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Bullet casters Question


Rye Miles #13621
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Just wondering how the lead levels are in you bullet casters. Mine's a little high but not anywhere near dangerous and I just reload. Also are there precautions you take to limit your lead levels?

 

Anyone?

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Just now, Sedalia Dave said:

I have a vent hood over my pot to pull any fumes out of my reloading building when I am casting.  Very important to wash your hands before eating or drinking.

Okay I do that now after reloading. I would think being exposed to lead while casting is worse though. Am I wrong? I've been thinking about doing it.

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I cast inside my garage close to the open door, and have a fan sitting on the table with the pot between me and the fan so that the air moves away from me.  I don’t eat or drink anything during a casting session.  I scrub my hands thoroughly with a fingernail brush after the session.  My lead level has not been tested in several years, but the last test came back so low that my doctor said don’t worry about it.

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I take most of the usual precautions(mask,gloves,good ventilation,no food or drink,etc),and my BLLnever got above 6.5.when I switched to wet tumbling level fell to just over 3.

The current thinking is that you are exposed to more lead through fired primer residue than you are from your lead pot.

Of course , YMMV.

Choctaw Jack 

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I stopped casting when my lead level reached astronomical levels.  But I think most of it was from shooting bullseye indoors.  I now wear a mask when I shoot indoors and my lead level now hovers between 5 and 7.  Added quite a bit of other safety precautions.  Clothes worn while shooting now go directly into the laundry.  I use the lead wipes immediately after shooting.  Only use powder coated bullets, etc. 

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The man that taught me how to reload said most lead exposure comes from using a vibratory tumbler in the same room you reload in.  Apparently the tumbler dust is fine enough to hang around in the air and is easily breathed in.  When it comes to casting the lead is nowhere near boiling, so long as precautions are taken the exposure to lead is very low.

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I cast outdoors on my back porch.  Most of the time, I even turn on a powerful fan.  As mentioned above, there's little to worry about from the lead alloy melting.  Lead is not being held hot enough when casting to emit lead vapors of any significant amount.  Do be careful with lead that splatters out of pot and mold - don't carry that in your clothes or facial hair back into the house. 

 

The worst health hazard when casting (other than lifting heavy objects and potential burns) is the drossing operation.  The dross (crud) that separates from dirty lead can contain several toxic metals and, if calcium was present in the lead, the dross can emit either stibnene or arsine gas (poisonous) when the dross powder is exposed to damp air.  Be very careful handling the dross and dispose of it properly.

 

good luck, GJ

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When its up and running I am fortunate enough to have a window less than 2 feet behind my lead pot.  In that window is a large box fan set to "suck" and I open windows in front of the pot so airflow is always being drawn out by that fan.  I have clothing that I wear when casting, for both warm weather and cold, that stay outside and dont come in unless its going into the washer.  

 

Contact contamination is probably the greatest concern so not smoking eating etc while casting is a must do. Handwashing after is also a must, and info from a industrial hygiene pard, use COLD water which closes the pores in your skin and helps keep the bad stuff out.   Dont touch mucus membranes, eyes mouth nose etc until you decon.

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I worked at a lead smelter for 23 years. Toward the end (the place shut down in 2001) I was on in-plant medical removal for at least 4 months out of the year. Some people are much more susceptible to lead poisoning than others. We had an electrician who would go into buildings where you couldn't see the far wall, take his respirator off because it was in the way, and his blood level was seldom more than 12. In the same conditions, I would wear a full hooded, disposable Tyvek suit over my coveralls, booties, and a PAPR, and it did no good at all - I forget what medical removal was at the time, but 45 or 48 kind of sticks in my mind, and I'd be back to mopping floors, mowing lawns, and weeding the managers garden. Just for "busy work", they'd sometimes have us high lead guys go to the salaried housing area and hand pick deer turds off the lawns. :o

During my blood work last fall at the VA, I requested a blood lead test, and it came back 31 μg/dL - pretty dang high by today's standards. I cast outside, with the prevailing breeze at my back, and often wear a respirator, but I still soak up lead particulates like a sponge. :(

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I cast for 5 -6 years (2 Magma Casters) no gloves - can’t wear them and adjust machine - and, if you wear latex and get splatter… I cast 5 days a week for 5-6 years, reloaded and dry tumbled. I never had a level above 12. I was CRAZY about hygiene and always washed my hands with Lead-Off foaming wash. When I started casting it was 9. I also shot 500% more when I was casting… and began to TO.  
 

