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View Poll Results: What are your blood lead levels and has your doctor prescribed treatment?

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Thread: Are you poisoned? The lead blood levels poll...

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    imashooter2's Avatar
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    Are you poisoned? The lead blood levels poll...

    Every time bullet casting comes up in discussion on another board there will be a poster that responds with something along the lines of:

    "OMG! Don't you know that lead is poisonous and hazardous material? Don't go near it or you'll need serious medical help. A single ingot in your basement will kill your parakeet!"

    So, we have over 3,000 members here now. A fair percentage of those have been casting a whole lot and for more than just a couple of years. Let's quantify the results...

    This poll will allow multiple selections. Please indicate your blood levels and whether or not your doctor prescribed treatment.

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    I knew a gentleman who,retired,frequented the clubs indoor pistol range matches.
    This was an every day thing,or at least every day for a couple years.
    His doctor found his levels up there,and had to ask what was up,not knowing of his addiction to Pb.
    The range was ventilated,but it will show if you are there enough,range masters and commercial casters are the most susceptible.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Background--

    Part-time police rangemaster, 1983-2005. Active shooting hobbyist since age 10 (1965), with increasing activity levels since that time. I began reloading shotshells at age 16, and metallic ammo at age 21. I began bullet casting in 1980, and have continued at an increasing rate and frequency since that time. I continue to carry 3 shotshell pellets in the facial skull area installed by a customer in 1981.

    By virtue of prior assignments as a drug lab investigator (1989) and fire cause/origin investigator (1994), I have since 1990 had annual testing to assess levels of various exposure compounds that are encountered as a part of that prior work. This testing will continue through my natural life, previously annually--now every other year.

    The highest blood/lead level I have ever had was 9 mcg/dl, this in the late 1990's. The 2006 level was 8. The docs at Loma Linda University characterized this as "within normal range" for someone living/working in an urban environment. These same medicos advised early-on that shooters or others like me with ongoing exposure to lead consume orange juice frequently, as it is believed to have a chelating effect on lead within one's system. I love to shoot, and I love orange juice!
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have had a long and nefarious history with lead. I've been casting boolits since I was 16 and I'm 69 years old now. You do the math. I first cast bullets on an old stove in my Grandfather's basement. Horrors, no ventilation. At 18 I went to work part time for a commecial bullet caster. back then it was a bunch of four vacity molds and two 20 pound capacity lead pots going at top temperature settings. The work area was a rather small room with three of us working, so figure six pots at full steam. When my regular job crapped out due to lay offs, I was casting full time 6 days a week at that shop and usually for two or three hours at night at home for my own use. Four years in the military put an end to casting bullets for four years. I went back to it after getting out and have been doing it ever since. With the exception of my current set up, my bullet casting has been under what could be called very poor working conditions. No excuse, I didn't know better and neither apparently did my employer way back when. My current set up is in a shed with a powerful box fan at one window and a separate fan pointing toward the door on the other side. The big fan blows across the pot and the smaller fan directs it out the open door. I don't even smell the stink from cleaning wheel weights.
    The reason for the above description is about five years ago, hearing all the worry about lead poisoning ad nauseum, I had my doctor set me up for a lead serum level check of my blood. Fearing the worst, I was highly relieved to find my lead levels were WELL BELOW NORMAL. I emphasize this because it is well below normal according to the current standards for lead in the blood. Sicne it has been many years since lead based paint has been used in homes and baby cribs et al, the standard fpr lead in the system has been to allow less lead than was was deemed allowable.
    I guess the question now is, was I just lucky, or has this thing with lead been blown all out of proportion by the ecofreaks and possibly aided by the anti-gun crowd? Look at California, the leader in the anti-lead movement. Now it seems they want to outlaw lead in bullets.
    I'm not saying that lead isn't a hazardous material, but what I am saying is is there an agenda behind all the hullabaloo?
    Just one man's opinion based on empirical personal experience.
    Paul B.
    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS AN OXYMORON PROMULGATED BY MORONS.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Deputy Al's mentioning of the recommendation of orange juice fascinated me, so I just did some quick research--apparently vitamin C has a significant effect on either lowering lead levels, or perhaps preventing its absorption in the first place (the stuff I found didn't seem to indicate which). It also appears that iron and calcium help to prevent its absorption (http://www.health.state.ny.us/enviro...ook/phc10.htm).

    Oddly enough, one thing I found indicated that lead is more readily absorbed on an empty stomach. I guess that means I'll be eating a big breakfast before that long casting session!

