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Thread: First Aid after being burnt by lead

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    First Aid after being burnt by lead

    Hi everyone, I recently started casting boolits, and so far so good: good boolits, and no problems. As I was casting the other day, wearing all my safety gear (gloves, apron, glasses, etc), I kept wondering what to do if I ever accidentally splashed molten lead on myself.
    So the question is: what would be the first thing to do? Treat it as any other burn and hold whatever burnt part of your body under a running tap? Go to the hospital/call an ambulance? Has anyone gotten bad burns, and if so, what did you do?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Cold water. You would have to splash a ton on you to get serious burns. As long as you wear safety glasses, 99% of it should be just minor burns. The worst I've got is accidentally touching a hot mold with a bare hand. You will know if you need to go to the hospital, you would have skin missing.

    Just make sure you have a way to back away from the pot if things tip. Don't cast with your back to the wall and you will be fine.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub 2A-Jay's Avatar
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    I keep Sivadene paste in my first aid kit for smaller burns Applied after cooling the burn with water it will help prevent Scarring, If the burn is too large or too deep By all means call EMS.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Oh yeah. I'm looking at the fading remnants of one from last week where I let my guard down for about 2 seconds.

    Treat it like any other burn- get the heat out as fast as ya can.
    Use ice, cold water, whatever is closest for a few minutes.

    Then keep it clean, watch for infection, and let it heal by itself.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 01-26-2020 at 02:36 AM.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
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    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit chat. This ain't no retirement home.
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  5. #5
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Welcome to Cast Boolits. Get it under cold water FAST. The first 30 seconds will make a world of difference. I got splashed on my non-stirring hand when I was fluxing, peeled a layer of lead off the hand as I headed for a sink. mostly first degree burns with a couple of spots of second-degree blisters. You want to get the excess heat out quick

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Speaking from over 40 years of experience in dealing with burns(I worked in a heat treat facility that used 1500 degree lead as a heat bath) treat any small lead burn just like any other burn. Lead does not contaminate you through the skin during a burn.
    For larger burns, you may want to see a doctor since more area is affected.
    Lead will stick to your skin and clothes making a very fast heat transfer. Small amounts usually come right off. Larger patches of lead will need to be carefully removed.
    Cold water or wet towels will act to quickly cool the lead and help with the immediate pain. Just be careful not to get the water or towels into the lead pot.
    The advice about being able to move away from the pot is a good one.
    We had the occasional lead explosion due to water getting into the lead. In a couple of cases, the people were sent to the emergency room to get the lead sorted out from their skin.
    One man ended up with a large second degree burn and a few small third degree burns because his belt kept the hot lead trapped against his stomach.
    I never had any large(by our standards) burns myself. The largest lead splash I received was about the size of a 50 cent piece. Painful but manageable.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Iwsbull's Avatar
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    Just remember if you do get a bad burn to keep it clean and debreed it daily, it sux to do but it will keep you from getting scars or at the least minimize them. I had 3rd degree burns from fingertips to just past my wrist ( electrical) and after the initial cleaning and a follow up I would debreed it myself every day in the shower. No scars but out of work for about 6 or so weeks and yes the silvadene is a must.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    We have a plant called Aloe.
    Grows all over the island.
    Everyone I know has it in their yard.
    We even have at the shooting range.
    It is the best burn treatment in the world.
    Works great on sunburns
    Would do the same for lead burns.
    I once had a slag fall on my foot.
    Don't ask why I was welding in slippers.
    Covered it with the sap from the Aloe and no pain.
    Today I can't even tell where the burn is.
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/hom...oe-plant-care/

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    All good advice above. Aloe is very good, but get the heat out first, and good wound care with appropriate antisepsis is essential (IOW, get medical attention for anything that blisters or worse).

    But as mentioned above, the very best management is preventive. Always check your equipment for safe function. Always use appropriate PPE. Always be sensible of potential hazards and take precautions. Never become complacent when dealing with pots of molten metal inches from your face.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master


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    No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. As others have said, cold water immediately and if it is serious (loss of skin, blisters etc) then a trip to the hospital or doctor.
    I am become death. The destroyer of worlds

    We all do our duty when there is not cost to it, honor comes easier then. Sooner or later there comes a day in every man's life when it is not so easy, a day when he must choose and live with it for the rest of his days.

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    George Orwell

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I cannot contribute to burns with lead - but burn management for certain...I got too close to an accelerant induced bonfire and was caught in the initial fireball inferno, instantly roasting over 20% of my body (exposed legs, arms, side of face, hands, etc.). A bad day for certain.

    2A-Jay's recommendation of Sivadene paste is a good one to prevent scaring and splotchy discoloration in regrowth, but NOTHING deadens the pain of a 2D burn - not even Oxycodone - well, maybe morphine. Passing out and sleep are your friends. Your nerve endings are all pissed off, all firing at once, ALL THE TIME, with no relief, until the body has a chance to heal itself (say two to three WEEKS depending on the coverage of the burns).

