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Got my Lead Level tested.

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Colorado4Wheel, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Level was between normal limits. It was on the high side of normal. I was really worried because I made some mistakes at the beginning with some elevated lead temps and I know that is dangerous. So good news on that front.
  2. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    An old friend of mine got tested and found he was at extremely high levels. He worked at an aviation engine rebuilding company and airplanes use/used leaded gas. When he was cleaning heads he was exposed to lead particulates as dust.


  3. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

    Jan 3, 2009
    Smyrna, GA
    Glad to hear it, Steve. Next exam I have I'm going to get mine checked as well. I try to be careful washing my hands and stuff, not sure about the dangers of how much I shoot at the indoor range....
  4. sellersm

    sellersm disciplinare

    May 28, 2009
    okay, holding back all the comments about 'being normal'... :supergrin:

    If they're a bit high, look at it this way: you'd be your own radiation shield!
  5. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I cast & shoot nothing but lead bullets in most of my guns. My last years levels were wll below normal. Shooting indoors is the fastest way to high lead levels other than maybe smoking & eating while handling lead. Cast in a well vented area, no issues. You can't get the lead hot enough to vaporize (above 1100deg). Clean your casting are w/ a damp rag every now & then to remove any lead dust from the sprue opening & little issue. Now not everyone's body accepts outside contaminants the same, so caution is always the better choice.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  6. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    I know I made some mistakes exposing myself to lead dust in the past. I plan to be much more careful in the future.
  7. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Wood butcher

    Jan 24, 2004
    Actually, with a little bit of precaution, that isn't the case. My job puts me behind seven shooters for two hours per day, four days a week. As a normal part of my checkup, I get a lead check annually. "Normal" is different based on age, but for me, the high teens is perfectly acceptable. My Doctor knows what I do (wants to take the course now!) and watches that number carefully.

    Ours is an indoor range and this is my tenth year. I make sure the ventilation system is changed often and we use "D-Lead" soap in the bathroom. The rule is that everyone "d-leads" before they leave the area. We also require full length pants, shoes (no flip flops or anything close to that) and full shirts as opposed to muscle shirts.

    I don't cast much anymore, but as long as you don't expose yourself to the dross and wash your hands and wipe things down when you're done, you are actually exposed to less toxic lead than when you tumble brass. It's those primers which contain lead styphanite (sp) that gives us fits.
  8. ChrisJn

    ChrisJn "Old Bill"

    Dec 30, 2008
    Baldwin Co, Alabama
    If I can add words of advice to anyone who shoots on indoor ranges.
    Back in the late '60's maybe early '70's all the London indoor police ranges had to be closed down because all the firearms instructors were found to have extremely elevated lead count in their blood. This was due to very bad ventilation in the old underground cellar type ranges that we were using at the time. A fortune was spent in upgrading the ventilation in these ranges and there was a mad scramble to find property where outdoor ranges could be built and for a while it meant busing police out of London to distant military ranges for training and qualification.
    Be warned. If you use indoor ranges it well worth having your blood tested.
    If it is high find somewhere else to shoot!
  9. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Our local indoor range has HORRIBLE ventilation. I used to shoot there a good amount but it's been 3 years at least. I shoot outdoors exclusively now.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  10. ChrisJn

    ChrisJn "Old Bill"

    Dec 30, 2008
    Baldwin Co, Alabama
    Good move!
  11. Hoser

    Hoser Ninja

    May 22, 2002
    I get mine checked every 6 months.

    Still in the normal range, but like you the high side of it.
  12. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Call the doc and see if they can get you the actual number. Truly normal would be zero. That said, anything under 20 is basically a non-issue. I had mine checked a couple of years ago and it was 7. I just had it checked and it came back "normal", I didn't bother to track down the number since I figure if they don't seem concerend about it, I'm not going to get worried over it.
  13. jdavionic

    jdavionic NRA Member

    May 1, 2008
    See what happens with too much lead exposure :supergrin:
  14. n2extrm


    Feb 24, 2009
    Steve glad it is in the normal range, even high normal is better then just too high.

    I think the indoor shooting is a bigger issue then casting properly. Not that I know much about casting. I just look at the exposure risks, not much lead vapor in casting. Shooting well I think it's a bit higher.

    I have a few friends that all had very high levels, they all shot indoors slot and had no other exposures, did not cast or reload. Just shooting in poorly vented indoor ranges.

    Personally I have all but given up on the indoor ranges, except maybe on a rare occasion. They all seem to have terrible ventilation around here.
  15. ChrisJn

    ChrisJn "Old Bill"

    Dec 30, 2008
    Baldwin Co, Alabama
    Perhaps my earlier statement needs a little clarification.
    Let me re-iterate. It was the instructors, NOT the trainees/qualifiers, who had the high lead content. The instructors were in the ranges 4-6 hours a day five days a week. Once the ventilation was sorted and the instructors rotated between indoor and outdoor ranges I believe the problem went away.
    So, if you are using indoor ranges a lot (don't know what would constitute "a lot") just be careful and have a blood test run.
    Be safe out there.
  16. ncglock19


    Jan 6, 2010
    Apex, NC

    I was always taught that the eye protection was not (and could not) stop bullets, but was to help deflect ricochets and keep lead dust out of your eyes.

    I washed hands and face with cold water (hot water opens the pores) as prescribed by my instructors.

    Just wondering if any of you might have thought about wearing one of the painters masks to keep from breathing in lead dust while indoors.

  17. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I will maintane that working an indoor range is worse than doing anything else shooting wise. You are exposed to lead priming styphinates. I know a SAPD officer, 10yrs as RO, had to take a med retirement due to high lead levels, 200X normal. Now can you do things to lesson the affects, sure. Wash your hands & face often. Limit your direct exsposure to airborn lead dust from actual firings, but you are still @ high risk. Now as I noted, not everyone takes to outside contaminants the same, so you may just be lucky. I don't like to rely on lucky. Start wearing at least a N95 dust mask if not a respirator. We like you DOn, like to have you around for along while.:wavey:
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  18. G36_Me


    Aug 4, 2009
    I shoot a ton at my indoor range. About a year ago I asked the Dr. to check it and they said I had to go to a lab to get it done... so I never did. I'm going to have it checked but have to go to the hospital lab. Hopefully, I won't have anything to report back.