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Thread: How to lower lead levels in blood?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy nhyrum's Avatar
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    How to lower lead levels in blood?

    I know we all do what we can to prevent getting elevated levels of lead in our blood. An ounce of prevention vs a pound of cure. But, just out if curiosity, other than time, is there anything that will help remove lead from blood? Kinda like the whole drinking milk after welding galvanized metal.

    I'm talking about AFTER it's there. Not ways to prevent it.

    I think I, and we, should probably get our blood tested, will most clinics be able to do that?

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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Valornor's Avatar
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    I just had mine tested the other day, and I was finally back to normal.

    I used to clean out the lead traps at a local shooting range. As you can image there was lead in pretty much all its forms, and despite wearing a respirator, Tyvek Suite, gloves, boots, and glasses, my blood lead levels spiked. I was up 15mg/dL which was where the doctor was a concerned but it wasnít high enough to treat. (The doc said that they donít typically treat until its higher the 20mg/dL, but they are concerned when it is over 5mg/dL)

    Yes, I washed my hands and face with special heavy metal removing soap after cleaning out the range. The exchange for cleaning out the lead trap was free access to the range and all the free lead I could want.


    When it was discovered that it was high, as did everything we could to bring it down. I drank milk on the regular basis, I tried being more careful on the clean up, making sure proper fit of the mask and PPE, as well as drinking plenty of fluids to try and ďflushĒ my system.

    Nothing I did seemed to work. The only thing that brought it down was stopping the exposure (I moved, so I couldnít do it anymore) and time.

    I still cast, I still take precautions when I am working with my inventory recovered lead from the range, but my blood lead levels have returned to normal.

    I think the most dangerous form of lead is the stuff we canít see, the powder form. Working over a casting pot and handling ingots (as a hobby, on an occasional basis) isnít enough exposure to spike blood lead levels. But if your working with material that has any sort of powdered lead, the you can get yourself into trouble if you arenít wearing a mask approved for heavy metal dust.

    The half-life of lead in soft tissue is pretty short, weeks to months if I remember right, but if itís high enough for long enough to get into your bones then the half life is years.

    Most clinics will do a heavy metal blood test if you ask for it, and personally I recommend people who are thinking of working with lead to get tests prior to working with it to establish a baseline. Then get tested six months later to see if there is a change. It doesnít need to be a monthly test for us hobby folks, but if your doing it commercially, there may be benefit to testing on a more regular basis.

    Sorry for the long post, having lived through the scare, I figured I share.


    Check out my website www.theballisticassistant.com

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have heard that vitamin C helps reduce the level of lead in your blood. My lead level increased a little and used vitamin C. It did seem to help, but not sure if it was just time or the vitamin C or combination. Nothing to prove or disprove that it worked.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy nhyrum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valornor View Post
    I just had mine tested the other day, and I was finally back to normal.

    I used to clean out the lead traps at a local shooting range. As you can image there was lead in pretty much all its forms, and despite wearing a respirator, Tyvek Suite, gloves, boots, and glasses, my blood lead levels spiked. I was up 15mg/dL which was where the doctor was a concerned but it wasnít high enough to treat. (The doc said that they donít typically treat until its higher the 20mg/dL, but they are concerned when it is over 5mg/dL)

    Yes, I washed my hands and face with special heavy metal removing soap after cleaning out the range. The exchange for cleaning out the lead trap was free access to the range and all the free lead I could want.


    When it was discovered that it was high, as did everything we could to bring it down. I drank milk on the regular basis, I tried being more careful on the clean up, making sure proper fit of the mask and PPE, as well as drinking plenty of fluids to try and ďflushĒ my system.

    Nothing I did seemed to work. The only thing that brought it down was stopping the exposure (I moved, so I couldnít do it anymore) and time.

    I still cast, I still take precautions when I am working with my inventory recovered lead from the range, but my blood lead levels have returned to normal.

    I think the most dangerous form of lead is the stuff we canít see, the powder form. Working over a casting pot and handling ingots (as a hobby, on an occasional basis) isnít enough exposure to spike blood lead levels. But if your working with material that has any sort of powdered lead, the you can get yourself into trouble if you arenít wearing a mask approved for heavy metal dust.

    The half-life of lead in soft tissue is pretty short, weeks to months if I remember right, but if itís high enough for long enough to get into your bones then the half life is years.

    Most clinics will do a heavy metal blood test if you ask for it, and personally I recommend people who are thinking of working with lead to get tests prior to working with it to establish a baseline. Then get tested six months later to see if there is a change. It doesnít need to be a monthly test for us hobby folks, but if your doing it commercially, there may be benefit to testing on a more regular basis.

    Sorry for the long post, having lived through the scare, I figured I share.


    Check out my website www.theballisticassistant.com
    That's actually the exact thing I was looking for, thank you.

