Author Topic: take on lead contamination  (Read 5793 times)

Offline jayson

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take on lead contamination
« on: May 27, 2013, 10:26:21 AM »
Ive been reading about lead risks during shooting but there is very little info on lead risks during concealed carry.  What's your guys views on the matter? I'm curious to see what precautions others take especially with an everyday carry piece like the r9.
Jayson D

Offline backupr9

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 11:09:32 AM »
Your major lead risk during concealed carry is the inadvertent entry of a lead bullet into your body!  The risk of lead contamination for shooters comes when cleaning the weapon...hands should be fully and carefully washed afterwards.
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Offline jayson

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 12:53:33 PM »
Its true that is the biggest risk. But if there is significant lead exposure when cleaning what happens when I put the pistol in my pocket afterwards.  I guess its just a matter of cleaning it very well but was wondering what thoughts you all have.  I've heard of a wipe especially made for lead, time for some research.
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Offline Reinz

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 05:04:14 PM »
Howdy Jayson - I'll try to make this as consise as possible.  The ways for lead levels to increase in your body from "bullet lead" not "chemical lead" as used in products like fuel and paint is through entering the body via your orifices.  That being your mouth and nose. And you do have to watch your eyes.  Without being gross or picky, yes, the other orifices count too, but you would really have to be trying to get lead into your body in those cases.

The main victims of lead poisoning in our hobby are bullet casters.  They are dealing with molten lead.  The toxic fumes are roughly above 900 degress F.  Fortunately, they cast in the 700 range give or take.  However, here is were there problem lies, not only with casters, but reloaders as well, as well as anyone handling lead.  While lead in its solid state is not absorbed into or through the skin, it does find its way into the body through the carelessness of the lead handler.  Here is how:

Smoking, eating, rubbing eyes, picking/rubbing/blowing nose while handling lead.  IT IS IMPERATIVE TO WASH HANDS WELL BEFORE DOING SO!  Because there are micro traces of solid lead on your hands from handling.

It sounds so simple, yet is so hard when it is 100 degrees in the shop and you need to wipe your eyes or scratch just the inside of your nostril.
Or-  you grab a tissue to pick you nose to get that bothersome nugget out of there and your tissue has a blow out, Darn it!

Your are thirsty and grab a coke, when you pop the top your thumb brushed the rim of the can where you going to put your mouth.


It's easy to raise your lead levels, but easy to watch what you are doing.

As far as cleaning guns -  Can lead traces pass through the skin?  Yes, with the proper carrier.  Is Hoppes the proper carrier? who knows?  If that is a concern, you can always wear latex/surgical glovers while cleaning your guns.


I cast bullets for a living.  I shoot competition every weekend. I am a timer/operator or help on the line when I am not shooting, so I am exposed to other shooters "lead" smoke.   And, I reload every week. and I spend hours cleaning at least 4 guns a week. So as you see, I have high lead exposure every day of the week!   

I get my lead levels checked twice a year and they are very high.  But not so high as to need medical treatment.

I doubt your blood levels are a fraction of what mine are.

I don't think you have anything to worry about. :)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 08:04:43 PM by Reinz »
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Offline backupr9

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2013, 04:14:15 PM »
Thank you Reinz for an excellent and informational response.
"Those who would sacrifice a little freedom for a little order, will lose both, and deserve neither." 
Thomas Jefferson

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Offline Reinz

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2013, 07:58:39 PM »
You're welcome, the big rule is to  Wash your hands, even after shooting, before you eat!  Especially, if you have been picking up brass!
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Offline jayson

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 06:30:01 PM »
Thanks so much for the info!  Very detailed.  I found some wipes called D-wipe which pick up lead and I will use those to wipe down the outsides of my guns after cleaning.  They have no adverse effects to gun finishes.  As always I appreciate the great info I always find on this forum.
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Offline Richard S

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2013, 12:07:51 PM »
Reinz:

Thank you for that very informative post on an extremely important subject.

I have a friend who spent a lot of time in an indoor firing range as a firearms instructor for a government agency. Following his retirement a few years ago, he began to manifest symptoms of high blood pressure, numbness of the extremities, muscular weakness, recurrent headaches, and mood swings.

His wife pushed him to obtain a medical diagnosis.  The blood tests revealed that he was suffering from lead poisoning.  After a comprehensive treatment regimen, including the standard chelation therapy, holistic remedies, and a series of detox baths, he appears to have made a remarkable recovery. 

It was a close call.  If his wife had not goaded him into obtaining a diagnosis (he being a stubborn type of man) he would probably be dead by now.
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Offline Reinz

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Re: take on lead contamination
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 11:51:04 PM »
Richard, many indoor ranges have not updated their filtration systems.  It is not only extremely expensive, but astronomical to operate the good ones.

Here is my simpe acid test of a poor filtration system:

After I shoot 1-2 hrs, I go into the restroom and snort and hack a big Lougie into the urinal. ( please excuse my crudeness) 

If it is Black in color, after that short period of time, I sure would not frequent that place daily on my lunch break. That filtration system is Not doing it's job, YOURS is!, i.e., your lungs!  Which means you are taking in lead. :P  :'(  >:(

Granted, a few times a month is Not going to hurt you, however, like the gentleman above, you sure would Not want to work there.
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