Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

Concerned about lead exposure


robmont
 Share

Recommended Posts

I belong to a USPSA club that has club matches every Friday night in the basement of the range in two large rooms (purpose built for shooting). Before and after the match we all help with set up and tear down. We use plastic tarps suspended from the wire system above. All surfaces are concrete and there's a moat (really) at the rear. That has to do with capturing and controlling the lead and bullets. I am a little concerned about the amount of lead dust that we may be breathing when setting up, and particularly when taking down and folding up the tarps and sweeping up. Are my concerns justified? How much danger is there? I know that many of the members have been attending for years. This is the oldest club in the area, by far. In fact I believe it is one of the oldest USPA clubs in the country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are that concerned, I suggest you make an appointment and see your Dr. Ask him that you want a blood test to check your lead levels (explain why).

I don't shoot indoors, but I reload, and shoot FMJ (exposed base). So i had this talk with my Doc. He added the lead check to my normal 6 month tests (I'm on other meds so I need to have blood checked twice a year). The lead level was normal, but now at least we have a baseline to compare any future levels to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exposure pathways are inhalation and ingestion. I can't speak for the inhalation hazard directly but if there is inadequate ventilation there may be exposure through airborne dust. Regarding the ingestion pathway, it's VERY important that everyone washes their hands throughly before eating or smoking. Also, no food, drink or tobacco should be allowed in the range area. These simple measures will prevent ingestion of lead. Finally, don't forget to wash your clothes after shooting or setting up to avoid cross-contamination later (esp. to children that may come in contact).

FWIW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the ingestion pathway, it's VERY important that everyone washes their hands throughly before eating or smoking. Also, no food, drink or tobacco should be allowed in the range area. These simple measures will prevent ingestion of lead. Finally, don't forget to wash your clothes after shooting or setting up to avoid cross-contamination later (esp. to children that may come in contact).

If you're like my club and you tend to go eat afterwards, this is really important. Wash your hands up to elbows, use D-Lead wipes to wipe off your entire face, neck and other areas you'll likely touch before and during eating. This is especially important if you have facial hair - your flavor saver is also a lead particle saver.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ever since I started shooting indoors, I made a lead level blood test a part on my yearly physical examination. I recommend going to a lab for this type of blood work rather than the family doctor. My family doctor wasn't very knowledgable about this particular test.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If they run the Ventilation System as it should be and you wash your hands, wear a cap and follow all of the usual hygene rules you should be ok. But ask for a lead level check at your yearly physical.

But, in the past (20+ years ago) there was a rash of lead poisoning at the range in question. Some pretty serious ones, that prompted the owner to install a new state of the art Air System. But that was many years ago also. So yes you have a right to be concerned and careful.

I shot there 1 or 2x a month in the 1980's and never had a lead level problem and I did have it checked.

Edited by pskys2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Knew two shooters that did a LOT of indoor range activity.....like once a week. One of them smoked often at the range too.

Both came down with serious lead complications.

Personaly, I just dont use indoor ranges and never will based on what these individuals had to deal with.

How do you know the ventilation is ok? As in one year later you still feel fine?

BB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm just saying what everyone else is... get a lead test. It's very valuable as a base line so you can see if your levels are raising over the years. If you shoot a lot then do it every 6 months. At least a few times to get an idea if levels are rising. Also, don't sweep without some protection. That's pretty fine dust that you are raising into the air that's been building over years. I would wear a filter mask when sweeping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We shoot an indoor IDPA league. I've seen my lead levels in the 30's and several others even higher. Most of the problem I feel is running the timer and scoring next to the shooter. The range keeps D-Lead soap in the restroom and we wash our hands before going to eat. You need to shower before going to bed or you'll soil your pillow and bed linen.

When you get your annual blood work have it checked. Good news at worst you can back away for a few months and the level will drop. My physician said 10 was the threshold but I've heard industrial setting 30 is acceptical.

There are several threads here on this issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been shooting at an indoor range in our area for almost 20 years now. The club that has the indoor range has an indoor league that shoots everyweek September through May every year. There are others at this club that have been shooting there every week throughout the season for longer then I have. The venitlation system pulls air from the outside, and blows it out of a vent at the end of the range.

They have de-leading soap in the bathrooms, and use rubber push "mops" for sweeping up the brass. As far as I know nobody has had a problem in regards to lead issues. We get on guys if they smoke, eat or drink in the range. We also tell people not to pick the brass up off the floor with there hands, we use the push broom and a brass bucket which is then put directly in the brass bags. I heard a short time ago that the rubber push mops are better to use then regular brooms, they keep the lead dust/debris on the floor rather then flicking up into the air.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Never ever sweep the floor. All of the lead collects on the floor. Sweeping sends it airborne and you inhale it even with a mask on. My lead was 20 and is considered high. I shoot inside all winter once a week. them move outside and it drops to around 10-14.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a classic topic on all gun sites.

It is extremely unlikely that you can get lead poisoning from your shooting activity, even if you reload and even if you make your own bullets.

There have been numerous posts by bullet casters who reported asking their doctor (don't tell him why) for a test and it came invariably negative.

You would need extreme occupational exposure to lead to be poisoned by it.

There is a reason why there is no more lead in paints and solder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..."There is a reason why there is no more lead in paints and solder."

Just an FYI - not all solders sold are lead free. You can get lead free if you want, but it isn't the first choice for electronics work or sheet-metal/tin-smithing work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never ever sweep the floor. All of the lead collects on the floor. Sweeping sends it airborne and you inhale it even with a mask on. My lead was 20 and is considered high. I shoot inside all winter once a week. them move outside and it drops to around 10-14.

I had heard not to use regular brooms to sweep the floor, have you heard the same even with rubber sheeted push brooms? I'm not saying its right, but we heard that the rubber push style brooms helped keep the lead dust on the floor better then regular brooms. What ever works best is what we'd like to use at our club.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm gonna take issue with NicVerAZ's assessment.

I have known several people who have developed serious lead exposure issues with no (other) occupational exposure, and the one thing they all had in common was significant amounts of time spent on indoor ranges.

We can argue whether it's caused by poor personal habits, the lead-borne dust all over the place, or the vaporized lead styphnate in the air, but regardless--it's a problem. Indoor ranges are bad for your health.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...