    Since diets are very personal things (we eat what we like and tend to ignore advice to change), it's entirely possible that diet may at least partially explain differences like where one person is around lead all the time but has low levels in his/her blood, and another has very limited exposure but exhibits higher levels.

    Mike
    Last edited by AlaskaMike; 05-20-2007 at 01:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Like with a lot of guys on this board we cast bullets and have been for a long time .
    My wife was concerned about all my casting and wanted me to do the blood work up.
    She works at the hospital and sees all the bad things so she wanted me to do the tests .
    No lead at all in my system .
    I cast in my shop , I wear a respirator , have the door cracked along with a window open to get a cross breeze .

    Most of the hype is from Greenies .
    That is the case here anyway . Most of the places I used to get my lead is now getting it picked up by a green outfit so it can be properly disposed of !!!!!!
    PRACTICE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT !!! PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT !!!!!!
    HOME OF THE 500 MAGNUM TYRANNOSAURUS THUMPER'S.........

    USS SARATOGA CV-60

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    For the vast majority of us casting bullets is not a problem, relative to lead poisoning. If you are careful not to eat, drink or smoke until AFTER you have washed your hands (while casting/handling lead), you're probably OK! The majority of high lead levels among casters & shooters can usually be traced back to lots of shooting on an indoor range. You'll pick up a lot more lead from the spent primer residue in the gunsmoke than you will by casting bullets!

    centershot


    "Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity.......and I'm not sure about the universe."

    Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Although I haven't had the illustrious casting career of Paul B., my casting, I am sorry to say hasn't been in a super safe environment either. I cast in a basement due to the cold weather present in VT. for most of the year. I also tend to drink alot of beer in the process. I do keep the beer about 5 feet away. (mostly to keep from spilling it in the pot). I have been tested twice in the last year after this site prompted me to worry. Both tests came back normal. I don't recommend my practices, but get tested before freaking out over your lead exposure.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm going out on a limb here, so to speak. As I understand it lead can be a cumulative poison, it can collect in your body faster than your body can dispose of it. Lead is everywhere, courtesy of Mother Nature. Many ores and minerals contain lead, and I don't even know what the "background level" is, DEPENDING ON LOCATION!
    Now, certain of the lead compounds in paint have a "sweet" taste, and in the late 70's/early 80's it was discovered that the unsupervised, cooped-up, window-sill chewing, primarily inner-city aboriginies, were developing severe cases of lead poisoning. I don't doubt it. But, like all of you on this forum, I grew up in a family where eating paint from sills and walls was discouraged, to say the least.
    Consider that lead paint is not 100% pure lead, and not 100% of ingested lead remains in the body, and that it is slowly excreted by the body, if you do the math, you will discover that you have to eat a lot of window sills and walls to develop lead poisoning. Yep, I "know" that it killed the Romans from their lead pipes, but unless I'm mistaken, that is just another Greenies romantic theory. Personally I think their Democratic arrogance did them in! I'll stop for now, because the more I get into this "lead" thing, the more frustrated and angrier I become...........Lee

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
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    Bottom line, eat potato chips and drink Screwdrivers while you cast.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Scrounger, It's always been beer and casting for me, but I do like screwdrivers, so I may have to switch. On your recommendation of course!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Just had had my annual physical last week and requested a Pb test along with my regular labs. Came back with a "slightly elevated" 14 mcg/dl reading. Considering that I've been shooting/casting Pb for almost 40 years...and even worked with a commercial bullet casting operation (Bull-X), helping set up their production work flow, for a short time about 20 years ago...I don't figure that's too shabby a number. Of course, if I'd had my lead level checked about 8 or 9 years ago, it would've probably been considerably higher 'cause I was a 2-pack+ a day smoker and can't recall ever bothering with any special precautions while I was casting or reloading.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy piwo's Avatar
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    My level was two..... and I had the test done last month. I told my doc we will test for it every spring (I have semi-annual blood testing for high cholestorol).
    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

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    Pope John Paul II


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  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    So I've never been tested but I'm curious . .what are the symptoms of elevated lead?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmftoy1 View Post
    So I've never been tested but I'm curious . .what are the symptoms of elevated lead?
    Signs and symptoms in adults
    Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous to adults. Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in adults may include:

    * Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
    * Muscular weakness
    * Headache
    * Abdominal pain
    * Memory loss
    * Mood disorders
    * Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lea...068/DSECTION=2

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    1) Pain?..yep every morning, thats how I know I'm still alive
    2)Muscular weakness. Uh-huh..........
    3)Headache. Yup, uh huh, uh huh......
    4)Abdominal pain....?????
    5)What are we talking about??
    6)Don't F*** with me and I won't F*** with you.
    7)Ain't counted 'em since I got em' fixed.

