Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

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Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by zanemoseley on 12/20/2017, 9:27 am

Me and a buddy got a 3 month pass at a local indoor range (25 yards and roughly a dozen bays) so that we can practice in the cold weather, typically shoot at an outdoor 50 yard range. We've both noticed after leaving we have a sweet taste in the back of our throat & sinus that lasts for 2-3 hours. The range is less than 10 years old and does have ventilation, there is a vent behind each shooter that blows downrange, there is a swinging entry door that is fairly difficult to open (meaning there is some positive pressure in the range). It kind of seems like they have pressure built but not enough volume. When there are a few people shooting in the range you can see the smoke in the air when looking down range. From reading it appears the sweet taste comes from lead. Shooting 45 is a real smoke fest, I've been sticking with 22lr for my last couple visits. 

So do you guys experience the same thing? Has it made your lead levels rise in your blood tests? Aside from looking like a goober and wearing a mask have you found anything to help?

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Slartybartfast on 12/20/2017, 9:52 am

Would a mask filter out fine led particles?
Ask if the air is recirculated or fresh, what percentages.

Ranges should be negative pressure. Not positive pressure. Airflow standards are 75fpm.

If smoke is hanging around and there's positive pressure, it doesn't seem their ventilation meets requirements.

"The second and equally important reason for a properly designed and installed ventilation system is to keep the range at a negative pressure to the surrounding building space. Contaminants need to be contained in the range space. This will prevent the ingestion of these harmful particles, and also keep the non-range spaces and surfaces of the building free of contamination. This in turn will ensure the health and safety of all customers and employees."
https://www.actiontarget.com/why-range-ventilation-is-important/



Happy to say I've never noticed any taste in my mouth after a couple hours at the range.
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by zanemoseley on 12/20/2017, 10:10 am

I'm pretty sure there is positive pressure, the door swings into the range and is hard to open. If it was negative pressure it would want to open the door.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Aprilian on 12/20/2017, 11:01 am

Mask would need to be an N100  I have a bunch of 3M ones I use when processing spent brass.

Positive pressure alone is not sufficient as you are experiencing.   First, having the range positive to the rest of the building means that the smoke wants to move towards the door (and your shooting position).   Ideally, the range would be negative to the rest of the building to avoid contaminating the workplace (heard of OSHA?).  Second, the static pressure should be (in order of highest to lowest) non-shooting part of building, range and outside.   What you are describing makes me think that they are not cleaning the filters on the exhaust fan, which in turn raises the positive pressure in the range.

Don't shoot there.  I have high lead levels from a similar situation.   I now shoot at a range where they have good HVAC and clean the filters regularly.   My lead shot up to 19 shooting at that poorly ventilated range once per week for a year.   It is slowly going down.  There is a thread at 1911 worth reading about other ways to combat high lead levels. https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=349466


Last edited by Aprilian on 12/20/2017, 11:07 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Bullseye_Stan on 12/20/2017, 11:04 am

If this is a public range, then there are (or should be) air quality standards and air exchange standards.  These are for public health (notably tuberculosis spreading) - unless the laws have changed.   A google search shows ASHRAE and the EPA are involved in setting guidelines.  Any time I see EPA anymore, I cringe due to politics.   Limiting exposure in that range would be wise.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by zanemoseley on 12/20/2017, 12:19 pm

Well its public in the sense anyone can go for a fee, its not city/state owned.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Slartybartfast on 12/20/2017, 12:26 pm

Bullseye_Stan wrote:If this is a public range, then there are (or should be) air quality standards and air exchange standards. 
The trick is actually getting them inspected and then actually getting the ruling enforced.

