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From: (Ed Harris)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Lead exposure
Keywords: safety, lead
Date: 11 Aug 90 00:12:09 GMT

In article <> (Peter Cash) writes:
>Recently, I yielded to my ten year-old daughter's pleas, and took her along
>to the local indoor range. I figured she'd hate it, and would want to leave
>My question is this: how much should I worry about the danger of lead
>poisoning? There's quite a bit of lead floating around an indoor range; I

I would be concerned about exposing anyone to an indoor range for long
and frequent periods of time without good ventilation. Good ventilation
is the key. If it is a well designed modern range, and you exercise
good industrial hygiene, not eating or smoking when shooting, and
washing well afterwards, you should be OK. But if you notice a metallic
taste in your mouth, and most of the shooting is with .22 rimfire, or
lead bullet pistol rounds against a steel backstop, which puts more
lead into the air, you would probably want to monitor your blood lead
levels if you shoot more than an hour a week.  I have worked in the
shooting industry all my life and cast bullets at home too, alot of
them, and the only time I ever had elevated blood lead was when I
rebuilt a chainsaw engine and washed parts in leaded gasoline without
wearing rubber gloves. With reasonable precautions it is safe enough,
but it is not a subject which should be taken casually.


	Ed Harris at The Black Cat's Shack (Fidonet 1:109/401)
	UUCP:      ...!uunet!blkcat!417.0!Ed.Harris

From: (Norman F. Johnson)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Moulding Bullets
Date: 31 Jan 1996 19:04:19 -0500


# Go and find a copy of "Lymans Cast Bullet Handbook" it has every-
# thing you want to know about casting. It got me started over 25 
# years ago.  The basement is a bad idea unless you can completely 
# ventilate the fumes rising from the pot.  They contain lead 
# oxide, and believe me, your blood lead level could rise appreci-
# ably in no time at all breathing the stuff.

Lead does not begin to out-gas until it hits about 1100 degrees 
Fahrenheit, well below casting temperatures which run 550-800 
degrees F depending upon alloy, molds and local conditions.  
There is virtually no risk in that department.  If you take 
common sense precautions such as washing your hands after casting 
and before eating or smoking, dropping hot lead on your foot is a 
bigger hazard than lead fumes or ingestion.  

I have been an ardent bullet caster for many years.  Out of 
curiosity, I had a blood test done to determine the amount of 
lead I had accumulated.  Normal city dwellers have blood count of 
8-11; mine was under 5.   

The current Federal (US) standard for employees is 50 micrograms 
per  100 grams of blood.  At 40 workers must go into a monitoring 
program.  At 50 one can no longer work. 

The biggest source of possible ingestion for the home caster is 
dust from the dross that is cleaned off the top of the melt after 
fluxing.  This dross should be gently placed in a closable con-
tainer where it will not blow around the casting area and build 
up on adjacent surfaces.  

A couple of years ago I became interested in the possibility of 
lead poisoning and found a number of books and articles regarding 
same.  The biggest lesson I got from reading those was that the 
"experts" agree on very little, whether it be path into the body, 
amount that is safe to tolerate, or if and when young children 
are effected by lower amounts.  It seems there are definitely 
hazards in some industrial operations but the home caster, taking 
prudent but simple precautions, is at very low risk.  

God Bless!


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Spent brass lead hazard... test kit found lead
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (E. Michael Smith) writes:

#Then, a 'brass control' was done by wiping a Win. 9mm unfired cartridge.
#(similar to the spent brass.) It gave a dark pink/grey splotch.  It
#would seem that brass has enough lead in it to register on the strip...
#(Or that the 'loading' process in automated equipment is not lead clean.)

#(The parts of the lead and brass strips that were not rubbed on metal didn't
#register any color, and I think it qualifies as a 'zero lead' control).

#Next, I did a 'vinigar wash' of the inside of a high base Remington 12 ga.
#It showed a very nice salmon red.

#Last, a similar wash of an Active 20ga. gave a very faint pink.

#The Remington could be registering due to the brass in the base, or it
#could be that it has more lead residue from the primer.

