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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after hearing all the lead worries As part of my retirement physical I requested a lead level test, the doctor also ordered a zinc protoporphyrin test which he said is a way more accurate test, good for atomic absorbtion as in lead dust and primer vapors as opposed to the kid eating paint chips, Now convincing the lab that you can get lead poisining with out eating paint chips was a task in itself. anyway a little background I am 39 I grew up shooting, I also grew up fishing and allways used my handy dandy splitshot crimping tool, also known as back teeth, I got into high volume pistol and cast lead bullets in 1991, all my shooting was indoor ranges, I then got into IDPA and again all shooting was indoor ranges, all my ammo was cast lead which I reloaded myself, I generally washed but sometimes fingers got a wipe on the pants leg before getting a dip, first on a Lee single stage later on a Dillon 550, I have been involved in Blackpowder, cap and ball, cowboy matches hunting etc, skeet shooting, weekly IDPA matches weekly bowling pin matches starting about 2000, (side bar you'd think with all that shooting I wouldnt still suck) and over the last couple years IPSC, 90%of that shooting was cast lead and up until 2004 when I bought land 90% was indoors at private and public ranges, so anyway lead results came back as 7. less than 9 is not considered indicative of lead exposure or poisoning, and no action is really prescribed below 40, on the Zinc protoporphyrin I had a 29 0-35 is considered normal, the ZPP is used to diagnos chronic lead exposure, so basically my results were normal no lead issues.
 

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As I understand it, the lead must be in the form of lead salts for the body to absorb it well.

This can occur when gunpowder is ignited, IIRC, and also when lead has sat in water, like lead splitshot.

I think it's all overrated. Unless you go out of your way to expose yourself, I don't think you'd get enough exposure to hurt yourself outside of an industrial environment.

I'm not a doctor, and am only going by what I've been told.

Josh <><
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Exposure to the shooter aside, what do you all think about the lead sitting out in the environment? Honestly, I don't care too much about it causing some wildlife some problems (obviously I'm not happy about it, but I can deal with it), but the thought of lead dissolving into drinking water and poisoning someone's kids really bothers me.

Am I too paranoid? I read one article from Va. Tech researchers that stated lead on outdoor ranges has limited mobility (generally only penetrating the soil to shallow depths).

What do you think?

Thanks.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lead at outdoor ranges doesn't pose an environmental risk, in my opinion and that of many researchers. It doesn't leach into groundwater. Unless it is oxidized into lead salts, it isn't soluble at all.

Indoor range lead exposure can be significant, however. I'm glad your lead level came out well. I had a scare about 10 years ago after an active indoor shooting season one winter, when I ended up with a lead level of 17. I don't shoot indoors very much at all any more.
 

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If lead shot caused lead poisoning of the groundwater, then the people living near Civil War battlegrounds would all be dead. Unless lead is exposed to an acid environment, it doesn't go into solution. That's also why you should not eat or drink at a range or before washing up after you are done shooting.
 

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I work for the state environmental regulatory agency. We deal with this routinely. People are rightly concerned about lead but it is not generally a problem according to my chemical and biological experts. Unless, you eat it like paint chips or breathe the fumes. When I first came to this town, a worker at a local smelter took his shotgun to his boss after prolonged exposure. On autopsy, his lead level was way up there. Moral of the story you have to be careful.

Shooting indoors can be hazardous if there is no ventilation system. And the lead dust at the end of the range is nothing to be fooled with by the untrained and unprepared. But in backstops and on the ground, lead does not generally "leach" into the water easily. After all, it does occur naturally and for generations folks used it for pipes and roofing material. Didn't hurt them much as they died earlier than we do today.

However, right down the road is the old Cold Harbor battlefield. The Union Army tried several times to take that general area from 1961 to 1865. There was lots and lots and lots of lead deposited in the ground and in trees over in that direction. However, the lead quickly took on a protective coating that has allowed us to sell those bullets as souveniers for many years. We did not even have to make them until recently!

When I was little I asked my Granny why the water over there tasted so bad and she told me it was dead Yankees. Poor old lady did not realize that there were just as many dead Rebs over in Hollywood. I don't think they effected the water but there is lots of lead over near Cold Harbor, Mechanicsville, Fraser's Farm and in the general vicinity.

Finally, go to the US EPA website as they have some range studies. Like with most everything else, lead from shooting can be well managed with minimum impact on the environment or yourself. Here endeth the lecture. I have to do it everytime we have a federal range close.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What about the lead dust from the primer, unjacketed bullets dragging through the barrel, and bullet impact with a hard backstop? How do indoor ranges dispose of that? Doesn't it contaminate the soil at outdoor ranges?

Please keep in mind I'm not bashing shooting. I really enjoy it and want to participate more. Of course I have OCD and stress about hurting others through my actions. :(
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
scottyb... unwind your shroud, my friend.

Indoor ranges are only a danger to those who shoot therein. If they take appropriate decontamination steps after shooting, they'll be fine.

As for outdoor ranges, the elemental lead that is dumped onto or into the ground in the form of bullets or shot is of negligible impact, either personal or environmental. It doesn't dissolve into ground water. It doesn't rise up in mists to lure the unsuspecting to untimely graves.

You can shoot to your heart's content without fear of harming anyone other than those whose bodies are transected by your bullets.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
scottyb... unwind your shroud, my friend.

Indoor ranges are only a danger to those who shoot therein. If they take appropriate decontamination steps after shooting, they'll be fine.

As for outdoor ranges, the elemental lead that is dumped onto or into the ground in the form of bullets or shot is of negligible impact, either personal or environmental. It doesn't dissolve into ground water. It doesn't rise up in mists to lure the unsuspecting to untimely graves.

You can shoot to your heart's content without fear of harming anyone other than those whose bodies are transected by your bullets.
So you think the lead that gets washed off my shoes and clothes is insignificant?

Thanks.
 
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