I'd agree with the sentiment of "don't shoot there". At the very least, politely enquire and start the conversation around when maintenance is done and when the ventilation was last tested.

http://projects.seattletimes.com/2014/loaded-with-lead/1/
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by mikemyers on 12/20/2017, 1:03 pm

Does lead that gets into the body ever go away, or is there "forever"?
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by weber1b on 12/20/2017, 1:40 pm

mikemyers wrote:Does lead that gets into the body ever go away, or is there "forever"?
The body will clear it out over time if you stopped adding to the problem. There are things you can do to help the process but it can resolve itself over time.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Aprilian on 12/20/2017, 2:06 pm

from state of MN
The half-life of lead varies from about one month in blood, 1-1.5 months in soft tissue, to about 25-30 years in bone. As of summer 2012, EBLL or lead poisoning is defined by the CDC as a blood lead level of 5 mcg/dL or greater, which represents the top 2.5% of children whose blood lead levels were tested.

Half life means the time it takes to reduce the total amount of lead absorbed in your body to 1/2.
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by zanemoseley on 12/20/2017, 2:25 pm

I don't want to know how they test lead content of your bone, sounds no bueno.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by BHeintz on 12/20/2017, 3:11 pm

I shoot a lot at an indoor range and have elevated lead levels. I stopped practicing for a couple years, only shooting a weekly league match. Then didn't shoot at all for about two years and my levels dropped from 22 to 6. I wear a respirator now when I shoot indoors. With the respirator I don't get the taste in my mouth you described, and I can't smell the powder anymore. I think even with good ventilation you will probably still end up with a small amount of lead.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Slartybartfast on 12/20/2017, 3:16 pm

zanemoseley wrote:I don't want to know how they test lead content of your bone, sounds no bueno.
Sounds like it's no worse than having an X-ray taken.
It's the blood levels that are dangerous, and bone levels it seems might lead to further lead exposure if the lead is released to the blood.
http://research.mssm.edu/xrf/why.html#Lead in Bone
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Mike38 on 12/20/2017, 5:53 pm

I must have found a well ventilated indoor range to shoot at. The previous couple were not so good. Left a funny taste in my mouth too. Occasionally, I would get a headache after a session. Wearing an N100 mask stopped the headaches, so I'm sure it stopped the lead intake also. The one I go to now, none of that happens. Never a build up of smoke, even during league shooting when all positions are full. There is an air make up intake behind the shooting positions, and two 3 foot diameter exhaust fans down range.
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Magload on 12/20/2017, 6:14 pm

I am lucky the indoor range I shoot at the owner doubled the ventilation that was required when he built the range.  When shooting lubed bullets you can see the smoke move away from your shooting position real fast.  I suspect if I am getting any lead it is from not washing my hands before having a Big Mac after shooting. Don
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by estuck on 12/20/2017, 6:44 pm

I am fighting high lead levels as well. In my third year. I highly recommend a good respirator. I use the 3m P100. My levels were as high as 35.After using the filter, and de-lead wipes after shooting and reloading it went down to 18. I have now abandoned shooting in our centerfire league because of terrible ventilation. After using the mask you can actually see the black residue on the outside of the filters. I also remove any clothing when I get home and wash it separately. Also My wife who shoots in a .22 league, does not practice, reload, clean guns etcc was recently diagnosed with levels at 14. I think you need to be diligent in your practices. I have also learned that levels will fluctuate from person to person that shoot at the same facilities.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Gary Wells on 12/20/2017, 8:41 pm

I have been shooting in indoor ranges for about 25 yrs on and off. Been shooting in the one that I belong to for 4+ yrs. Pretty good ventilation since they rebuilt the ventilation system about 3 yrs ago. Poor lighting though.
Difficult for old farts like myself. Great crew.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by zanemoseley on 12/20/2017, 9:38 pm

Well I ordered this 3m respirator to try.

3M Particulate Respirator 8233, N100 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MCV43K/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_YoYoAbVT2SDM3

My guess is I'll limp through the next 3 months. I wish I could find a better solution for shooting in the winter. I have a nice air pistol and a basement to shoot in. I was hoping to keep up my 45 skills in the winter, the recoil of a 45 is way different than an air pistol.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Axehandle on 12/21/2017, 7:03 am

Call OSHA and/or EPA and the range owners will be fined and the range will be closed.   NSSF has good publications that go through the requirements.  The OSHA regulations are easy to find too.  I work 30-40 hour a week on an indoor range that runs 22,000 to 25,000 shooter a year and employs 9 RSOs.  We wear masks and gloves while down range.   We have our lead checked every 6 months and have no problems.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Aprilian on 12/21/2017, 7:33 am

zanemoseley wrote:Well I ordered this 3m respirator to try.