    Funny you mention the heavy metal soap. Having talked to guys that work at lead foundries, they just use normal soap. Kind of like anti bacterial soap, I've talked to a few doctors, and they say normal soap is enough. It doesn't matter if the gems are dead, just off your hands. I kind of see the lead soap that way, and from what I've gathered from the guys I've talked to, it really isn't any more effective. Granted, both those examples are from a sample size of about 2, so it's not some huge, end all, poll. I, and they, could be mistaken

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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Vit C (ascorbic acid) reduces blood level Pb but is VERY hard on the intestines in the amount needed to have results. Real treatment is in med facility. Yes, in the bones it replaces the calcium.
    Whatever!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Idz's Avatar
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    The OSHA rules "action level" is 60 micrograms/deciliter of blood the ok to continue working is less than 40. The required accuracy of the blood lead testing is +/- 6. Some doctors subscribe to the California theory that everything is bad for you and causes cancer (except marijuana of course!). The OSHA levels were set by when observable symptoms occur (usually greater than 100 levels). While minimizing exposure is probably a good idea, getting hysterical over detected lead in blood probably is worse for you than the lead.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Idz's Avatar
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    A good lead cleanup solution is TriSodium Phosphate (TSP). The EPA used to recommend it until the greenies decided it causes cancer. Interestingly, even though the EPA is now against TSP it is still an approved FDA food additive.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    I too have elevated lead blood levels and after joining a pistol club and starting actively shooting I got my levels checked and in just a year I was 1.5 times the Govt health limit, after speaking with the local public health nurse she told me that in the late70`s/early80`s people living in central city areas also had high levels of lead in there system due to leaded fuel and since then levels have steadily decreased.

    But back to your concerns mine have steadily dropped since the first check despite increased casting ,shooting and lead scrounging, I put this down to increased awareness and hygiene around lead, diet will also help you to lower levels and no magic pill will solve it immediately but recently I have taken to daily Spirulina tablets as well as Vitamin c it all helps, but a good diet will be your friend not just for blood lead levels

    Take care and cheers

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy nhyrum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadmad View Post
    I too have elevated lead blood levels and after joining a pistol club and starting actively shooting I got my levels checked and in just a year I was 1.5 times the Govt health limit, after speaking with the local public health nurse she told me that in the late70`s/early80`s people living in central city areas also had high levels of lead in there system due to leaded fuel and since then levels have steadily decreased.

    But back to your concerns mine have steadily dropped since the first check despite increased casting ,shooting and lead scrounging, I put this down to increased awareness and hygiene around lead, diet will also help you to lower levels and no magic pill will solve it immediately but recently I have taken to daily Spirulina tablets as well as Vitamin c it all helps, but a good diet will be your friend not just for blood lead levels

    Take care and cheers
    Oh, you bring up a good point. I still run leaded fuel in my two stroke equipment.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Management of elevated blood lead levels depends on the level, the source, the symptoms and the age of the individual.

    Sometimes, if the levels are only minimally elevated and there are no symptoms, monitoring for change and alteration of exposure is all that is recommended. For very high levels, and for those who are actually ill with symptoms, medications can be given that will pull the lead out of the body (chelation therapy).

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



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    Here’s a link to a list of foods to reduce lead levels. It’s pretty long and doesn’t rate which are better than others.

    I had a high level once from an extreme exposure. Staying away from lead, it came down quickly. Your body can take care of short high level exposures a lot better than low exposure for a long time, like those of us who were exposed to leaded gas while growing up. I used gas to clean my hands after working on my greasy car engine. It was cheap and worked well. Engines back then were often covered with black grease.

    http://www.leadsafeworld.com/solutio...or-lead-detox/

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub Blackhawk357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    Management of elevated blood lead levels depends on the level, the source, the symptoms and the age of the individual.

    Sometimes, if the levels are only minimally elevated and there are no symptoms, monitoring for change and alteration of exposure is all that is recommended. For very high levels, and for those who are actually ill with symptoms, medications can be given that will pull the lead out of the body (chelation therapy).
    Symptoms what are they? Hows does high levels of lead effect you in your daily life?

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Symptoms vary with body burden (amount of lead in the body), its distribution (which organ system it accumulates in), and the length of time it has taken to accumulate (acute versus chronic toxicity).

    There can be no symptoms at all at lower blood levels. The symptoms that may come are not necessarily predictable in terms of which appear and at what blood lead level, and also are not specific for lead toxicity, so that they can be mistaken for, and often are actually caused by, other more common illnesses.

    It's worth noting the difference between symptoms (what the patient complains of), signs (changes that the patient may not have noticed that can be tested for or asked about), and pathology (the effects or damage done to the body caused by the poisoning, some of which will heal and go away, some of which can be permanent).

    Generally described, you can have blood problems like anemia, GI problems like abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, nervous system symptoms like headache, weakness and fatigue, memory issues, and paresthesias (abnormal sensations), and a whole lot more. The pattern in children is different, likely related to the fact that their bodies are growing and developing and that their modes of exposure are different. Some of the changes will resolve if the lead levels drop, either through reduced exposure or treatment. Some changes are not reversible, and of major concern is that in children the cognitive effects such as lower intelligence and behavioral changes may be permanent.

