Lead protection when reloading

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Lead protection when reloading

Post by mikemyers on 1/5/2018, 6:14 am

For those of you who are reloading, what do you do (if anything) to avoid issues from handling lead bullets?

How big a concern is this?

Should I start wearing surgical gloves?
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Mike38 on 1/5/2018, 6:39 am

The only thing I do is wash my hands real good after.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by DA/SA on 1/5/2018, 7:02 am

Get some of this:

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=d-lead+hand+soap&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=241943008774&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3573604877029479902&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9012442&hvtargid=kwd-24246615945&ref=pd_sl_9rqyunmevf_b_p20

Also available from McMaster Carr, Grainger, etc.

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by cdrt on 1/5/2018, 7:09 am

Some recommend using cold water when you wash your hands, since warm water opens up the pores more.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Aprilian on 1/5/2018, 7:10 am

This is what I do since I recorded a high blood level test. 

Decap, size and expand dirty brass wearing gloves and n100 dust mask
Ultrasonically clean brass to eliminate any dust from cleaning
Sticky walk-off mat leaving reloading room
Gloves when handling lead projectiles 
Scrub with lead-off soap if I forgot to use gloves
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by willnewton on 1/5/2018, 7:14 am

A Dr. buddy of mine that reloads told me that the main issue is ingestion and inhalation. He tests his lead levels often and has never had an issue.

You need to look out for lead dust in dry case tumbling media and make sure to wash your hands very well.

I use an ultrasonic cleaner to wet clean my brass and there is always a slurry of lead and powder in the bottom.  Then I toss that brass in the dry media tumbler briefly for a satin finish. I feel like this cuts down the amount of lead exposure in what has been documented as the highest lead concentration location most shooters will encounter, the dry tumbler.

Most of the time a solid handwashing with a pumice soap like Lava is all I need.  I am more concerned with using gloves when cleaning the pistols with solvents, as they have little trouble passing through the skin.

I will sometimes wear gloves if I am doing a lot of old case handling. Basically, if I know I am about to make a mess, I reach for the gloves.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 1/5/2018, 8:02 am

I wear rubber gloves
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Bullseye_Stan on 1/5/2018, 8:19 am

A logical approach to minimize lead exposure when reloading is to not use exposed lead bullets.  As such, using jacketed, plated, or coated bullets eliminates contact with metallic lead.  I've considered using plated bullets, but just wash my hands instead.  When  I clean brass, I use a mixture of water, vinegar, salt, and dish soap, four parts water to one part vinegar (2 oz vinegar to 8 oz water) with a teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of dish soap per 8 oz of water.  That mixture is poured down the drain after cleaning.  I've never noticed lead particles, but then I don't clean brass that often.


Last edited by Bullseye_Stan on 1/5/2018, 8:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Wobbley on 1/5/2018, 8:20 am

Wear rubber gloves. Instead of dry tumbling, wet tumble or ultrasonic cleaning before priming. When handling lead bullets wear gloves. Wash your hands after reloading or shooting,
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by BE Mike on 1/5/2018, 8:34 am

Most of your high lead problems come from lead dust, so I wear a mask and gloves when separating brass from media. I don't use gloves while actually reloading. I use the D-Lead liquid soap afterwards. It can be used without water. I put it on my hands and clean it off with a paper towel. If you really want to keep the lead low, use a D-Lead mat at the exit to your reloading area and change your clothes immediately and wash them. Having been tested over the years, I find that normal hygiene and not smoking or eating while involved with lead handling will keep my lead levels very low. If you have small children around, make sure that they stay away from the lead and lead dust. They are much more vulnerable to exposure than adults and can have permanent physical damage. It really isn't as dangerous for adults as some would have you believe, unless you completely disregard all sensible precautions.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by LenV on 1/5/2018, 10:45 am

I never wear gloves. I never wear a mask. I do add a little waxy water to my dry media tumbler to keep the dust down. I have handled thousands and thousands of lead bullets and have never had a level higher then 9. My only advice would be don't load bullets and eat chips with the same hand. I sometimes remember to wash up right away. Sometimes don't. I use to handle a lot of lead in my occupation and got tested a lot. Contact isn't a problem. Just have to keep it out of your mouth and nose.

Len
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Aprilian on 1/5/2018, 10:57 am

I think that we all have different susceptibilities to accumulating it in our systems.  For me it built up in my blood with no physical effects.  For others it seems not to build up in their blood but may impact the size of their hands  Razz Wink
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by USSR on 1/5/2018, 10:58 am

LenV wrote:Contact isn't a problem. Just have to keep it out of your mouth and nose.

Len

Len nailed it.  Been reloading and casting for 40 years, and just last year had my lead level checked; 8.

Don
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by mikemyers on 1/5/2018, 11:20 am

Thanks for all the info.  

