pure lead. it's old fish weights that are recast. when you heat it up, it smokes like crazy at first and there's alot of slag that i have to skim off the top of my iron kettle. i don't know how much lead is in that smoke, but i'm not going to inhale it to find out. now for you guys. if you are buying pure lead ingots, it's going to be a nice clean operation. if you are recycling scrap, it's gonna be messy.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:44 AM
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you know what would be interesting? have you guys all get your lead levels checked, then interview all of you to look for risk factors. a formal study would have be designed in such a way to control variables, but a preliminary survey could simply identify those of you with elevated levels, then simply check off different events that could lead to exposure. i'd have to do a literature search to see what has been done already and there would be no way to eliminate observer bias or recall bias, but you could still identify trends.

likely, it would only tell us what we already know.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:35 AM
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so I shouldn't be making snow angels in all the lead scrap I have???




one time I got a melt so hot it was glowing super bright red..still wasn't vaporizing. I'm not worried.
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Old 02-27-2014, 2:40 PM
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i been bitin lead splitshot fishing weights with my teeth since i was 5. im probably going to die soon
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Old 02-27-2014, 3:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alantani View Post
that's a good question. how long ago was this level obtained? what kind of routine did you have? we know that guys at ranges can get elevated levels, but with good hand washing and some reasonable precautions, you can avoid these problems. if it were not possible to avoid significant exposures, then no one would ever be able to work at a range.

think about it. if working at a range meant that you could not avoid an elevated lead level, then you could not work at a range. it's that simple. but with some resonable precautions, including good handwashing and lead level checks, you should be able to work safely at a range. checking levels is the key.

so what kind of routine did you have? the lead clearly went from the cartridge to your bloodstream. it does not happen to everyone, but it does happen. if there is something specific that you did that resulted in an elevated level, tell us. do you pour your own bullets? process alot of brass? work at a range? maybe a contractor that strips alot of paint in old buildings?
Well it's been going on for about two years, I was shooting in doors 2-3 times a week not any more, and the level was down to 11 last test.
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