#The ACTIVE could be such a weak register due to being all plastic, or due
#to less lead in the primer.

#In any case, they ALL registered positive ...

#What does all this mean?

Most likely the test is very non-specific in its reaction to metallic
ions.  It is probably responding to the zinc and perhaps bismuth trace in
brass and maybe even the copper.  Since it is apparently designed to test
paint, it would be reasonable to expect a fairly non-specific test.
Why don't you get some copper sulfate (drain root killer) or make some
from sulfuric acid and copper plus a little electricity and see what
it does.  You could also try dissolving some zinc (from a drycell) in acid
and see how it stimulates the strip.

As to the hazard of lead on cases, last time I checked shooters are not
dropping dead or going mad.  I'd consider that a MUCH better indication
of the hazard than the results of what can be charitably be called a
hobbyist chemistry test.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Spent brass lead hazard... test kit found lead
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (E. Michael Smith) writes:

#I get my lead blood test results back in a week or two.  If they are
#in the 'not to worry' range, then I'll gladly test the test more...

#If they show that I've picked up more lead than I'd thought, I'm
#willing to accept that the kit has shown me from where:  Most strong
#reading was the soot on the cases from the primers.  VERY WEAK was
#the brass itself.  Ergo, it's the primers that are the source of
#the lead and it's dirty technique that is the problem...

Mike, good buddy, your experimental technique and your scientific logic
is as faulty here as it was in your methanol experiments.  If lead
shows up in your blood test, you will have proven only one thing and
that is there is some conduit for lead to enter your body.  A positive
test (something I'd be willing to wager against) and your little test
kit glowing positive don't even correlate much less establish a causal
relationship.  You'll need to answer a whole lot of other questions
before you can establish any causation.  Do you shoot at indoor ranges?
Is the ventillation system working properly?  EPA says that's where much
lead ingestion comes from for many shooters.  They've closed ranges
in Atlanta because of that.  Have you tested your water supply?
Do you do anything that might cause aerosols of lead compounds?

I'm involved with my wife in an area of much greater concern for lead
ingestion than shooting.  That is in her stained glass studio.  EPA and
OSHA have spent a lot of time on this environment and has done a pretty
good job of documenting the pathways.  Since stained glass workers
handle vastly more lead than an average shooter, the industry should
be a pretty good leading indicator.  The typical motherhood-&-apple-pie
recommendations not to eat in the work area and to wash the hands before
eating of course apply.  But the EPA's single biggest documented source
of lead ingestion is from lead oxide dust liberated from restoration works as
they are cleaned.  Nothing has been published in the trade indicating
work with new lead requires any more precautions than not eating
around it.

My wife and I have tested a few times and have baselined each time.  That
despite the fact that I shoot a pretty good bit, reload, cast bullets,
cast stained glass accessories for my wife, smelt old batteries for the
lead and help her in her work.  I take no special precautions other than
not eating and in doing my smelting outdoors.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Lead in brass confirmed, news at 11
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (E. Michael Smith) writes:

#On the nightly news was the report that California was leaning on
#a bunch of faucette makers to clean up their act since all (37 or so)
#makes of faucette put unacceptable lead levels into the drinking water
#when water stands in the faucette.

#What does this have to do with guns?  They went into some depth on
#one of the news programs, and pointed out that it was the brass!
#One of the manufacturers reps was even shown talking about how
#they had tried lots of other materials but nothing worked as well
#as brass.

#I feel vindicated now about my earlier discovery that the lead test
#kit found lead in new clean brass ...

No, you're not off the hook yet.  The brass in question is a special
leaded brass that contains up to about 10% lead by design.  The lead
is added to make the brass SOFT and ductile so it is easy to
machine and so the seat will more comform to the valve plug and
so the seat will not wire draw so easily.  This got back page
coverage here, probably because no one cares other than California
where the government apparently has nothing else to worry about.
The amount of leachant is below federal standards and every other
state except Ca.

Since brass is designed to remain fairly hard, I'd imagine lead
content would be minimized.

So when is someone going to pick up the phone and call Winchester or
Remington and ASK what the composition is?


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