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This evening I ran into one of my local indoor range's salesmen and instructors, a super nice guy I first met when I purchased my first pistol and began patronizing this establishment about three years ago. He told me he recently resigned his position there, as his Pb levels tested too high!

To be honest, I have considered Pb exposure when shooting at this range. I make sure to shoot there only in the mornings when it first opens and I am almost always the only one shooting at the outset, and I do not have lengthy sessions. Still, I am certain I am getting a dose of Pb.

Do you all think about this type of thing? Do you get tested periodically? Do you avoid shooting at indoor ranges out of concern for this?

TIA

rx7sig
 

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I ask for a lead measurement at my annual physical with bloodwork. I started getting checked when I got into competitive shooting and reloading. Once I changed over to plated and coated bullets from plain lead and moly coated, the reported levels dropped by a third. The doc doesn't know what to do with the numbers reported, but I do. I'm well below any level of concern.

FWIW, nearly all my shooting is outdoors. I think if I shot mostly indoors, my levels would be higher.
 

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Wow! Never really thought about it.
Great, something else to be concerned about, or maybe not.
@KILTED COWBOY,

Heavy metal (Pb, Hg, etc.) poisoning is no joke. Very nasty repercussions! I first became aware of the consequences of Pb poisoning when I began casting my own weights for scuba diving, in the late 1980's.

rx7sig
 

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I have handled lead all my life. I started getting blood monitoring in the 90's. Yearly I have had to take lead handling training and refresher courses. My blood lead content is on the same level as someone who lives near a major freeway or under a flightline of an airport without any other exposures.
The only people I know who have been poisoned were welders and painters who also were smokers. The guy I know that got it worst was a welder that always had a lit smoke in his hands and a cup of coffee near him. He took the same training as everyone else but ignored it. When it came time for his blood draw he was way over the limits of safe exposure.

The same goes for working with bullets, lead and scrap lead. wash your hands before smoking, eating, or drinking, and the possibility of lead exposure drops by over 90%.

Indoor ranges pose another problem. they used to use angled steel plates, snail traps, etc... that would smash the bullet to stop it. but most ranges now use a decelerating medium. They use sand piles, rubber blocks, or rubber mulch. By keeping the bullets intact they don't reduce them to powder, and the cleanup is much easier.
The vent systems have to provide fresh air behind the shooter and pull the smoke toward the targets.
I met a gal who was a small arms trainer for the airforce, that got poisoned when the vent system at her range failed but they kept shooting to stay on schedule. She said it was about a week before it was fixed. She had to go to treatments for over a year to try and get that lead out of her system, and then semi annual blood testing ever since. That's where I met her.
She said even with all the doors open the smoke would get so bad you couldn't see the targets!

My take away is wash your hands before you eat, don't take food or drink with you, and don't smoke! DR
 

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I found out about my lead levels through a back door. My kidney function started to decrease and the MD started searching for the cause. At that time I was shooting frequently at our club's indoor range. It is a rimfire only range and at that time had no air circulation system. It was particularly alarming because we held team shoots and introductory sessions for kids there.

After my experience, I led the effort to put in an air handling system that was capable of exchanging the room air frequently. The other major change to operations was not sweeping the floor after sessions. The floor has to be wet mopped, so the lead dust isn't disturbed -- that makes dealing with the brass difficult. The airborne stuff is the big problem.

Be cautious about lead exposure. Once the range was fixed and I started proper care of my hands (Outer's hand cleaning wipes are great), my lead levels dropped, but the kidney damage is permanent.
 

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I shoot a bit of lead round ball in my flintlock.
I do wash my hands after a shooting session but I would say I never thought about it much.
Impossible not to handle lead with this type of ammo and I am sure I put my fingers in my mouth a few times every session.
 

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I never really thought about it. I played with mercury often as a kid, (we had a big glass bottle of it) and when I was a teen in the 70's, would cast bullets with/for Dad. I joined the Navy in the late 70's, where I spent much of my sea duty time in radiation areas, some of that time was pre OSHA (OSHA didn't always apply to what we did in the Navy). One of the things our chief had us doing was painting the bilge (bottom of the boat) with epoxy polyamide paint without a respirator (wasn't required). We were 'very happy' around lunch time, and the chief sent us home to 'sleep it off'. Not making light of the issue, just stating facts.

