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Lead levels in your blood


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14 hours ago, RedlandsShooter said:

I just got my test results for the first time , it is 28.  So, I need to make some changes and be more conscientious about limiting exposure. Things I changed immediately,: cut the two indoor steel matches out of my monthly schedule, wear a mask and gloves during reloading, switch to jacketed bullets, use gloves during wet tumble brass processing and use delead wipes often at matches before eating.  

 

The doc wants to run another test in 3 months, I am hoping for some appreciable decline.  My buddy that works at an indoor range has a much lower level than me and from his experience he said the only way to get an appreciable decline is stop shooting for six months.  I will if I have to but there are a few more changes I can invoke first such as switching to lead free primers and cutting all indoor matches out of my schedule ( still shoot about four outdoor matches/month).

 

IIRC, mine was 32 last summer, so I started wearing black nitrile gloves when I do any brass prep (picking up range brass, sorting range brass, tumbling, etc) and don't have a drink in the same area as the tumbler.  I also use D-Lead wipes every time I leave the range and do better at washing my hands before eating at the range... or using containers/packages that I can eat out of without touching the food.

 

I also use D-Lead soap every time I am done in my reloading area, regardless of what I was doing.

 

Even with taking indoor shooting classes once a week over the winter and 2 indoor matches a month, my lead levels dropped to about 17 by mid-winter (~6 months).

 

Regarding the lead-free primers and shooting only outdoors, if you run the timer at all at your matches, you're probably being exposed to more lead from your peers' primers than your own.  I'm not saying that switching to lead-free primers won't help, but be aware of the other sources of lead in your environment.

 

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Mine was 23 a few months ago. I'm doing same as above and as soon as I get home from the range I wash all of my cloths in d-lead soap and shower immediately. I go back to be retested at the end of the summer.

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16 hours ago, CharlieD said:

Resetting steel targets is another situation where you will come in direct contact with lead. I try to always wear gloves when resetting steel. De-leading wipes are a great way to clean up after shooting.

This is a good one that I hadn't ever considered before. 

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FYI mine is down to 5.1 and has been for 2 years - that is still over the 5.0 recommendation but I am sticking with current abatement practices. Poly or plated/jacketed bullets - outdoor wet tumbling and no indoor shooting.

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  • 2 weeks later...
When my D-Wipes start to dry out, I add a little bit of rubbing alcohol to the container. Seems to rejuvenate the contents.


There is an easier solution. Take some electrical tape and seal the blue cap to the bottle. It won't evaporate then.
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On 6/5/2019 at 11:58 AM, N3WWN said:

 

IIRC, mine was 32 last summer, so I started wearing black nitrile gloves when I do any brass prep (picking up range brass, sorting range brass, tumbling, etc) and don't have a drink in the same area as the tumbler.  I also use D-Lead wipes every time I leave the range and do better at washing my hands before eating at the range... or using containers/packages that I can eat out of without touching the food.

 

I also use D-Lead soap every time I am done in my reloading area, regardless of what I was doing.

 

Even with taking indoor shooting classes once a week over the winter and 2 indoor matches a month, my lead levels dropped to about 17 by mid-winter (~6 months).

 

Regarding the lead-free primers and shooting only outdoors, if you run the timer at all at your matches, you're probably being exposed to more lead from your peers' primers than your own.  I'm not saying that switching to lead-free primers won't help, but be aware of the other sources of lead in your environment.

 

Glad to hear that the extra precautions you are taking are effectively lowering your lead levels.  I am pretty much taking the same precautions, which are really pretty easy (#Ishouldhavebeendoingthisallalong), and hoping for a similar result.  

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Skin contact is a way to absorb lead but if your levels are high, you are generally ingesting it. Think about if you eat snacks during a match after setting steel, shooting or dealing with ammo, you are ingesting lead from your hands. I try to wash my hands prior to eating anything at a match. I work on a range full time as a firearms instructor for a federal agency. We shoot 7 hours a day and are tested every 6 months. My highest levels has been 11 in 6 years. 

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On 6/4/2019 at 9:37 PM, RedlandsShooter said:

I just got my test results for the first time , it is 28.  So, I need to make some changes and be more conscientious about limiting exposure. Things I changed immediately,: cut the two indoor steel matches out of my monthly schedule, wear a mask and gloves during reloading, switch to jacketed bullets, use gloves during wet tumble brass processing and use delead wipes often at matches before eating.  