    Wikipedia's article describes a lot of this:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning

    Practically speaking, minimize your exposure and get periodic blood lead level testing to see what your level is and whether it changes over time. If you have symptoms that don't have common benign explanations, persist longer than would be expected or are worsening, have them checked out by your doctor, as you should anyway regardless of lead exposure, and be sure to mention your hobby.
    Last edited by kevin c; 11-09-2019 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Being long winded

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    The symptoms of high lead levels are very similar to what we often consider getting older. That’s why a blood test is a good idea.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    calcium bentonite clay is supposed to help from what I know

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    My lead blood level was very high, due to doing demo work on our house, which was built in the 60's. The thought that lead paint did not even entered my mind. Anyway, both my wife and I started chelation treatment, taking DMSA tablets, 3 times a week. After a couple of years, my blood level got down to 7. My doc said he was good with that. I had no symptoms whatsoever.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    I just made this post in another thread so i'll just copy and paste it here as well.

    I've looked into the Vitamin C (adsorbic acid) thing, it seems there could be something to it.

    Here's a paper that found a significant increase in lead excretion in urine/feces in rats when lead was dosed in combination with Vitamin C compared to just lead.
    n (number of subjects in the study) is pretty small, 10 for each group, but 3 rats died in the lead only group, one died with low dose C and lead, and none died in the high dose C group.

    I found other studies showing similar results in terms of increasing excretion of lead but if I link them y'all wouldn't have access and be able to read them without paying for a subscription scheme because of where they are published.

    I've found several studies correlating high blood vitamin C concentrations with low blood lead levels in humans, as well as the reverse. There are also a few trial that didn't show a significant correlation one way or the other.

    There are many Chelating agents (chemicals that form a complex with lead allowing it to more easily be excreted from the body) that have been proven to be effective to some extent in removing lead from the body, but they tend to have nasty side effects of removing various metal ions your body needs as well as other unpleasantness, and in any case are not something you'll be able to acquire easily.

    Vitamin C is dirt cheap, I hit up Costco a few days ago and was able to get 1000 IU tablets for about two pennies each.


    The upper recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 2000 IU a day, the reason it isn't higher is at around 3000 IU some people displayed intestinal discomfort. Large doses of it are tolerated by the body quite well, most of the other common vitamins can be VERY harmful in high doses, in comparison C is quite safe. It's water soluble and excesses are easily excreted in urine. I think taking 1000 IU as a maintenance dose or 2000 IU if you have an elevated blood level is an excellent idea. Most likely symptom you'll run into first going much higher is diarrhoea.

    This a bit of a humorous aside, but for acute toxicity the LD50 in rats was found to be 11900 milligrams per kg in rats. That mean you can estimate the average 200lb human would have to eat about 1.1kg (2.4 lbs) at once to have a 50% chance of dying.

    Absorbtion of vitamin C by the body drops off as you take more, large doses don't increase blood concentrations of vitamin C above a ceiling of 0.22mM. This part is purely conjecture on my part but i'm guessing the ability of vitamin C to increase lead excretion also hits a ceiling at this point, taking ridiculous mega doses (multiple grams per day!) of it as in in vogue by some quacks for assorted purported benefits would just be a waste. So taking advantage of the low toxicity to take a massive amount in order to remove lead from your body faster almost certainly won't work.



    It's my opinion that supplementing vitamin C strikes an fantastic therapeutic balance for anyone like us who is has increased opportunity for exposure to lead. It's very ubiquitous an inexpensive, there's a good chance it's effective, and it's remarkably safe to take even at higher than recommended dosages for long terms.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
    SNIP...

    It's my opinion that supplementing vitamin C strikes an fantastic therapeutic balance for anyone like us who is has increased opportunity for exposure to lead. .
    Not necessarily.
    I had a test once, and got a score of 8.
    I read about Vit C.
    I started taking 1000mg per day, then I started increasing the daily dose.
    when I was taking about 2000mg a day, the diarrhea kicked in...with major cramps.
    I backed it down to 1500mg a day, and that those problems went away.

    The next time I visited the Dr, my Blood pressure was high. I take 3 meds for BP.
    I told my Dr about the large dose of Vit C I was taking to reduce my lead level. The Dr said, that large doses of vit C flushes many things out of your system, including the BP meds. So be aware...and I wouldn't recommend taking it as 'just' a therapy for those us who has increased opportunity for exposure to lead.
    That's my 2Ę
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    ďIf someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.Ē
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Raw apple cider vinegar unfiltered, also great for allergies and other things. Local Honey and ACV cures a lot of things oh yes dilute it it is intense.
    Frank G.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Normally after I cast bullets I Drink a mix of a glass of water and Great Plains Bentonite Detox. I mix up a tablespoon with some water and drink it. I guess it’s supposed to remove metals and toxins from your body system. I remember when I was smelting two years ago every day for like a month. I bought a bottle and mixed some up and drank it. The next day my poo looked like a dusty blue to gray... like lead. I even had a respirator and gloves on. I’m still here and alive and Kickin so it must’ve worked. I made sure to drink a lot of orange juice to. I keep that bottle around still and make sure I drink a glass full every time I’m done casting.

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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