That being said, most of my shooting is done outdoors, and I wash my hands afterwards.


ETA: we also had some asbestos rocks that we played with.
 

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I never really thought about it. I played with mercury often as a kid, (we had a big glass bottle of it) and when I was a teen in the 70's, would cast bullets with/for Dad. I joined the Navy in the late 70's, where I spent much of my sea duty time in radiation areas, some of that time was pre OSHA (OSHA didn't always apply to what we did in the Navy). One of the things our chief had us doing was painting the bilge (bottom of the boat) with epoxy polyamide paint without a respirator (wasn't required). We were 'very happy' around lunch time, and the chief sent us home to 'sleep it off'. Not making light of the issue, just stating facts.

That being said, most of my shooting is done outdoors, and I wash my hands afterwards.


ETA: we also had some asbestos rocks that we played with.
I bet you also rode your bike without a helmet, rode around in the back of a station wagon without a seat belt on.
How in the wide world of sports did you ever make it to adulthood?
 

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Excellent thread as I think most people who shoot never even consider the issue.

I was under the impression that most states have adopted a building code section that covers indoor gun ranges (and shoot houses) and specifies how much air must circulate, and more importantly, that the air must be sucked up, filtered, and vented to outside, instead of merely being blown around and out. I might be wrong about that.

@KILTED COWBOY Yup we did all that...and worse. We drank water from outdoor hoses, although the connoisseurs always let the water run until it got cool. As a kid, I rode in a closed up car, in the backseat with no seatbelts (I even got up on the platform underneath the rear window) while both parents smoked constantly. It was a wonder anyone could see to drive.

The worst thing I did was collect a piece of Trinitite, which I kept in my bedside drawer for years. I got that piece on site when we visited the place in 1955. (My dad was a geologist). This site says it was safe, which it probably wasn't, and that it was all scooped up in 1952, and that is definitely not true. There was a lot of it lying around when we were there.

https://atomicrockshop.com/index.html

BTW...Almost all "Trinitite" you buy today is fake. It can be easily created. Only a Geiger counter can tell you if it is real or not.
 

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This is what the gun range I belong to has on their FAQ page

What kind of air ventilation does FGC provide?
We will meet and/or exceed all relevant EPA and NIOSH standards. The ventilation system is a state-of-the-art HEPA filtration system. All airborne firearm discharge (gas, powder, lead, etc…) gets sucked downrange and the particulate is then filtered out. This system maximizes user comfort and safety.
 

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A radiator repair shop also exposes the workers to lead. They are constantly fluxing and soldering. One fellow i knew had to change jobs because of it. Our shop put in a tank to perform the same repairs but on a much smaller scale. I never did get tested but was only there for a year or two. I was lucky to read an article in the American Rifleman back in the early 80's on the subject and so was careful with reloading and handling of lead. This was done in a corner of the basement and though I wanted to cast my own bullets from all the wheel weights I'd saved, I never did because we had young children in the home at the time.

I really don't care for indoor ranges. 90% to 95% of my shooting has been done outdoors. From what I read, we should also be concerned about mercury from eating a large amount of ocean predator fish. Neither danger should be taken lightly.
 

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Even if I just touch my range bag, I'm off to the sink. Carry my firearm? Sink. Go to the range? Use lead wipes until I can get to a sink.

During my commercial/industrial construction career, I was exposed to seriously harmful chemicals and paints, plutonium, lead, and asbestos. During the last half or third of my career, regular OSHA and MSHA training elevated my and everyone else's awareness of the dangers of being exposed to that stuff.

So, when it comes to my firearms stuff, I am diligent about evaluating exposure risk and hygiene. I saw the document jmf552 posted in #3 above at one of the indoor ranges I use.
 
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I sure hope I have developed a strong constitution from all the crap I was exposed to as a kid.
Mom and dad and every grown up i knew blowing smoke in my face.
Dad spraying DDT out of one of those hand crank sprayers all over us kids.
Playing with mercury out of broken thermometers.
Its a wonder I only have two eyes and ten fingers, figured i would have grown a few more by now.
 
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