Range Conditions & Lead Levels

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Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Founder on 1/15/2012, 9:55 pm

I have been following a string of emails (old L List) discussing range conditions and lead levels and have found it both interesting and concerning! Thought I would bring the discussion to this venue and get some input.

Have you had an experience with poor ventilation at a range? No names or locations just in case.
Have you helped resolve ventilation issues and if so how?
What does your range do to clean up or contain lead and powder residue?
Have you had any luck getting assistance from your State Association or the NRA to make range improvements?

I look forward to reading your experiences.

Joe Fobes
AKA 10's N X's


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lead levels

Post by SMBeyer on 1/16/2012, 11:33 pm

Had a blood test the other day because one of the guys I shoot with had his tested and he was at a 36. (normal should be below 10) When we shoot international pistol he calls one relay and I call the other one so we all get to shoot. He stoped calling a relay when we shoot 1800's because his levels were high so I took over that job for him. I shoot a league one night a week then usually practice for about an hour after the league is over because why not I'm at the range. Then I try to get to the range one other day a week if I can. The doctor called today and told me my lead levels were "over" 50. How much over fifty they didn't say but it's not good. I go back tomorrow for more test because I am getting up near levels that can cause kidney damage and apparently many other problems.

I just wanted to post this so other people would be aware of the potential problem and get tested also.

Scott
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Scott Carroll on 1/17/2012, 11:40 am

Scott,
I ended up with elevated levels from shooting at an indoor range with less than stellar ventilation. I started wearing a 3m half mask with P100 filters (the pink ones) and washing my hands thoroughly right after shooting. My levels came back down to about a 3 and I have been able to keep them there. I am still shooting in the same range, I cast bullets and of course reload lead bullets. Use the mask indoors and wash well after shooting and/or handling lead and yours should come down.

Scott Carroll, Vermont

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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by SMBeyer on 1/17/2012, 9:40 pm

Scott,

I have the mask from when we cleaned out the bullet trap a couple of weeks ago and shot with it today. First couple of shots were a little strange but after that I didn't even know it was there. With that being said though after two hours it definately was a relief to take it off. I will also be better at washing hands after shooting. Thanks, Scott
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by BHeintz on 1/19/2012, 12:54 am

SMBeyer, Hi, I shoot with you in the winter league. Sorry to hear your lead is so high. I had my lead level checked earlier this summer and I was at 21. As much as I shoot, I am concerned the level will keep rising. I noticed you were wearing a mask earlier tonight. I have tried wearing a mask, but it doesn't work with the safety glasses I currently have. Also I thought I would let you know that I normally practice at point 14, the overhead blowers on points 11-15 seem to work much better than the rest. Another thing I have started doing when possible, shoot the first relay, that way you don't have to sweep up.

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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by BE Mike on 1/19/2012, 9:00 am

Dry sweeping will cause you to breathe in more lead than shooting. Wear your mask when you sweep up and wash your hands as soon as you can afterwards. You should also be aware of the lead in your clothing and on your shoes.
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by SMBeyer on 1/23/2012, 1:44 pm

BHeintz,

Thanks for the advice about lanes 11-15. I have never shot down at that end. I understand about the mask and the glasses. I shoot with Knobloch glasses and the mask is tight up against the nose piece. Isn't really bothersome but it is sure nice to take it off after having them on for a couple of hours. I cant usually make the early relay so I just keep the mask on while sweeping. I just got back from Radio Shack and am hoping to have all the parts I need to stick a microphone inside the mask so that I can call the line at the other range I shoot at. Scott
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by BE Mike on 1/23/2012, 2:46 pm

I suppose that they don't make throat mikes anymore. That would come in handy for folks who want to wear a mask and call the line.
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by dan allen on 1/23/2012, 3:31 pm

I am a member of the club that was at the center of the discussion on the other list. I don't want this to sound like I am downplaying a serious situation. The only person from this club that I know to have had high lead levels was a self appointed caretaker of the range in addition to being a two night league shooter and line caller. He also practiced almost daily. He dry swept the range on league nights and cleaned out the bullet traps as needed. He stopped the sweeping and wore a respirator for a while but stopped as soon as his levels dropped. This was several years ago and he is fine now. So as someone else mentioned the shooting alone wasn't likely causing it even though the air gets a bit thick after a couple relays.

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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Rob Kovach on 1/23/2012, 8:52 pm

Jon Nortemann stated that he was up over 50 before when he was casting bullets in a poorly vented area. He wasn't too worrired about it. He's not a spring chicken either...He's been doing this a long time and seems to be a healthy guy.
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Founder on 1/23/2012, 11:05 pm

I got my first round of results back and they were 31. I was retested to confirm and should know more tomorrow.

I also have done a lot of work at the range and for the past couple of years called most lines for league, shot twice a week and practiced 2 times a week. I also conduct our Range Operation and Safety Orientations once a month. I have dropped live fire practice due to time constraints and am not calling any lines if I can get away with it this year.

