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At my CCW renewal the instructor talked a little about lead contamination and that we should have a blood test on a regular basis. I can see the value of that if you worked at a range.

How much exposure do us regular guys get, who only go to the range a couple times a month?

I shoot/reload copper jacketed bullets and use an outdoor range. If I shot exposed lead bullets at an indoor range or cast my own bullets I might be more worried.
 

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I used to do lead abatement consulting. It takes very little lead to put your blood over the limit of 40 micrograms per decileter. Remember that EVERYTHING on a range is covered with unburnt and partially burnt powder, bullet lube residue, and lead. That being said I shoot at least two pistol matches per month, two indoor leagues in the winter, and HP rifle in the summer. I probably fire over 2K rounds per month. Last year my BLL (blood lead level) was <10. The actual number was 7, but anything under 10 is considered not worth reporting. I am very careful to wash my hands and face before I leave the range or club where I'm shooting, and don't cast my own bullets. There was an older shooter (58 yrs old) at one of my pistol matches who had a BLL of almost 40. He was going to have to take some time off to try and bring it down. Everyone is different so I would have it checked at least once per year.
 

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I too

wonder about this. My stepfather works at a gunstore/range. His level was very high when tested. So high, in fact, the state investigated. All employes must now wear masks when cleaning up on the range.

I do a lot of indoor shooting. I tend to wash up immediately afterwards. Sometimes, if i am shooting a lot, I may take a break and go wash up.
 

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I have switched over to jacketed bullets a few years ago on all my pistol's, including the ones I reload also. Its just for a good piece of mind.
Bill
 

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I work in the electronics industry, and we have to take a corporate lab safety course every year. For us, the problem is solder and soldering. We've been taught that unless temps get to over 900 deg. F, that lead vapors are not a problem. However, spools of solder and paste solder have particulate lead contamination. The advice is "wash your hands -- wash your hands -- wash your hands". No food or drink in the lab is assumed.

Extrapolating this to the range, temps get hot enough to vaporize lead. Some of this will stay as vapor. Some of the rest will condense on whatever is nearby -- powder residue, dirt and dust in the air, etc. Jacketted or plated bullets will eliminate those bullets as a source, but unjacketted bullets are a problem. Gas checks on those help.

Good range design, where the air flow is from behind the shooters to downrange, will help pull the contaminates away from the shooters. Still, when you clean your gun, and when you step off the firing line, "wash your hands -- wash your hands -- wash your hands." Your clothing might also be contaminated somewhat. So, be careful. Imagine yourself as just being sprinkled with micro-particulates of lead (because you probably were), and take precautions.

Hankster.
 

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Does anyone know how long it takes for lead to pass through your system?
What I mean is once you are at a number is that for weeks, months, years,
decades?

Regards,
Greyson
 

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It can take as little as six weeks, or as much as six months. It all depends on your diet and blood. People who eat alot of fried and fast foods are much more likley to develop higher BLL's than people who eat better. This is given equal exposure. You can live on a diet of Big Mac's, (personally I wouldn't), and have no BLL if you aren't exposed.
 

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Good thread! I always thoroughly wash my hands after doing any kind of shooting, and after cleaning my guns. I think the most common ways of contamination are through breathing the fumes at improperly ventilated indoor ranges, and from individuals who don't wash their hands after shooting and cleaning their guns. I've also heard stories of competition shooters who go through many thousands of rounds per month having problems.
 

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Heavy metal exposure is cumlitave so a little goes a long way. The best defence is washing your hands and face, and avoiding badly ventilated ranges. As I posted earlier, it takes very very little lead to boost you BLL. One contractor I worked with saw workers eating paint chips to boost their BLL's so they would get the OSHA vacation. Breathing the fume dosen't contain as much lead as you would immagine, but the crap that builds up on flat surfaces is amazing.

Tedster said:
I've also heard stories of competition shooters who go through many thousands of rounds per month having problems.
 