I tumble outside, wear a mask when I separate it and have a fan behind me. The spent primer is a source of lead styphanate (sp) so I’m very careful with my dirty brass, too. 
 

Coated bullets may/may not help…it’s still lead and made in a lead filled environment so I proceed as though it’s just plain old lead. There are some natural supplements that can remove heavy metals however, I read that using them can also make a person more susceptible to the heavy metal…I tried for a bit but since I didn’t have issues with high numbers I stopped. Kinda like dieting…:D

 

Hygiene! Hygiene! Hygiene!!

 

Hugs!

Scarlett

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Just tested my lead level, it was 13.

I.hang out at my neighbors place, CheyCast, and help from time to time. The shop is very clean and they have nice ventilation. I only open my tumblers in front of a large commercial exhaust fan in my shop, I can see the dust go into the duct.

Pretty sure my level is higher than recommended because of the dust blowing back from shotgun knockdown targets. Most ranges face north and the wind blows straight back into the shooter and TO. I've backed off on timing.

Or, eliminate the shotgun.

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This thread inspired me; spent a few hours casting 125s and 158s today.

 

32EE24D5-3768-4F97-A37D-172258AE61C9.thumb.jpeg.6150ad7adaeb2ec38c70a76a67ded562.jpeg
 

Gee I love retirement!  :D

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It's always interesting when we discuss lead levels, I've tried to analise the different things that I do in relation to casting & shooting.

My Magna Caster is set -up in a 20' shipping container, I have both the end doors open and use a fan.

In earlier days I reckon I used to get a metallic taste in the mouth but since I stopped melting reclaimed shot I no longer get that taste,I'm thinking it's the arsenic that was in the shot..now I buy plain scrap lead & don't have a problem. I melt at approx 710 degrees, wear gloves & mask.

If I don't cast for a few monthe my levels do slightly drop,casting is not the main problem...IMHO it is definitely shooting & the type of range.

I regularly attend a range that is outdoors but confined by  both overhead railing  & side walls.....this I have proven to myself , when I shoot at this range with real BP my levels do go up, not as much when using smokeless  [ strange..maybe not..think about it  !! ]

My level has been as high as 20 & as low as 5 but vary regularly, unless you are excessively high or the lead gets into the bones in most cases there  are no side affects. most shooters never get tested so would not know that their levels could be high.

I've learned to live with it , I'm not going to give up shooting & I have regular 3 month tests, always tumble outside, I never wear gloves when reloading using uncoated bullets as I find you lose the feel' & just to awkward., wash hands frequently  especially before food.

Presently my level is 12.

 

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My lead level is 12 and I don't cast. I wash my hands after reloading etc. 

When I was working part time in a gun shop/range 2 days a week my lead level went up to 27!! That's from sweeping afterwards and just being there period. When I stopped working there it quickly came down to 17, them 12 and it's stayed there. That's why I'm concerned about casting.

 

Thanks for all the info! I got some thinking to do!

 

Rye B)

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Rye,

 

I only cast 2 or 3 days a year and my last bll test was 11.  The one 3 years ago was 12. I do act a brass picker a lot though. I also reciently decided to wear rubber gloves while processing brass during wet tumbling.

 

A fellow shooter and former SWAT officer told me to start taking a Centrum vitamin a day and my levels would come down significantly. he learned about it while on the job. Said his whole squad started taking a Centrum a day and their bll all dropped significantly.

 

I started about 2 months ago after my last test. I take another test in a year and see what the results are.

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I cast outdoors only a couple times a year, powder coat.  I try to wear disposable gloves when i'm handling stuff.  I am extra cautious around the dross.  Always wash hands.  got tested a few years ago when we found out the house we were renting had lead paint, very low levels at the time.  I'm more worried when I come across corroded powdery lead as the lead oxide is the dangerous stuff from what I understand.

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In Canada: "The current blood lead intervention level is 10 µg/dL. This is the level at which action is recommended to reduce exposure. However, there is evidence to indicate that negative health effects are occurring at lower levels of exposure than previously thought."

 

In the USA: 

◆ At levels above 80 µg/dL, serious, permanent health damage may occur (extremely dangerous).