 

The doc wants to run another test in 3 months, I am hoping for some appreciable decline.  My buddy that works at an indoor range has a much lower level than me and from his experience he said the only way to get an appreciable decline is stop shooting for six months.  I will if I have to but there are a few more changes I can invoke first such as switching to lead free primers and cutting all indoor matches out of my schedule ( still shoot about four outdoor matches/month).

 

On 6/4/2019 at 9:37 PM, RedlandsShooter said:

I just got my test results for the first time , it is 28.  So, I need to make some changes and be more conscientious about limiting exposure. Things I changed immediately,: cut the two indoor steel matches out of my monthly schedule, wear a mask and gloves during reloading, switch to jacketed bullets, use gloves during wet tumble brass processing and use delead wipes often at matches before eating.  

 

The doc wants to run another test in 3 months, I am hoping for some appreciable decline.  My buddy that works at an indoor range has a much lower level than me and from his experience he said the only way to get an appreciable decline is stop shooting for six months.  I will if I have to but there are a few more changes I can invoke first such as switching to lead free primers and cutting all indoor matches out of my schedule ( still shoot about four outdoor matches/month).

Just got the results back after about two months of the changes I implemented and my blood level is down to 22.  I think this is a pretty good improvement for just a couple of months.  I am confident now that if I stay on course the levels will continue to drop.

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19 hours ago, RedlandsShooter said:

 

Just got the results back after about two months of the changes I implemented and my blood level is down to 22.  I think this is a pretty good improvement for just a couple of months.  I am confident now that if I stay on course the levels will continue to drop.

 

 

Thats really great to hear. I hope they keep going down. 

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FYI

Sources of exposure — The majority of adult elevated BLL come from workplace exposures . Exposure can occur in numerous work settings, such as manufacturing or use of batteries, pigments, solder, ammunitions, paint, car radiators, cable and wires, some cosmetics, ceramic ware with lead glazes, and tin cans. Primary and secondary lead smelting and refinement are associated with considerable exposure. Mass lead intoxication has been reported for both children and adults living around and working in lead battery manufacturing/recycling plants and artisanal gold mining, particularly in low-income countries

Other sources of exposure include:

Gasoline – An organic form of lead (tetraethyl lead) was added to gasoline to raise the octane level and to serve as an "antiknock" agent in the 1920s. It has been estimated that 90 percent of atmospheric lead originated from automobile exhaust and accounted for the increase in environmental lead concentrations observed between the 1930s and 1960s. The introduction of lead-free gasoline in the 1980s contributed to a considerable decrease in air lead levels in the United States and consequently BLL. Use of leaded gasoline has declined worldwide, particularly in the industrialized countries, but it is still used in aviation and racing cars and may still be used in conventional automobiles in some countries.

Paint – The use of lead paint has resulted in lead exposures at work in the construction trades, as well as in the home, thereby posing a lead poisoning risk to children. The lead content of paint in the United States was unregulated until 1977. In 2000, it was estimated that about one million construction workers in the United States were occupationally exposed to lead. In addition to coating residential properties, lead paint also covers five billion square feet of nonresidential surface area in the United States, including 89 percent of the nation's steel bridges. Lead from paint can also enter the environment and increase soil lead levels when natural disasters destroy homes as in the case of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Moonshine – In some parts of the United States, illegally distilled alcohol ("moonshine") is an important source of lead exposure. In a study from an emergency department in Atlanta, the median blood lead level in drinkers of moonshine was significantly higher than in nondrinkers, 11.0 versus 2.5 mcg/dL (0.53 versus 0.12 micromol/L); the percentage of patients with BLL ≥25 mcg/dL (1.21 micromol/L) was higher as well (25.7 versus 0 percent).

Bullets – Lead exposure can also occur at indoor and outdoor firing ranges due to the use of leaded bullets. Consuming wild game may also lead to lead exposure if the game was hunted using lead bullets.

Cosmetics – Litargirio (also known as litharge or lead monoxide), a lead-based powder sold and used in some Hispanic communities as an antiperspirant/deodorant and as a folk remedy, has also caused lead poisoning, as has the use of tiro, an eye cosmetic from Nigeria.