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Cleaning your hand/face will be a MUST after any ranch time – both in door and out door. I am surprised how dirty my hands are after just a few hundred rounds (and I am not shooting Wolf)! :biglaugh:

Any other tip for the shooters out there – don’t go to the ranch before you are going to take a flight. I was told that the security screener (TSA) at the gate with the little "white cosmetic pad" is looking for bomb/gun powder trace on you (and your luggage). You will most likely fail the test because of the gunpowder from your bullet. :p

Better be safe than sorry.
 

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I've heard that red meat and bourbon helps the
body flush out the nasty old lead. At least that's
my story and I'm stickin' to it. ;)

Rosco
 

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Rosco Benson said:
I've heard that red meat and bourbon helps the
body flush out the nasty old lead. At least that's
my story and I'm stickin' to it. ;)

Rosco
Brother I was under the same impression!! :rock: :biglaugh:
 

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Not only remember to wash up after shooting, but after cleaning and loading. Most chemicals and metals don't mix well with human physiology. ;)

Iron-rich foods (along with vitamin C) help reduce lead levels. So, red meat is a good choice, :cool: as well as fish, chicken, iron-fortified cereals, and many dried fruits like raisins or prunes. Foods high in Calcium help prevent lead absorption, like milk, yogurt, cheese, and mainly green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens. I am not a pill-pusher, but some multivitamins are good for these ingredients, especially ones that emphasize "plus iron" and calcium (like One-A-Day Women's formula). However, I prefer to recommend a diet of all the kale, spinach, and broccoli one can stomach whether exposed to lead or not, with or without the bourbon. :)

Also, drink lots of water. At a minimum, take your weight in pounds, divide by three, and drink that many ounces of water a day. If you weigh 180 pounds, try to drink at least 60 ounces of water each day -- which is about a 2-liter bottle full. (Remove the sugar-water first.) This, in addition to about 30 ounces in other sources of water, like food, coffee, and bourbon, is what the body needs to properly operate. (Also, it helps prevent hangovers...) Most people are constantly dehydrated.
 

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NaturalSelector

Canadian Firearms Centre spent $22 million researching this subject and found that a bottle of 12 year old single malt Scotch Whiskey and a 16 oz. Alberta T-Bone, cooked medium rare and smothered in mushrooms with a tater on the side covered in butter will reduce your lead levels to below 5 over the course of six months if eaten twice a week.

For those vegetarians out there consuming a bottle of 12 year old single malt once a week has approximately 75% of the net effect of lead reduction but the study cautioned you might die an alcoholic.

Why do I get these AA membership forms mailed to me?

Stay Safe
 

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a BIG +10,000 on washing carefully b4 getting tested. The first time I got tested I went to the county health dept. They told me it would be probably 6 weeks before I got the results. THE NEXT DAY I got a call from them asking what time THAT DAY I could come down and be retested. As someone said, OSHA limit is 40, I tested the first time at around 160!!!! On retest they very carefully cleaned my skin...Next results? around 38..At that time I was heavily into reloading and shooting at an indoor range so I got more exposure than most.
 

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Also, if you tumble and use a cage to clean your brass, do that outside. The media cloud has to be filled with lead dust.

Wearing gloves when cleaning your guns also helps I believe.
 

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when my wife and i first started shooting together about three years back we took an NRA basic pistol class together. they brought up the concern about lead, it's affects and what to be aware of in that regard. it was a good add on to the basic pistol shooting focus on their part. we have been cautious of the concern since then. both of the ranges we go to are well ventilated and the "wash up" thing is ingrained in us now as well as already passed on to our kids who shoot with us.

BE SAFE, shoot well. :rock:
 

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I knew a guy who had a problem with it once. The source of contamination was smoking while at the range. Lead on hands, hands on cigarette, cigarette in mouth.....

Quit smoking. Problem solved.
 

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I had a BLL of 38 after picking up lead dust from a very dirty indoor range. I gave up shooting. Two years later and with medication, I'm at a BLL of 11 and shooting once again. I have a new respect for Pb contamination. I will not go through that again.

Boresight
 

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If you have kids, you should be even more carefull. Kids are much more sensitive to lead contamination. It can severely impair their developmet. Us old folks have already passed puberty(I hope) and it is not as big a problem. So, when you come home from a day of shooting, change your clothes before you give your son/daughter a hug....:rock:
 
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