I purchased a respirator and disposable shoe covers to wear as well. I am setting up a range bag with the respirator, shoe covers and an old sweatshirt to wear when shooting. Everything will get stored in the bag when not in use and cleaned/washed as needed.

Bummer! Mad
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Steve B on 1/24/2012, 8:52 am

I had my lead level tested in November, just prior to the start of my 3rd indoor season. My level was 46. I only shoot indoors from Nov. to April and have used Dlead soap each time after shooting, reloading, handling or cleaning my guns. Our indoor range has a very poor ventilation system which I believe where my issue comes from.

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Food for thought

Post by Jerry Keefer on 1/24/2012, 7:04 pm

My experience with blood levels of lead is this..I have spent a lifetime of daily activity in the shooting profession.
I operated and maintained the firearms section of a fairly large PD which involved an 18 lane 25 yard indoor range. Some shooters on this forum probably have shot there, as we ran the Indoor Va. State Championships for a number of years...
With nearly 800 officers, the range operated daily, sometimes 16 hours a day..with a bi-monthly bullseye leaque. EPA and OSHA required that I be tested on a regular basis.. My level hovered in the 10 - 15 range for years.
The venilation system on that range was excellent. I believe based on this, that inhalation is far more a hazard than handling. Being OCD, and germophobic, I never put my hands,fingers on my face, mouth, or nose. When doing serious repair work down range, I wore Tyvek, and a very good mask. While instructing recruits or problem shooters, I never stood on the ejection port side while coaching... I never took any major precautions with my shoes or clothes.. I showered every day which prevented dust that may attach to your hair from being transferred to your pillow..I have attended several lead seminars sponsored by the major regulatory agencies.. None indicate that lead is absorbed through the skin. My personal doctor agrees. Now that I am retired, my doctor checks me yearly, as I am still in mix..SmileSmile
Good luck and take note of the range ventilation..

Jerry
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Steve B on 1/24/2012, 7:17 pm

Jerry,
What kind of mask did you wear? My doctor advised that I use the 3M N100 respirator, it's recommended for lead exposure.

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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Jerry Keefer on 1/25/2012, 4:54 pm

Steve B wrote:Jerry,
What kind of mask did you wear? My doctor advised that I use the 3M N100 respirator, it's recommended for lead exposure.
Steve,
I had two masks that I wore depending on the task.. One was an MSA full face and the other was a MSA half face with remote canisters which mounted on the back of your belt..Some maintenance and repair jobs were very dirty with heavy lead concentrations. I wore the full face for those tasks. I wore the half mask the most. Mainly, because, I needed it for welding, as it would fit easily under the welding hood, and it was very comfortable compared to the full face. I still have the half mask, but I can't locate the full face..The canisters were provided to me by the Haz Mat company that did our monthly clean ups and were specially rated for the lead hazard...I have a carton of them somewhere also..Smile
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Founder on 1/25/2012, 9:28 pm

I picked up this mask

3M™ 6000 Series Half-Mask Respirator: Medium
3M™ Half Facepiece 6000 Respirator is a soft, thermoplastic respirator with the economies of a conventional facepiece. Easy-to-use facepiece requires no extra parts to attach cartridges and filters. Uses 3M™ 6000 and 2000 cartridges/filters.

And these filters

3M™ 6000, 7500 and FF-400 Series Respirator Filter: P100 Filter, 2/Pkg.
These premium disc filters are engineered for easier breathing, making them ideal for tough work environments. The new netting construction technology produces a longer-lasting filter. Approval: 99.97% efficient against solid and liquid aerosols including oil.

Quite comfortable once you get it adjusted properly. I shot with it last night and it got a little tight after a while and did distract me some. I since made some adjustment and will try it again tomorrow night.

I see my primary Dr. tomorrow and suspect he is going to try and get some information out of me as to where I am getting the lead from. The Dr that did the lab work wanted the information but I refused. I will not give up my club. I will however walk away if they do not take any action to improve the situation at our board meeting on Monday. This will be the second time in the past 18 months that I have brought up concerns about the lead levels in the range, the traffic in the range has gone from 40-60 members a month to over 400! So the amount of lead has increased dramatically as well. I am glad people are enjoying the range but also want it to be a safe environment, we owe that to our members.

I have meet with the NRA and our State association to get recommendations on how to improve the situation. I took that information to the board and the discussion got tabled and has not been touched since. A number of members have invested a lot of time upgrading the range with the intention of starting a youth program. I refuse to bring any young people to the range in its current state.

Ok I will stop rambling now.
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Re: Range Conditions & Lead Levels

Post by Rob Kovach on 1/25/2012, 9:55 pm

Remember shooters, when they ask where you were exposed, your hobby is to solder electronics and soldering the frames for stained glass mosiacs.
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