Herbal remedies/supplements – Lead poisoning has occurred in those taking Ayurvedic medications (a tradition of alternative medicine with roots in the Indian subcontinent), including during pregnancy. Women who reported using herbal supplements had BLL 10 percent higher than non-users, although mean lead levels were low in both groups (<2.0 mcg/dL [0.97 micromol/L]). BLL were about 20 percent higher for those women reporting use of Ayurvedic and/or traditional Chinese medicine herbs, as well as St. John's wort, compared with non-users.

Cookware – Lead poisoning has been associated with cooking or eating off of lead-glazed tableware and cookware.

Lead dust – Lead dust deposited on radiographs and stored in lead-lined boxes can lead to lead exposure. A study performed by the Wisconsin Division of Public health found that patients are at risk for substantial lead exposure during a dental radiograph if the office stores the films in these boxes.

Other – Lead has also been found as an adulterant in marijuana, candy, lipstick, and other consumer products. Lead contamination is a risk that can be associated with a wide variety of production processes.

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I have been shooting for 58 years. I was casting bullets for Bullseye in the 70s and 80s and shot indoors for a few years I am now casting and powder coating bullets for my pcc. I cast outside and wear  gloves. The last year I have cast over 10000 bullets I was concerned when another shooter told me he quit casting because of high lead levels. I just had a blood test and my lead level is 4. I’m wondering if some people are more susceptible to high lead levels than others.

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Mine increased from a 4 at the end of 2018 to a 7 last month. I reload and shoot coated bullets and on pace for most shooting I’ve done since I started  reloading in 2013.  These numbers are way below a industrial environment but in an effort to reduce the trend i now keep a stock of dLead wipes in my range bag and by my door exiting my reloading room to use before I go wash my hands, along with more cautious approach to on range eating/drinking.  

 

Also need to think about those around you especially children to make sure everyone is informed.

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3 hours ago, MILDOTS said:

I’m wondering if some people are more susceptible to high lead levels than others.

^this for sure. I have read that vitamin C increases your ability to absorb lead. I stopped taking mine until I get rechecked. I'm sure many other factors make some people more susceptible than others. I am convinced hygiene is the way to combat it. I get mine rechecked in 2 more months.

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Just had mine tested.  It's at 4.  No concern.  I don't load bare lead and I haven't been reloading or shooting that much lately.  My main source of exposure I suppose would be lead dust from handling dirty brass.  If I go back to seven matches per month and practice more, I'll have it tested again.

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I see people at our club shooting, then eating "finger food".  We try to tell them to be safe and wash your hands, but they don't listen.  I NEVER eat or drink when I'm reloading.  As a matter of fact, I NEVER eat or drink in my basement where I reload and work on firearms.  I have my lead levels checked every few years, so far, fingers crossed they are good.  Common sense should kick in on this......

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On 6/28/2019 at 8:49 AM, obsessiveshooter said:

I was concerned so I got mine checked.  Only a 4.  I don't wear gloves when I reload, and I shoot coated lead bullets.  I guess I'll keep doing what I have been doing, and not worry about it.     

 

On 7/24/2019 at 1:23 PM, MILDOTS said:

I have been shooting for 58 years. I was casting bullets for Bullseye in the 70s and 80s and shot indoors for a few years I am now casting and powder coating bullets for my pcc. I cast outside and wear  gloves. The last year I have cast over 10000 bullets I was concerned when another shooter told me he quit casting because of high lead levels. I just had a blood test and my lead level is 4. I’m wondering if some people are more susceptible to high lead levels than others.

I wonder how many of these high lead level folks are smokers... Lead dust on hands dust on cigerrettes, light, melt inhale,
I never really took many precautions, I mean common sense dont eat with hands that are black, but a rub on the pants and drive on. Shot cast for eons, shot indoors, chomped on split shot fishing weights to close them... Read about lead issues , mine was a 9... something else going on other than shooting or reloading.

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Interesting point on the smokers comment. I guy I shoot with and about the same amount got tested and was pretty high, so I decided to get checked. Results came in at an 8, so a little higher but was told no worries until you hit 15. He smokes and I dont. Might be more to it or could be as easy as that.

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My mom's side of the family had a problem with too high levels of iron in the blood (hemochromotosis).  The solution was to just give blood/platelets when levels were tested and deemed too high.

 

I would expect the same remedy should be good for lead.

Edited by SnipTheDog
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