3M Particulate Respirator 8233, N100 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MCV43K/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_YoYoAbVT2SDM3

My guess is I'll limp through the next 3 months. I wish I could find a better solution for shooting in the winter. I have a nice air pistol and a basement to shoot in. I was hoping to keep up my 45 skills in the winter, the recoil of a 45 is way different than an air pistol.
That's the one I use.

I'd caution against using the air pistol inside as you will introduce a small amount of lead dust which may travel to other parts of the house.
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by Bullseye_Stan on 12/21/2017, 7:51 am

From anecdotal internet dialogs, lead pellets fired through air pistols don't appear to generate lead contamination.  The back stop or target area may, depending on it's construction.  However, that is for .177 (4.5mm) caliber low energy (5-10J) air pistols which have low velocities.  Still, hygiene is important when handling lead which includes washing hands after handling and care when cleaning of the target area.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by BE Mike on 12/21/2017, 8:13 am

Wow, I can't believe that some people's first action would be to report the range to the EPA. Who would want the range closed? I'd mention the problem to the owner/ operator of the range. It may be some simple fix to solve the problem, like them forgetting to turn on all the equipment or filter changes. It is a good idea to use very good hygiene after shooting. I like D-Lead products. A respirator will keep nearly all the lead dust out of your mouth, throat, lungs, etc. They aren't hard to adapt to, except when you want to talk. Wearing the mask, might just send a signal to the range manager that there is a problem without you having to say a word. Unless you spend a whole lot of time at the range, you'll probably not get high lead levels. Everyone is different regarding how much lead is retained in the body and the how fast it is expelled. The smoke is annoying, but probably contains little lead. Most of the lead dust comes from the primers and when lead bullets hit a metal backstop. You can also ingest a lot of lead from dirty hands and clothes and like others said, handling brass and tumbling media. I go to a new, state-of-the-art range which has only been open a few months. I never have had that sweet taste from shooting there and I go at least once a week for a couple of hours. I have been to a couple of ranges that were filthy and the smoke was thick. After shooting, I not only got the sweet taste, but black came from my nose for a while and my chest actually hurt for a time.
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by mikemyers on 12/21/2017, 8:53 am

Back in the 1980's, before I knew better, I set up my newly acquired reloading gear in the kitchen of my apartment, as that was the only available space.  I remember by the end of the session, especially with 44 Special reloads, my hands looked "silvery" before I washed everything off.  Thinking back on it, since I had no other room, I shouldn't have set things up at all, and thinking of what I do nowadays, maybe there are more things I need to be careful about.

I bought a box of "surgical gloves", and when I'm handling old brass, or cleaning it, or sorting it out, I put on the gloves.  I also use them while cleaning my guns.  I'm not sure how well I could re-load using them the entire time, but that's a thought.


I don't think I've ever noticed anyone wearing gloves like this while shooting, but maybe that's not such a silly idea.

Next time I go in for bloodworm, I will ask the doctor to check for lead levels - or is that the kind of thing that already gets done routinely?
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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by DA/SA on 12/21/2017, 9:05 am

Lead isn't absorbed through the skin.

It needs to be breathed in or ingested.

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Re: Poor Ventilation In Indoor Range

Post by zanemoseley on 12/21/2017, 9:12 am

DA/SA wrote:Lead isn't absorbed through the skin.

It needs to be breathed in or ingested.

Here is a good overview article on lead exposure. http://www.lead.org.au/lanv13n4/lanv13n4-8.html

According to this article small amounts of lead can be absorbed by the skin, inhalation and ingestion are more serious. More common is people not washing their hands after loading or shooting and transferring the lead to food they eat.

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