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Blood lead levels...rising.


jakfrost1
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Hi all, had the opportunity to do some indoor practice this winter, and my physician called me last week to advise that my blood lead levels are 'HIGH' and I should cease and desist whatever activity might be causing it. Well, pretty obvious it was the indoor range since I stopped eating paint when I was 3-4 years old. The range has done a $60,000+ ventilation upgrade in the last year or so, and my total attendance would have been max 5 times plus 4 local matches at other clubs...so max 10 times since last November. 

My base line values were 1.8  and are now at 5.6. Don't think it is life threatening but wondering what other shooters experience might be and how they dealt with it, aside from complete abstinence, which would be hard to do.

Just wear a hepa mask? All the time or just when going downrange for scoring and target changes?

 

Jim 

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I casted lead bullets for years and shoot indoors and had my blood levels tested I believe it was 3 or 4 but below the new range limit.

 

Biggest way to get lead poisoning is touching lead than touching your mouth or food.

 

Couple years back anything under 10 for adults was acceptable so your fine.

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4 minutes ago, thompsoncustom said:

I casted lead bullets for years and shoot indoors and had my blood levels tested I believe it was 3 or 4 but below the new range limit.

 

Biggest way to get lead poisoning is touching lead than touching your mouth or food.

 

Couple years back anything under 10 for adults was acceptable so your fine.

Looks like it's 5 now. 

 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ables/ReferenceBloodLevelsforAdults.html

Edited by Dirty_J
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I used to shoot at an indoor range twice a week back in the UK. I recall an article somewhere about safe practices for indoor ranges.

 

From memory;

  1. Don’t eat or drink or smoke at the range.
  2. Wash hands before leaving (there are wipes that will remove lead etc).
  3. Go straight home.
  4. Wash clothes (don’t mix with other clothes) to remove lead.
  5. Shower and wash hair.

If you don’t do all the above then you are breathing in or ingesting lead until you do all of the above. For example, if you don’t wash your hair then it transfers to your pillow overnight and you breathe it in all night.

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And don’t scavenge brass from the indoor range. Don’t let guys sweep after every shooter kicking lead dust into the air.

 

If there’s sweeping, wear a dust mask.

 

If scooping up handfuls, wear gloves and a dust mask.

 

My lead levels dropped from 14 to 2.4 in a year. I kept shooting outdoor, but went from 8 hours a week at an indoor range (ran a match there)... to zero.

 

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic
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I guess that is my question: What are the 'best practices' to shoot safely at an indoor range...? BritinUSA and MemphisMechanic seem to have touched on the pertinent points...not sure what level of mask is appropriate.

I drink water from a sealed water bottle at the range, eat protein bars, etc...but only wash my hands before leaving the range, I have never 'showered immediately after returning home'...? Probably the next morning was as early as I got...

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mine was at an 8 about 3 months ago. Once you get over 10 its starts to get concerning. If youre into the teens its pretty bad. And over 20 youre going to most likely see issues with memory and other health problems. But with an 8 Public health here hit me up and I had to go in for an interview and a follow up. I still have to go in to get retested. A larger concern is if you have anyone pregnant in the home or children. Theyre way more vulnerable to lead exposure than fully grown adults. 

 

I told them I wasn't going to stop shooting and couldn't really. But we discussed precautions to take and preventative measures. 

I would try not to shoot indoor anymore if you can help it. But any match youre shooting youre creating a lead particulate. And most of the time if youre moving, like most stages, youre moving into that particulate. And inhaling almost atomized lead dust. Getting it on your clothing. And skin. 

So what britinUSA said.

Take some precautions before eating smoking and dipping. I would not eat anything while shooting. If you do bring de-lead wipes and use them thoroughly prior to ingesting anything. At the end of a range session use the wipes before you leave the range. Its one of the things I add to my routine now.

I would use jacketed bullets if you can. Helps with the exposure while reloading. And wear gloves while reloading if you can.

Id like to add something BritinUSA said. Wash your range clothes separate and use a de-lead detergent. 

Keep range bags and things like that separate from your regular living quarters especially if ya got kids around. 

