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Thread: how to avoid poisoning with lead

  1. #1
    Boolit Master vrh's Avatar
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    how to avoid poisoning with lead

    What steps does everyone take to avoid lead poisoning ?
    I know about proper air ventilation? Try to have that present every time I cast bullets.
    How about when you are just handling bullets to lube or to powder coat etc ?
    Would a protective mask help when working with lead ?
    Da Okie/ Now known as Vearl

  2. #2
    Boolit Master waco's Avatar
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    I think a lot of people overthink this. Use common sense. After handling lead, tumbling media, casting supplies, don't eat, smoke, put in a dip, without washing your hands first. Decapping brass is another good one. People forget that there is lead to some degree in primers. I've been doing this for almost 20 years. For the last five years every time I'm at the doctor (once a year) I have him check my blood results for lead. He tells me the same thing every year. The numbers are so low they don't even register. Keep doing what your doing he tells me.....
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:7

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    When I'm smelting I do it in the shop. I have an exhaust fan in the gable end of the shop and set up my 48inch shop fan near the door. The two of these move enough air that you can see the smoke being moved out. I try to stay upwind of my smelting pot and any smoke that is produced. Whether casting or smelting, I avoid eating, drinking or rubbing my eyes and lips. And wash your hands before taking a bath room break! Unless the lead is oxidized, good hygiene is enough to keep you safe.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    If you have a habit of licking ingots or your fingers after handling lead and a mask will keep you from doing so, then please wear one. If not, then your probably going to be fine without one. Oh yeah, don't snort the drips. Finally, please wash your hands after handling and it will save you from the flu too.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master buckshotshoey's Avatar
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    All of the above. It's not like you are handling Anthrax..... no matter what they say in the Soviet State of California. Common sense is all that is required. Good ventilation is good, but lead vapors don't form until it gets WAY above the melting point. Maybe someone will chime in on that temp. But I never let it get much hotter then melting.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Shoot from a position up range not down range...

    If you salvage lead from a burm there is a good chance of inhalation of dust and getting the dust all over you to contaminate your vehicle. So consider a mask for breathing and cover alls you can remove to drive home in.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I say all the above. After you done doing reloading is just wash your hands. Also do not drink or eat or smoke or dip while you do any of it.Also wash your hand before and after you go to the bathroom.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    No eating or drinking. Do not inhale dust from loading, cleaning, coating, casting lead.

    Most people over-think this.....except in Commifornia. MoonBeam and his gaggle of government goofies are always after ways to get rid of Pb boolits and hunters. And citizens!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master quail4jake's Avatar
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    All of the above and I use D-lead brand hand soap to wash up, it has EDTA to chelate Pb on the skin. I don't know if it helps but I like using it...makes me feel good!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Don’t suck your thumb without washing after playing with lead and stay out of the wrong part of town. The first is as others posted above the second avoids the high velocity kind of poisoning.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Looks like I am a little more cautious than most. I have chosen not to smelt, I only cast outdoors, and I generally wear nitrile gloves when I handle lead or reload. Mostly, you need to watch for dust, don't get solid lead or residue in your mouth and wash your hands. The gloves make it a lot easier because if I am messing with lead and the phone rings, the dogs squabble, the kids insist I deal with something, etc. I can just peel the gloves off and immediately be able to do stuff without a lengthy hand washing session.

    The bigger deal is having a welder's apron, welder's gloves, and a face mask while smelting/casting to protect you from lead spatters.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Don’t eat what you cast.
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    The dust from vibrator tumblers and the primer smoke at an indoor range is a far worse contributor than casting. The dust removed from a smelting pot is the same. In each case, it is inhaled in a form that will be absorbed by the moist lungs. Finding a range with better ventilation and avoiding the dross and tumbler dust will keep your sanitation habits effective.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Do not eat off of lead plates. Do not sweeten your oxidized wine with lead acetate. Do not remove the lead based paint from your house with your teeth. Do not solder your alcoholic distillation equipment together with lead based solder. Run the water from the tap for a short while in the morning if your house has lead water pipes. This will remove the water that has been in the lead pipes overnight. The water after that will be perfectly safe. Do not close your lead fishing sinkers by biting them with your teeth like I have done for 65 years. Elemental lead is fairly benign, it is all the soluble lead compounds that cause most of the trouble. They often leave the lead projectiles in people that have been shot. One of my friends was shot with birdshot many years ago. She still has it working its way to the surface.
    There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide. Ayn Rand

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    All the above, one thing in addition I've always been taught and was taught at NRA instructors courses,wash your hands with cold water first than hot water and more soap,as the cold water will not open your pours like the hot until most of any contaminates are rinsed off. Also waterless hand cream and a roll of paper towel works well at the casting bench and and range until running water is a available.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master bbogue1's Avatar
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    Lawerance Berkley National Laboratory says at the temperature of solder melting (620-700 degrees) and with the boiling point of lead at 3,164 degrees the vaporization point is significantly higher. Simply avoiding the odor (ventilation - stay up wind) and washing your hands before eating will prevent lead poisoning. They go on to say do not ingest any lead it will affect your nervous system. See http://www2.lbl.gov/ehs/ih/pdf/safeSolderingFinal.pdf
    Looking for a Lee 6 cav handle
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  17. #17
    Moderator Emeritus


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    Lead as we use it is rarely pure and vaporizes as an alloy at much lower temps. In general keep smelting and casting temps under 1100 F. That is very difficult to reach with a modern thermostatically controlled pot. When smelting watch your melt and don't over cook things. Don't prepare food with casting tools.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by vrh View Post
    What steps does everyone take to avoid lead poisoning ........?
    Only one sure way.....PM me for my address, send all your lead and alloy to me.........might as well throw in your moulds to remove further temptation........always glad to save someone, I'll even pay shipping..........
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  19. #19
    Boolit Mold

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    Guess I should quit biting my fishing sinkers then. Been biting them for 40 years.
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master wistlepig1's Avatar
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    Wash your hands when casting or holding Pb. Keep your hand away from face and mouth. No food, smokes, chew, or any thing else by mouth. And enjoying casting.

    “A liberal’s paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns. And believe it or not, such a place does indeed already exist: It's called Prison."

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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