    GET IMMEDIATE MEDICAL HELP if the burns are severe or cover a wide area. In my case it was new bandages EVERY TWO HOURS for two weeks. Application of distilled WATER to the bandages to keep burns MOIST (not soaked). Moisture helped preclude the early formation scabs, to preclude scarring. Apply Sivadene paste in accordance with instructions to help preclude scaring and new skin discoloration. Tough it out until well. Good luck.

    I once said I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy. In the years since I said that (2001), I have met a few causing me to take back what I said.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Get the heat out with cold water ASAP on the burn, then coat liberally with aloe. But then I've never had anything bigger'n a pea-sized burn.
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    One thing to be very careful of is applying anything to a burn that gets through the skin. I know there are a lot of home remedies and self-treatment things out there, especially for first and light second degree burns and I won't argue them at all. However, once the skin is damaged you have to be careful what you put on it due to the risk of infection.

    If it's large enough or deep enough it's a concern and there's any question, just go to the urgent care or ER, whichever is appropriate. Don't take the risk. If it's really severe, call EMS and they'll get you to a burn unit or at least somewhere closer to get some pain meds and stabilization going.

    I've been in fire/EMS for 25 years and a lot of how we approach burns are based on size and depth. It's hard to articulate and can be situation dependent. A 1" 2nd degree burn on the arm may not be a big deal. On the face, groin, or hand it could be a much bigger deal. Common sense and appropriate caution needs to be a big factor in that decision.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    +1 on the protection. When I was in my early 20's, I would sit on the floor and cast with the pot on a footstool. I don't know what happened, but I think a lubed boolit got knocked off the loading table and fell into the pot. I heard a rumble in the pot and thanks to good reflexes, threw my arm in front of my face (no glasses on!!--young and dumb). My full Saeco pot erupted like a volcano. Luckily, most of the lead went over my head, some on the ceiling and some on the old pie cupboard behind me, but still, my arm and shirt got it too. About a dollar bill size on my arm and half that on my shirt. Jumped up, took off my shirt and had brushed the lead (and skin) off my arm and went and put it under cold running water for at least a half hour, on and off. Don't remember if I put anything on it or not. We might have had something for burns at the house. Cleaned up as best I could and called it a day for casting. It did scab over and hurt for a week or so. Had scars for about 20 years or so, till they faded away. Kept the shirt for many a year, as a reminder of my lack of safety.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    The ONE piece of advice I can give that comes from my old EMS training and was supplied to me by both ER doctors and critical care nurses that worked in burn units was:

    No Goo on burns ! Clean water is the ONLY thing you should use for the initial emergency treatment of burns.

    All of the oils, greases, creams, home remedy crap, etc. do more harm than good. Some of them do a lot of harm.

    1. Stop the burning process. Plenty of cool clean water is used.
    2. Evaluate the damage. Is it a small 1st or second degree burn? Can you treat it yourself?
    3. Seek help if needed. Large areas of burn, 3rd degree burns, burns to critical areas - need medical attention.

    Pain is the immediate problem and infection is the serious problem.

    For the immediate treatment - No GOO on burns !

    Later on, applications to reduce pain and prevent infection (aloe, Neosporin, etc.) may be appropriate but for the initial treatment - NO GOO !

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    One thing to be very careful of is applying anything to a burn that gets through the skin. I know there are a lot of home remedies and self-treatment things out there, especially for first and light second degree burns and I won't argue them at all. However, once the skin is damaged you have to be careful what you put on it due to the risk of infection.

    If it's large enough or deep enough it's a concern and there's any question, just go to the urgent care or ER, whichever is appropriate. Don't take the risk. If it's really severe, call EMS and they'll get you to a burn unit or at least somewhere closer to get some pain meds and stabilization going.

    I've been in fire/EMS for 25 years and a lot of how we approach burns are based on size and depth. It's hard to articulate and can be situation dependent. A 1" 2nd degree burn on the arm may not be a big deal. On the face, groin, or hand it could be a much bigger deal. Common sense and appropriate caution needs to be a big factor in that decision.
    /\ THIS /\
    Is Spot on

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    All pretty much good advice. I supervised a very, very large radiator tube manufacturing operation years ago (when copper brass was king) and I had thrity-eight tube mills each with a 3,500 solder pot in the middle. I don't think I had one operator who didn't get burned and have some scars....all from not wearing their safety equipment. If it's a quarter sized or larger, seek medical attention. I had several operators who required special medical attention and a few who ended up getting skin grafts. It isn't always the size of the burn, it's also the depth. Never, never, never work without all your safety gear on....no matter how hot it is, it's what will save your hide...literally.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A lot of good advice in the above posts. Prevention is the best cure. Wear your protective gear!

    When I'm casting and smelting I keep an ice chest near by, about half and half water and ice with a clean hand towel in it. There is usually a few beers in it too...........

    The work bench that I cast on is made of steel, heavy and stable. I sit while casting but I use a short stool, which allows a quick escape if necessary. Long sleeve shirt, long pants worn over leather boots and glasses. If I'm smelting I'll also have leather gloves.

    You should consider the possibility of spills and plan your casting and smelting set-ups accordingly. And leave yourself an out!

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    All above is good advice. I can repeat strongly enough to wear the appropriate safety gear.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    After washing it with a ton of water to cool it off dab some mint tooth paste on it. The mint will make it feel a lot better.

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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