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Is there a health risk in handling lead bullets while reloading? Does anyone use gloves and face mask? I know that sounds really wimpy but is there any risk?
 

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Hi,
There is always some health risk when it comes to lead. Either handling it or having airborne particles, these particles are about even on the range. If you use common sense you should be fine. I myself cast outside I now wear a face mask with a fan blowing across the pot. My last blood test was in the safe area but on the high side of safe. Whilst handling lead I tend these days to use those disposable gloves. I still wash my hands thoroughly after handling any form of lead. This is not because I am a whimp (maybe I am) but if you have a family or pets it can be guaranteed you will touch them with your hands.
So it is common sense to look after yourself and your family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with you, I don't think it's being whimpy. I've raised the question to friends who thought I was over cautious but I use disposable gloves when I field dress an animal too.
 

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I ain't no expert on these things but you probably aught to be more concerned with the stuff FDA allows in food and
drink than the lead you bite to put weights on your fishing line. All that said I wash my hands several times in the reloading process . :)
 

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Hi Me. (That doesn't sound right :eek:)
It's funny you brought that up we don't have the greatest food and beverage controls either. But I would be more concerned about direct contact with lead or lead particles. I see it is good you try to look after yourself by washing your hands several times during the reloading process.
 

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I have a Dillon press, so my lead handling is done with the left hand. I started using a disposable examination glove on my left hand. No more scubbing lead off of my fingertips. Some people are alergic to latex, so use neoprene if you can find them. They work great while changing oil, cleaning up parts, or cleaning guns also.
 

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dogjaw said:
I have a Dillon press, so my lead handling is done with the left hand. I started using a disposable examination glove on my left hand. No more scubbing lead off of my fingertips. Some people are alergic to latex, so use neoprene if you can find them. They work great while changing oil, cleaning up parts, or cleaning guns also.
I buy a box of Latex gloves at Wal-Mart or wherever, sure beats trying to scrub oil and crap out of your fingertips. I don't use them when I load... I suppose I should.

Not to sound gross or anything... but your hands are fairly resistant to absorbing contaminants and such, it's where you put your hands that usually causes a transfer... including when you visit the latrine. I used to handle weed killer and such (Roundup) and when I took my pesticide class they said that 'place' was the #1 area a contamination occurs, #2 being your mouth. :p :p :p

I used to get mad when I went shooting at a local indoor range, they would have fans blowing on you from behind... and it got COLD! But now I know they are trying to blow the airborne lead and dust away from the firing points...
 

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Occasional exposure for adults, no big deal. Having said that, I always wash my hands and try not to breath fumes or particles. I remember reading a journal article about pesticide exposure (in reference to a post above) which was all about the danger of using the rest room with toxins on your hands. Apparently the scrotum absorbs about 90% of anything it comes in contact with.

Also, you need to be extremely cautious with kids. They are much more likely to suffer ill effects from exposure to lead.
 

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When I was shooting alot of indoor matches at the Armoury, we had to our own clean-up, of course. There was a red line on the concrete, beyond which only specific personnel were allowed to pass for the clean-out of the traps. Those specific personnel had to have a series of baseline tests to determine their initial exposure to lead prior to being approved for working "past the line" and a series of follow-up tests at intervals after the initial approval.

Those of us that had not had the battery of base-line tests were not allowed past the line - - period, no exceptions.

Point is, if you are concerned about your degree of exposure to lead contamination, it is best to steer clear of any potential lead exposure contamination for a period, have a baseline test run to determine a latent level of contamination, then start back with your activity involving lead. Following that, periodic testing will let you know if your procedures are causing ill affects or exposing you to severe contamination.

Granted, the example above is on the extreme side, but removes any doubt about exposure levels. For the average dude doing his own reloading/casting, thoroughly washing hands (Go-Jo, or similar, takes care of most of it very well), keeping your fingers out of your nostrils and mouth, leaving food and drink away from your loading or casting area, and some degree of ventilation will go a long way.
 

