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Thread: Lead exposure

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Lead exposure

    Just the part of handling dirty wheel weights, ingots, and bullets; how much risk is there for lead to get in your innards? We are talking your basic precautions such as plenty of hand washing, not handling food and avoiding licking your fingers and such.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    dragon813gt's Avatar
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    Zero if you keep your hands out of your mouth. I was an outside contractor that worked in an Exide plant. So much so that I had to be tested per their rules. Came up fine every time. Their PPE requirements were gloves. The only employees that came up positive were smokers w/ poor hygiene habits. That means they didn't wash their hands before they smoked.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master quail4jake's Avatar
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    Minimal, given the precautions you cited plus good ventilation. Use D-Lead soap to wash up after handling, it contains EDTA and probably completely eliminates lead from your skin. Watch out for dross and corroded lead, it can have organic forms of lead that are more bioavailable.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    If You have concerns You could go see doctor and ask for blood sample. I'm not familar with USA healtcare system but here in Finland You can just go private laboratory and give blood sample. I did and nothing to be worried about. Did it just in case...

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    Lead oxide-a white powder- is much more soluble than lead. I do not know from personal experience, and am not willing to experiment, but have been told it tastes sweet. So, knowing that, be warned to avoid the white powder. Good hygiene will keep you safe.
    Micah 6:8
    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    "I don't have hobbies - I'm developing a robust post-apocalyptic skill set"
    I may be discharged and retired but I'm sure I did not renounce the oath that I solemnly swore!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    As much risk as using fishing weights or jigs.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    I have for years handled ingots, cast bullets, sized and lubed bullets and loaded. I was curious and asked my Dr. and she about had a fit. She didn't see why I needed it and possibly doing it would flag it and you name it and she had an excuse. Finally I was firm and told her to just order the test and she did. The results were I was clean. So, unless your putting your hands in your mouth or sprinkling lead powder on your fries I don't think you will have a problem.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Hickory's Avatar
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    I always wash my hands after handling any kind of lead.
    With the first washing, if you see a pink/gray color in the water going down the drain, that is lead. Rinse hands and then wash again. Better safe than sorry.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    What the others have said is probably all the precaution you need. But with 2 young children in the house I'm more anal than most.

    I have clothes and shoes for when I handle lead, they live in the garage. When I do a session I go out to the garage, change into the clothes there, do my casting outside. I don't do anything that brings my hands close to my face other than to adjust my safety glasses. Then I go back to the garage change back into my regular clothes. Go inside, and shower, give myself a very good scrub (2x), and the clothes I wore to the garage and back get their own wash.

    That is absolutely far more precaution than you need for the minimal exposure we casters get. You probably get more exposure when you shoot. But for me it's the same as treating guns that I know are unloaded as if they are loaded. If I build a ritual of extra caution around something it's that much less likely to go wrong. So if you're worried, decide how much caution you want to build into the ritual of casting.
    "There are no solutions there are only tradeoffs" ~ Thomas Sowell

  10. #10
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    I have never had my blood tested, not too worried, I used to keep a bottle of water and paper towels on the bench for a quick wipe of the hands occasionally while loading casting, since they came out with those wet Clorox wipes in the plastic container one of those containers lives on my bench. Wash hands, face and arms at regular intervals while processing/loading/casting. I also use them to wipe down the bench surfaces around the loading bench casting area. Cheap insurance.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    TXCOONDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retumbo View Post
    As much risk as using fishing weights or jigs.
    And to think that I have been closing them with my teeth for over 40 years. I also siphoned regular gaslone (when it had lead) and used it to wash my hands too.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCOONDOG View Post
    And to think that I have been closing them with my teeth for over 40 years. I also siphoned regular gaslone (when it had lead) and used it to wash my hands too.
    Thaw good old days of riding in the back of a station wagon with the window down sucking in leaded gas exhaust...i think we are dating ourselves

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy retrobass's Avatar
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    My blood came back 6 micrograms per deciliter. This is nowadays classified as 'elevated', but until recently <10 mg/dl was considered normal. I'm not too worried about it. If I had to guess, my exposure was from handling old primers while processing brass. IMO this is a much more worrisome exposure vector than making boolits.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Idz's Avatar
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    OSHA rules for lead workers is more than 40 micrograms / deciliter is an action level where you must reduce your exposure. General public rules used to be less than 5 for children and less than 20 for adults. Current hysteria rules say zero for children. The old standard method for lead cleanup is a solution of 2 tablespoons of Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) per gallon of water. TSP is also an excellent degreaser so wear plastic gloves. For working around lead dust a type P100 dust mask is recommended. The much cheaper P95 mask works also but doesn't filter out all the dust. After smelting I wash all my clothes in a separate load and add a few tablespoons of TSP. It cleans out the washer grunge nicely as a bonus!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCOONDOG View Post
    And to think that I have been closing them with my teeth for over 40 years. I also siphoned regular gaslone (when it had lead) and used it to wash my hands too.
    Bet you drank from the water hose too. Ahh, the fun times...

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCOONDOG View Post
    And to think that I have been closing them with my teeth for over 40 years. I also siphoned regular gaslone (when it had lead) and used it to wash my hands too.
    double post Sorry.

  17. #17
    Boolit Man MAGA's Avatar
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    I had mine tested last month it came back 4

    Normal

  18. #18
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    I repaired electronics for a living, MANY times I needed 2 hands to hold the soldering iron and what I was soldering so the solder got held between my teeth! Lead level has never been elevated...

    When I sort wheel weights I put on a pair of nitrile gloves then leather gloves over them that are ONLY used for lead handling. I work in a well ventilated area so never worried about the dust.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I read that you are exposed to more lead from the compound in primers that you are from casting and reloading.
    Leadmelter
    MI

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    opening the lid on your dry tumbler will expose you to more lead than a years worth of lead handling ever will.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

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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