I bought a box of surgical gloves, and always use them when digging the brass out of the tumbler.  I haven't decided whether or not to use them for handling lead bullets - I thought I might, but most of you seem to feel that's a non-issue.

I will also buy some of the appropriate soap, as I don't yet have any.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to, or even could, reload on my RCBS Pro2000 while wearing the surgical gloves.  For operating the machine, sure, but for checking the load every tenth round or so, I thought that might be difficult with gloves.  

(I still wear the gloves for cleaning guns, as it leaves my hands looking like an office worker, not a factory worker, and I'm still not sure if Hoppe's #9 is dangerous.  Eventually I will buy something that doesn't smell so bad, and hopefully is user-friendly.)
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Wobbley on 1/5/2018, 1:59 pm

Hoppes isn’t bad now that they’ve taken the nitrobenzene out of it.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Vociferous on 1/5/2018, 3:20 pm

Wash your hands before going to the bathroom.  Do this after handling lead and hot peppers.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by Aprilian on 1/5/2018, 5:19 pm

That wasn't what my wife meant when she accused me of having lead in my p#n%s  lol!
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by LenV on 1/5/2018, 6:30 pm

Aprilian wrote:I think that we all have different susceptibilities to accumulating it in our systems.  For me it built up in my blood with no physical effects.  For others it seems not to build up in their blood but may impact the size of their hands  Razz Wink
What? Huh? oh lol!
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by james r chapman on 1/5/2018, 6:52 pm

Aprilian wrote:That wasn't what my wife meant when she accused me of having lead in my p#n%s  lol!



Oh, Vanna, I'd like to buy two vowels.
Oh My!!

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by davekp on 1/6/2018, 6:03 am

Another problem is the OCD types that constantly sweep the firing line, stirring up the dust. The lead in the primer compound is the big source of lead in the air.

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by blindshooter on 1/6/2018, 7:31 am

Do you just ask the Doc to add lead to the normal blood tests? I spent most of my life shooting rifles with jacketed bullets but I have used dry tumblers for 30 plus years. I did find I have a mild allergy to walnut dust, my hands would swell after stock work and dumping brass out of tumblers so I learned to avoid the dust as much as possible.

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by kjanracing on 1/6/2018, 9:47 am

I wear exam gloves when reloading. I’m an auto technician and started wearing them 30 years ago when working on cars. People would ask if I was afraid of getting AIDs. Now many people wear them. For me, it’s about minimizing exposure over a long period of time, many years.
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by gregbenner on 1/10/2018, 11:38 am

I shoot several times a week, nearly always at an indoor range.

After hearing/reading other threads on lead/blood levels I asked my doctor to include this in my normal blood test (I get them often since I have prostate cancer).  This was 12 months. Reading was 26, then 28, 3 months later after I started wearing surgical gloved when reloading  (this was discouraging).  I then saw a hematologist who indicated that the likely cause was inhalation (as mentioned previously) although he also suggested surgical gloves/soap etc.  He also suggested a filter, which I rejected.  At my age, 69, he wasn't very concerned at mid 20s lead level, indicated 40-50 would be an issue.

The gunsmith at the local range, whom I know well, said his doctor recommended over the counter pills (heavy metal cleansers). Modified Citrus Pectin and Alpha Lapoic Acid. My last blood test showed a reduction of nearly 30%. to a 18 level. I have continued the "meds", will get the lead level tested again in a couple months or so.


ps. When I asked my hematologist about the aforementioned meds, he was unfamiliar with them, but did a search while I was in his office and indicated he saw no harm in me trying them.  He said he didn't see many cases of adults with high lead readings, probably because he was located in La Jolla. an upscale community next to San Diego.  He said  occupational oriented hematologists would have more insight into over the counter meds.

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by USSR on 1/10/2018, 12:31 pm

gregbenner wrote:I shoot several times a week, nearly always at an indoor range.

This is where you are getting your high lead levels from.   Wearing surgical gloves isn't gonna prevent you from inhaling the lead styphinate you get when you fire your primers indoors.

Don
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Re: Lead protection when reloading

Post by gregbenner on 1/10/2018, 2:25 pm

USSR wrote:
gregbenner wrote:I shoot several times a week, nearly always at an indoor range.

This is where you are getting your high lead levels from.   Wearing surgical gloves isn't gonna prevent you from inhaling the lead styphinate you get when you fire your primers indoors.

 

I agree. That's why I started taking the lead cleansers. Wearing a respirator filter at the range was a non starter for me, particularly since my doctor wasn't all that concerned about my levels, even at 28. I still wear the gloved when reloading, makes my wife feel better.  I think the other advantage of gloves is preventing inadvertent transfers when touching anything with lead on your fingers.

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Re: Lead protection when reloading

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