Lead Exposure

This is a discussion on Lead Exposure within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Based on a comment in another thread here on DC exposure to lead in a household with guns can be harmful to children (and adults?). ...

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Thread: Lead Exposure

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    Member Array Tenncvol's Avatar
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    Lead Exposure

    Based on a comment in another thread here on DC exposure to lead in a household with guns can be harmful to children (and adults?). Can some one explain the risk, if any, of handling ammunition containing lead.

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    Lead must be "ingested" to be harmful. It can be inhaled or swallowed. Mere contact on the skin is not hazardous. Simple precautions eliminate virtually any risk of lead poisoning.

    If using indoor ranges, use on well ventilated one. The airflow should be from the shooters stations back to the rear of the range. Wash hands and change clothes, if possible, after using an indoor range.
    If handling lead, wash hands afterwards. Keep them away from face and out of the nose!
    Some claim dust from case tumbling can cause lead particle to rise into the air. Tumble in a well-ventilated area or outside.

    Basically, keep lead out of your eyes, nose, and mouth and you'll be fine.
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    i would think that the risk of lead from shooting as a household risk would be absolutely minuscule, especially as it may affect parties other than the shooter. The protocols are still true: as the shooter, you should wash your hands after a day at the range. This is not just a lead thing as your exposure on your hands is minimal. It also includes powder residue and the like. I would make one other point. If you spend a lot of time at indoor ranges, lead poisoning is a very real concern. Make sure the range has good ventilation.

    But to your question, I have never heard of any third party in a home being harmed by lead ammunition (presuming the not-fired-at-them type.)
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    Let me preface this post with the following: I am neither a doctor, nor a lawyer, and these are my own opinions.

    As long as you are using jacketed, or plated, bullets, your problems with lead exposure are fairly small. In all likelihood you face more danger from exposure to the compounds in the primers of your cartridges than from the lead in the bullets. That is, of course unless you get shot; in that case, lead exposure could be fatal.

    As I have been taught, most lead hazards come from handling lead with bare hands and then eating without cleansing hands, or from inhaling lead fumes which can be present at shooting ranges and in lead-based products around your home. That is why we no longer have leaded gasoline, or lead-based paint.

    I work in stained glass which involves daily contact with lead and lead/tin alloys. My doctor tells me to wash my hands before eating and to be sure to keep drinks covered. My lead levels have never increased to a level of concern.

    As far as children being around bullets, as long as they do not eat them, or beat on them with hammers, there is not likely to be an issue. That being said, my thoughts only apply to jacketed, or plated bullets, not solid lead projectiles.

    Why, I must ask, would your children be coming into contact with live ammunition, or components without adult supervision?

    Upon further reflection, please contact your physician for the answer to this question, but be prepared to justify why you might possess live ammunition for any reason whatsoever. Seems like doctors are now on "need to know" basis.
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    Member Array mjbeam's Avatar
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    The main danger from lead is its inertia.

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    My guns have consumed a lot of lead over the years and I never worried about it. I only grew a prehensile tail within the past few years but it can come in handy for cleaning out gutters, retrieving the wife's cat that becomes stuck up a tree, or as a conversation piece at parties.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    My guns have consumed a lot of lead over the years and I never worried about it. I only grew a prehensile tail within the past few years but it can come in handy for cleaning out gutters, retrieving the wife's cat that becomes stuck up a tree, or as a conversation piece at parties.
    Interesting about the tail....does it help you speedload your sixguns faster?
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    Gosh I feel stupid! All these years I thought the antis wanted to ban guns out of irrational fear, when in fact its really a matter of concern for the environment and how lead levels will affect it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostMaker View Post
    Interesting about the tail....does it help you speedload your sixguns faster?
    No, but when I "fan" the Colt Single Action Army while shooting it with a normal two-handed hold, everyone on the firing line takes notice.
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    In all seriousness, I'm convinced that environmental concerns over lead are primarily driven by anti-gun, anti-hunting political interests who blow lead poisoning all out of perspective, and I always have been. Look for gradually tightening restrictions on acquisition and possession of our most useful projectile metal along with spiraling lead prices in coming years.
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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    I was told to just wash your hands in COLD water after handling ammunition, or shooting.

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    Yes, even small amount of lead can harm children. But preventing lead exposure to your kids is pretty simple.
    1. Have a pair of range shoes, keep them in a bag, use only at the range. This will keep you from tracking lead into the house. Shoes are one of the major ways lead is transported back to the house.
    2. Take off and wash your clothes when you get home. Don't sit in your favorite chair until you have changed. After changing clothes, wash up with soap to get rid of the lead on hands and other exposed parts.
    3. Keep your kids from handling your range bags and other stuff that is out at the range with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Basically, keep lead out of your eyes, nose, and mouth and you'll be fine.
    Have you seen a kid that keeps their hands out of their mouth?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Lead must be "ingested" to be harmful. It can be inhaled or swallowed. Mere contact on the skin is not hazardous. Simple precautions eliminate virtually any risk of lead poisoning.

    If using indoor ranges, use on well ventilated one. The airflow should be from the shooters stations back to the rear of the range. Wash hands and change clothes, if possible, after using an indoor range.
    If handling lead, wash hands afterwards. Keep them away from face and out of the nose!
    Some claim dust from case tumbling can cause lead particle to rise into the air. Tumble in a well-ventilated area or outside.

    Basically, keep lead out of your eyes, nose, and mouth and you'll be fine.
    My Mom taught me all that stuff before I went to kindergarten. Just substitute the word germs for lead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    My guns have consumed a lot of lead over the years and I never worried about it. I only grew a prehensile tail within the past few years but it can come in handy for cleaning out gutters, retrieving the wife's cat that becomes stuck up a tree, or as a conversation piece at parties.
    Your Funny Bone is in fine fettle today Sir.
    Firing a suppressed is on my Bucket List.

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