    With all due respect to the posters here who are trying to help, this self lead test screening is about as accurate as Ann Landers "Are You An Alcoholic??" test.

    Mercury. Played with it as a kid. You all did. Then it got poisonous. Read the Greenies reactions to a broken thermometer in a school nowadays. Got to get the overpaid HazMats Suits out there to clean up, then determine that it was an alcohol thermometer after all. Jerks. Jerks. Jerks.
    When the gun banners, and lead banners, and mercury banners, and ???banners are done, cars will still kill more people each day than any war ever did.

    Stop this thread. I got news for you; Yer gonna die. Live life and enjoy it. Do stupid **** and enjoy it too, just not as long.

    Give it up man. I for one am getting tired of hearing about it. Get a life .............................Lee

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    1) Pain?..yep every morning, thats how I know I'm still alive
    2)Muscular weakness. Uh-huh..........
    3)Headache. Yup, uh huh, uh huh......
    4)Abdominal pain....?????
    5)What are we talking about??
    6)Don't F*** with me and I won't F*** with you.
    7)Ain't counted 'em since I got em' fixed.

    With all due respect to the posters here who are trying to help, this self lead test screening is about as accurate as Ann Landers "Are You An Alcoholic??" test.

    Mercury. Played with it as a kid. You all did. Then it got poisonous. Read the Greenies reactions to a broken thermometer in a school nowadays. Got to get the overpaid HazMats Suits out there to clean up, then determine that it was an alcohol thermometer after all. Jerks. Jerks. Jerks.
    When the gun banners, and lead banners, and mercury banners, and ???banners are done, cars will still kill more people each day than any war ever did.

    Stop this thread. I got news for you; Yer gonna die. Live life and enjoy it. Do stupid **** and enjoy it too, just not as long.

    Give it up man. I for one am getting tired of hearing about it. Get a life .............................Lee
    Well, just in case you didn't notice, the point of this poll is so I can link it from other boards when the "casting lead will kill you" guy posts. As for the symptoms... you're a rational adult. You can tell the difference between normal aging and the sudden onset of unusual pain, unexplained weakness, headache and the rest.

    BTW, If you are tired of hearing about it, stop clicking on threads that have titles saying they contain topics you don't want to see. It's a simple and elegant solution.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I don't really worry about it. I feel blessed to have survived as long as I have. I'll probably expire as a result of death no matter what I do. I just give thanks for every day and keep going. The only way I'll worry about lead poisening is if someone shoots me.

  19. #19
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    I think there is a far greater threat with the toxins in our food chain, water supply, and meat today than there ever was and is- or should be more of a concern than casting lead boolits.

    I've never known so many people to come down with cancer, as I see know. Seems like eveyone is getting it.

    And we all know what a great job our government is doing to inspect and regulate what we put in our mouths. Specially now with the help from our buddies in China supplying things like wheat gluten and other food additives..
    Patmarlins
    Products for the outdoorsman since 2008


  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Lead poisoning

    Quote Originally Posted by imashooter2 View Post
    Every time bullet casting comes up in discussion on another board there will be a poster that responds with something along the lines of:

    "OMG! Don't you know that lead is poisonous and hazardous material? Don't go near it or you'll need serious medical help. A single ingot in your basement will kill your parakeet!"

    So, we have over 3,000 members here now. A fair percentage of those have been casting a whole lot and for more than just a couple of years. Let's quantify the results...

    This poll will allow multiple selections. Please indicate your blood levels and whether or not your doctor prescribed treatment.
    I have cast bullets most of my life (62), have been a commercial caster for ten years with three automatic casters and two lubers, but my lead level has NEVER been elevated. I attribute this to two things; most lead is taken into the body orally, transferred from your hands and injested through cigarette smoking (from lead on the cigarette paper), or on food caused by not washing hands. I have never smoked, and wash hands many times through the day. These are the hazards of the caster. The major cause of high lead levels in shooting indoors, even with excellent ventilation. My gun clubs have all been outdoors, a real challenge in the winter in Canada, only shooting indoors for matches, then just long enough to compete. These are my experiences from fifty years of shooting.
    Iceman

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check