Poison on the range: Lead exposure

This is a discussion on Poison on the range: Lead exposure within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by DoctorBob I just saw my personal physician for a vist and asked him to draw a blood lead level. Turns out it ...

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Thread: Poison on the range: Lead exposure

  1. #46
    Senior Member Array Spidey2011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorBob View Post
    I just saw my personal physician for a vist and asked him to draw a blood lead level.
    Turns out it was 17 mcg/dL.
    Should be less than 3 which is US average or less than 10 which is OK but not great.

    With LOTS of practice, lessons, IDPA matches, etc. I may not have been careful enough about exposure.
    I take this to mean that I really need to step up the prophylaxis and exposure control and maybe even use some lead free ammo...
    I'm no expert, but I don't think you could get those levels even if you were at a range for hours a day. Sounds to me like you might be getting exposure from something else as well.

    I'll take my chances with what I'm doing. I'm not the most careful, but I feel it's sufficient. I'd rather chance it than go nuts trying to prevent something that probably won't be a problem anytime soon.

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  3. #47
    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    We had a wonderful program here where hunters would donate venison to help feed the hungry. Due to latest hysteria involving lead the charity was shut down. Lead = poison fits the Anti-gun crowds template nicely. It will be and has been used as an angle to erode our 2-A rights. As in all things sanitation/protection and common sense needs to prevail. Hysteria = Freedoms lost!
    While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, ... and they will not escape. 1Th 5:3

  4. #48
    Senior Member Array DoctorBob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chivvalry View Post
    Can you describe "LOTS of practice"? Is it a few hours a month at the range or a few hours a day?
    2 to 3 hours at a time 2 to 3 times a week; plus cleaning guns (with gloves - but sometimes with a bore snake and bare hands); plus some indoor IDPA and bowling pin shoots at least twice a month for 7 months.

    That's probably a lot more than most people are doing in a short period of time.

    I found some IRT (indoor range training) ammo at Amuniton to Go in 9mm for $0.32 per round shipped (versus $0.24 at WallyMart) that is Total Metal Jacket and is supposed to eliminate lead exposure. I'll give it a try.

    Ammunition To Go : 50rds - 9mm Federal American Eagle IRT 124gr. TMJ Ammo [AE9N1] - $14.95

    NO OTHER SOURCE of lead exposure - trust me on that one.

    I think it emphasizes that one should take the problem seriously and BE CAREFUL with this stuff. Use of a mask might help a little but it probably isn't going to fly ("who was that masked man..."). Hand washing, showering and clothes washing and the use of less toxic ammo is the way to go. I'll recheck in about 6 months and see if it is coming down.

  5. #49
    Senior Member Array Spidey2011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorBob View Post
    I found some IRT (indoor range training) ammo at Amuniton to Go in 9mm for $0.32 per round shipped (versus $0.24 at WallyMart) that is Total Metal Jacket and is supposed to eliminate lead exposure. I'll give it a try.

    Ammunition To Go : 50rds - 9mm Federal American Eagle IRT 124gr. TMJ Ammo [AE9N1] - $14.95
    You should be able to find some Blazer Aluminum Cased TMJ for around $10 a box.

  6. #50
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    Another way to lower your lead uptake is to make sure your body is saturated with calcium (that is what the body "thinks" lead is).

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fish View Post
    I shoot weekly at an outdoor range.
    I wash hands after shooting but not at range (no running water) but at restaurant before eating right after.
    I also wash after cleaning guns.
    Since I have blood work done several times a year,I just get my MD to add a lead level test annually.
    Last test was 10/2009 and was 4. test says reference range less than 10 mcg/dL.
    Based on what the OP says,I think I'll talk to my Doc.
    A level of 4 is less than the environmental level found in many people living in large cities. A level of 4 calls for no specific intervention. Continue to follow safe shooting practices. I do recommend the wear of designated outer clothing while shooting, in other words, clothing designated strictly for that purpose and nothing else. Outside the house, take the shirt and pants off, put them into a plastic baggie. You can take them out of the baggie as they fall into the washing machine. This way, any lead dust on the clothing does not get distributed in the air of your home. Wash your hands after handling the clothing. If you are a smoker, never smoke when your hands could be contaminated with lead dust. You can prevent the vast majority of lead exposure with simple practices; no need to get paranoid.

  8. #52
    Member Array mandalitten's Avatar
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    Lead dust at indoor ranges can be a problem since you breath it in without you knowing it. Pregnant women and children should be real careful at indoor ranges.
    That's why a proper air system is important at indoor ranges: There will be vents in the rear right behind you that blows air down range. Half way down range there will be an exhaust fan with a filter and there will be one more at the end. Targets should be retrievable so you don't walk down on the lead dust. The backstop also need to contain the lead (no sand). We are planning on putting in a new state of the art system at my club and I think it's estimated at $250k. Until we get the new indoor range, I will shoot outside.

  9. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoFan View Post
    Another way to lower your lead uptake is to make sure your body is saturated with calcium (that is what the body "thinks" lead is).
    This is not as simple as you have stated. Some calcium supplements have in the past contained some lead as a contaminant. It has been shown that the calcium in these supplements helps to prevent the absorption of lead. But any effect of calcium on occupational or environmental lead exposure is debatable. There are some trials in children with calcium containing food supplements which did not show any effect on lead absorption after a few weeks. There was a study in Mexico in pregnant women which showed reduced lead absorption versus tortilla consumption (tortillas being high in calcium), but the effect was not statistically significant. Vitamin D not only enhances the absorption of calcium but can enhance the absorption of lead. Most calcium supplements these days contain Vitamin D. High intake of calcium can lead to kidney stones. In addition, since the emphasis has shifted to calcium's prevention of osteoporosis, there is now new evidence suggesting that high calcium intake is related to an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

    You would be well advised to place you faith in known and tested hygienic and engineering measures rather than "saturating" your body with calcium, whatever that means.
    Hopyard likes this.

  10. #54
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    Obviously, there are two categories of individuals at risk for lead exposure at shooting ranges - customers and employees. Since the workers at shooting ranges are potentially exposed to lead, both OSHA and NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the CDC) are interested in this topic. Anyone wanting to pursue the topic in detail should check out NIOSH's web page devoted to indoor firing ranges: CDC - Indoor Firing Ranges - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic. There is a wealth of material at that site, including prevention of lead exposure, ventilation issues, noise control issues, and reports of inspections and hazard evaluations done at indoor ranges. There are also some links detailing some hefty fines incurred by ranges that have failed to maintain the standards of protection.

    For information on the effects of lead in the human body, a very good information source is the Agency for Toxics Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR, another part of CDC. Check out their toxicological profile for lead at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles...p?id=96&tid=22. It is written in language aimed toward the exposed individual, not at professionals, so it is very comprehensible.

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