 

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I work with lead everyday and have for 35 years. My level is 18 and I have it tested yearly. I dont remember if I have been forgetting things or not. lol. But seriously, take precaution and wash your hands, and run the exaughst  when ever possible.

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11 hours ago, Chili said:

Since you all seem to be using the same unit of measure could you share it? I'd like to compare my results but based on these numbers they are a different unit of measure.

 

Units are µg/dL, also written as mcg/dL, which is micro-grams per deciliter. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You've to get very high levels to get prescribed chelation. Usually, high levels and symptoms, but in some instances high levels alone. I think 40 was the Rx cutoff. I don''t do primary care anymore but I have never seen an adult treated.

I was at 20, got down to 8 over three years, still shoot indoors and even more so than in the past, but with a whole lot of different procedures. 

 

I don't even want to know what the discussion with the insurance company will be for a hobbyist shooter, since the Rx would also mandate stopping a voluntary exposure.

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On ‎4‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 8:21 PM, devilsdenguns said:

 But with an 8 Public health here hit me up and I had to go in for an interview and a follow up. I still have to go in to get retested.

 

"I had..."

 

"I still have....."

 

Where is here that you have to do all these things?  I would politely tell "Public Health" to mind their own business

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone have recommendations for best wipes to remove lead from my hands? I’d love to have something I can throw in my range bag so I can wipe my hands off before snacking, grabbing water, and before I get back in my car. 

 

In the past I’ve just tried my best to grab the outside of packaging and not touch the opening of the water bottle or the food itself, but this thread and a couple others make me think wipes are worth getting. 

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Hoppe sells wipes.  Also there's a brand called D-lead.  I don't know if they are actually different from normal wet wipes though.  My lead tests are off the chart thanks to our local indoor range that I spent about 4 hours a week inside for the last 3 years.

 

 

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I think that he majority of lead ingestion for shooters is via the air due to shooting in confined indoor ranges with poor ventilation. Sure you get exposed to lead by handling ammo or props that get shot (Steel, etc). But the hand to mouth exposure is usually dramatically less than what most people think. I have seen several shooters who have solid physical handling of lead mitigation processes that still had high lead levels because they shot a lot in poorly ventilated indoor ranges. For them their lead levels went down after they stopped shooting in the poorly ventilated ranges. Shooting indoors may be convenient, but it dramatically increases your lead exposure versus shooting outdoors. 

 

On average I shoot and reload 30 - 40K a year which equates to handling ammo or shooting several times a week. I don't do anything "Special" to mitigate my physical exposure to lead other than washing my hands after reloading ammo or at the end of my range session. I avoid shooting indoors as much as possible and refuse to RO shooters with excessively smokey ammo indoors. The bulk of my shooting is done outdoors. I get my lead levels checked every year and it is usually in the 2 - 3 range.

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Just now, CHA-LEE said:

I think that he majority of lead ingestion for shooters is via the air due to shooting in confined indoor ranges with poor ventilation. Sure you get exposed to lead by handling ammo or props that get shot (Steel, etc). But the hand to mouth exposure is usually dramatically less than what most people think. I have seen several shooters who have solid physical handling of lead mitigation processes that still had high lead levels because they shot a lot in poorly ventilated indoor ranges. For them their lead levels went down after they stopped shooting in the poorly ventilated ranges. Shooting indoors may be convenient, but it dramatically increases your lead exposure versus shooting outdoors. 

 

On average I shoot and reload 30 - 40K a year which equates to handling ammo or shooting several times a week. I don't do anything "Special" to mitigate my physical exposure to lead other than washing my hands after reloading ammo or at the end of my range session. I avoid shooting indoors as much as possible and refuse to RO shooters with excessively smokey ammo indoors. The bulk of my shooting is done outdoors. I get my lead levels checked every year and it is usually in the 2 - 3 range.

 

Agreed that shooting indoors with poor ventilation is bad no matter what you do to mitigate other routes of exposure. 

 

When you shoot outdoors, do you do anything to clean lead off of your hands before snacking, or do you not bother? I’m thinking it’s worth it to try to clean them even if shooting indoors is worse anyway.

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