Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    I'm putting this in reloading since we are probably most likely to have an issue. I read a couple articles on lead and have seen several people have pretty high levels of lead from shooting indoors and reloading. I guess used brass is a big source. They say to be really careful with the dust from cleaning brass and sorting it. I never even considered that. I always wash my hands after reloading but I think I need to be more careful. I'm going to try to get my blood checked in the next month and I'll let you know how it turns out.
    I heard it on the Internet, it must be true.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    every year at my physical, I request it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    Back when I was a smallbore rifle competitor that shot 3 hours a day in an indoor range, I ended up getting it checked and this has been 25 years now so I can't remember the exact results, but whatever it was it wasn't an imminent health risk. I always used to wash my hands after shooting.

    I took a long break from any shooting only getting into it this past decade again and these days being a reloader and all I always wear nitrile gloves while reloading or cleaning firearms and sometimes picking up brass as well. I also wash my hands and after any shooting season I have handy wipes to wipe my hands off. For brass cleaning I always do wet tumbling so I don't have issues with dust.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    I did in 2015.

    My number: 7 ug/dL. For adults, it's no problem at all in the 0 - 19 ug/dL range.

    When tumbling brass, use disposable gloves and wear a nose and mouth mask AND plastic eye goggles that cover your eyes completely (like they do when you visit the dentist) when emptying the tumbler. All the dust from cleaning primer pockets, etc. is not good for your health. Periodically clean your tumbling media (with fabric softener sheets - I generally use 3-4 sheets and cut each sheet into 4 pieces) or just change out your tumbling media.

    Also doesn't hurt to clean your tumbler once or twice a year depending on usage (occasional or heavy).

    When handling large quantities of brass (inspecting and such), wear disposable gloves.

    When casting bullets, do so in a well-ventilated room. Wear heavy work gloves. Keep the temperature around 710 degrees. It only becomes problematic when lead starts to "gas/vaporize" when you near 1,000 degrees.

    And don't be so cheap that you reuse disposable gloves! Once they're off your hands, toss them.

    When reloading - I wear the disposable gloves.

    When I'm finished doing whatever I was doing, I always use "D-Wipes", first on my face, then on my hands.

    Just my 2 cents...
    Last edited by bamboomaster; September 3rd, 2017 at 08:27 PM.
    - bamboomaster

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    I buy nitrile gloves on Amazon for around $10 a box, sometimes less if on sale. I use about 5-6 boxes a year for reloading. $60 is a small price to pay for not getting all that stuff on your skin.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    I thought about it. Never did have it checked.

  7. #7
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    carlisle, Pennsylvania
    (Cumberland County)
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    I cast, and reload all my own handgun ammo. Have been doing it for years. I do not have mine checked. I'm pretty sure with a little common sense on part, my lead levels are well within normal. .

  8. #8
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    Been shooting for 40 years, shooting both indoors and out, reloading for 10+, and working around and excavating impact berms. Never took any precautions related to lead exposure. Had mine check in 2016 it was 6 ug/dL. Doctor asked why I wanted the test (he knew I was a shooter). He said do you eat bullets? I said nope. He said you pretty much have to take lead orally to be at any risk.
    Toujours prÍt

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    I was worried about inhalation. I sort and clean brass a lot and there's a bunch of dust. I've actually blown my nose and had black crap in my nose. I never really thought twice about it. Either way, I'm going to start doing it outside with a mask and gloves.
    I heard it on the Internet, it must be true.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Has anyone had their lead level checked?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoder View Post
    I was worried about inhalation. I sort and clean brass a lot and there's a bunch of dust. I've actually blown my nose and had black crap in my nose. I never really thought twice about it. Either way, I'm going to start doing it outside with a mask and gloves.
    Are you shooting lead bullets or FMJ? If FMJ then I can't see where any lead would be left behind on the casing. If I'm not mistaken, modern gun powders do not contain any lead, so lead can't be left behind on the casing from the powder. I can't verify if there is lead compounds in the primer. Some sources say yes, others no.

    The only instance of high lead residue I've read about involves indoor ranges where the bullets come apart when impacting the bullet trap and can spread lead dust. In addition, if shooters on the indoor range are shooting lead rounds (not jacketed) some of the lead bullet is vaporized on firing and exits the barrel spewing lead residue down range. If proper ventilation is lacking on the indoor range then levels of lead dust in the air and laying around can be high. I would suggest not licking anything in those indoor ranges and wash your hands afterwards.

    I'm pretty sure the "black crap" is nothing more than spent powder residue.
    Last edited by Hawk; September 5th, 2017 at 12:02 PM.
    Toujours prÍt

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