Poison on the range: Lead exposure
This is somethng I didn't do a lot of thinking about before Istarted shooting. The bottom line is that there can be significant exposure to lead at the range. Depending on how often and how much you shoot, you may be getting a dose that could hurt you. Lead is removed VERY slowly from your body. The half life can be as long as twenty years (half the dose excreted every 20 years). Your most significant exposure on the range would be from inhaling or swallowing the microscopic lead particles.
The symptoms of lead poisoning involve multiple organ systems (lungs, blood, bone, brain, etc.). Symptoms can include:
Loss of memory, and difficulty in concentration.
Fatigue, insomnia, headaches, joint pain, abdominal and gastrointestinal probs
Irritability and aggressiveness.
Loss of sexual interest. Impotence.
Neurological symptoms, such as hand twitching.
Elevated blood pressure.
In women, menstrual irregularity and decreased fertility.
Kidney damage and/or liver damage.
Sore or bleeding gums
There are several things you can do to minimize your exposure.
Do not smoke, eat or drink while you are at the range
Wash your hands thoroughly after shooting
Wash your clothes (separately) after shooting
Shower and wash your hair after shooting
Use jacketed rounds
Wear gloves when cleaning your weapon
If one of my patients told me that s/he was using an indoor shooting range on a regular basis, I would seriously consider ordering a blood lead level. depending on the results, follow up testing might have to be done. Discuss it with your physician at your regular physical visit.
Check out some of these links - the one from cornered cat is especially good