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All your hair and teeth will fall out. Just look at PJ! ;D
 

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Part of our range safety officer training in our hunter safety program stresses no eating, drinking or smoking while shooting on the range. The most dangerous interaction with lead is that which is ingested, and just think of handling food, drink or cigarettes (quit, OK?) and where they're headed; right into your mouth! A person reloading faces the same peril, so refrain from eating, drinking or smoking, and wash your hands thoroughly when finished. I agree with everyone's assessment of proper ventilation, I too reload and cast bullets on my back screened-in porch with a fan blowing the smoke away from me.
 

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Health risk handling lead bullets, while reloading. Very little as long as you wash your hands after and keep you fingers away from your mouth while loading. Just use common sense when loading or anything thing else. I have reloaded sense the mid 1970's, casting included and I have had my blood tested for lead poisoning and I have always tested good.
 

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I had to take a lead-renovation course to work on pre-78 houses and I remember they said that your skin will not absorb lead. 99% of absorption in adults would be inhalation of dust in a remodel, kids would crawl around and get dust on their toys and hands and then chew on them and really get exposed. I have never melted lead, is their a lot of fumes?, a good respirator would probably be best for fumes and you also couldn't get anything in your mouth if you tried.
 

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There is never anything wrong with being safe and cautious when working with something such as lead. The dangers of casting and loading lead bullets however is just a little over rated in my opinion. A few facts are (1) lead can not be absorbed through the skin. You can swallow a lead bullet and it will just pass through with out harm. (2) Lead does not give off a dangerous vapor until it reaches it's boiling point which is 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Fumes from a casting pot does not contain lead until the vapor point is reached. (3) Lead must get into the blood stream before it is a danger to you. Breathing lead dust at a indoor shooting range will accomplish just that as lead dust has become airborne and you're pulling it into your lungs where it can get into the blood stream. It's just a matter of common sense......wash up after a casting or loading session and always cast in a well ventilated space.
 

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"Health risk handling lead bullets?"

Gohon has it correct, don't lick your fingers clean and all will be well.



"A person reloading faces the same peril, so refrain from eating, drinking or smoking, and wash your hands thoroughly when finished."

Sorta suggests the hazards of handling lead bullets is right up there with changing a baby's diapers.
 

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Dangers of lead are from lead metals, lead dust, lead fumes and lead mist. "From inhalation and ingestion." I will let Gohon swallow the lead bullet, but I would not recommend it. ;) ;D Remember the Romans had problems from lead poisoning from drinking from lead cups and eating from lead dishes. ??? and that was a fact! The gases from lead do give off long before the boiling point 3164F/1515C and lead will melt at 621.5F/327C, I keep my melt around 800F. I'm not going to go back to my casting books and see but seem to remember that you do not want to be breathing the fumes off of lead that has reached 1000F and higher, I keep away from any fumes at any temperature and it doesn't hurt to wear a dust mask. The best and safest way to work with lead is either under a hood or outside where there is plenty of fresh air to breath. If you work outside be sure to have a lid to cover the lead in the pot in the cast of a sudden unexpected weather change, moisture is a bad thing. I also recommend gloves and heavy long sleeve shirts safety glasses and a hat. I have a leather apron for welding that is also nice to wear.
 

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Hi Janott,
It looks like we have the same fashion sense. You can never be too careful.
 

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I guess this means I should quit licking the bullets before seating them, but they look so pretty at that point. ;D ;D

I wash my hands when I am done reloading, other then that I don't worry to much. On the other hand high lead levels may save me from the escaped radiation from the Japanese nuke power plant that's blow in from the coast here in southern California.
 

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moofy07 said:
Hi Janott,
It looks like we have the same fashion sense. You can never be too careful.
Yeah, and if it's smoking or not I don't breath it, just plain simple. Like I said a dust mask will not hurt to wear and any or all of the other protective gear that I mentioned. I like the way that you say it, "You can never be to careful" and you can take that to the bank. ;D Thanks!

tlc361, ;D ;D ;D And that is another fact from history about lead poisoning, licking bullets or atleast you fingers while working with them. ??? During the Civil War men and women were making Paper patched bullets to supply troops and sometimes on the front lines. Many of these people died in time from the lead poisoning. I think I will pass on swallowing any lead bullets. ;D ;D
 

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"Remember the Romans had problems from lead poisoning from drinking from lead cups and eating from lead dishes. and that was a fact!"

Yes. But because the acids in their food and drink converted the lead to digestable forms, not directly from the lead itself.
 
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