◆ Between 40 and 80 µg/dL, serious health damage may be occuring, even if there are no symptoms (seriously elevated).

◆ Between 25 and 40 µg/dL, regular exposure is occuring. There is some evidence of potential physiologic problems (elevated).

◆ Between 10 and 25 µg/dL, lead is building up in the body and some exposure is occuring. The typical level for U.S. adults is less than 10 µg/dL (mean = 3 µg/dL).

 

My lead/blood test results have 2 measurements, umol/L and ug/L

 

To convert ug/L (micro grams per liter) to ug/dL (micro grams per demi liter) you would divide by 10.

 

My last test came in at 44.7 ug/L or 4.47 ug/dL. At 10 ug/dl, I would require intervention.

 

However, it is flagged on my results as being "Above High Normal". 

 

As stated above, spent primers are probably the more common and prevalent source of lead exposure for shooters. Indoor ranges require ventilation, and it needs to be fairly large to keep the air clean. 

 

Centrum: Interesting, I'll be doing some research on that. 

 

I appreciate shooter sharing their test levels, it creates a real life standard, but to be comparable, the units of measurement are required as well.

 

For example, if I reported my level as being 44.7, which is exactly the level listed on my report, it would seem to be higher than those of Scarlett, but without knowing the units of measurement, it would be hard to compare readings. 

 

The other number on my report is 0.22, again meaningless without the units of measurement listed. 

 

The standard for limits set by OSHA and other agencies seem to be in ug/dL, but not all labs give their results in those units. 

 

BB  

Edited by "Big Boston"
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The old US standards have been proven to be orders of magnitude way too high.

 

This is a long read but rather interesting.

 

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of

 

For 60 years, American drivers unknowingly poisoned themselves by pumping leaded gasoline into their tanks. Here is the lifelong saga of Clair Patterson—a scientist who helped build the atomic bomb and discovered the true age of the Earth—and how he took on a billion-dollar industry to save humanity from itself.

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3 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Rye,

 

I only cast 2 or 3 days a year and my last bll test was 11.  The one 3 years ago was 12. I do act a brass picker a lot though. I also reciently decided to wear rubber gloves while processing brass during wet tumbling.

 

A fellow shooter and former SWAT officer told me to start taking a Centrum vitamin a day and my levels would come down significantly. he learned about it while on the job. Said his whole squad started taking a Centrum a day and their bll all dropped significantly.

 

I started about 2 months ago after my last test. I take another test in a year and see what the results are.

Centrum?? I've been taking it for years!!:rolleyes:

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2 hours ago, "Big Boston" said:

 to be comparable, the units of measurement are required as well.   

 

In the US, as well as in Canada, blood lead is reported in ug/dL

So, US and Canadian results are directly comparable.

 

good luck, GJ

 

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Or

On 9/23/2021 at 9:00 AM, Rye Miles #13621 said:

Just wondering how the lead levels are in you bullet casters. Mine's a little high but not anywhere near dangerous and I just reload. Also are there precautions you take to limit your lead levels?

 

Anyone?

Stop reloading and shooting.  :o:lol:

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This thread Gives me some things to think about now that my 9yo son has started shooting CAS with me. Not that it freaks me out but there are some pretty simple protocols and habits I can instill in him now that should serve him well over his life. Thanks for this thread guys and gals!

 

JJ

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"The average blood lead level among Australians is now estimated to be below 5 micrograms per decilitre (5 µg/dL or 0.24 µmol/L)A blood lead level greater than 5 µg/dL (0.24 µmol/L) suggests that a person has been, or continues to be, exposed to lead at a level that is above what is considered the average ‘background’ exposure in Australia."

 

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/controlguideline/Pages/lead.aspx

 

Also be very careful of Iranian opium ( I can't even believe this is from the government ) -

 

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/controlguideline/Documents/lead-opium-alert-july2018.pdf

Edited by Buckshot Bear
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9 hours ago, I. M. Crossdraw, SASS# 8321 said:

Or

Stop reloading and shooting.  :o:lol:

Yea like that'll happen!!:lol:

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You probably get more exposure from the primers we use than while casting.  Inhalation is the primary exposure hazard with lead, although some can be absorbed through the skin, it is very small in comparison to the inhalation danger.  Frankly, the lead staphinate in the primers is very easy (almost unavoidable) to inhale while shooting and is also a danger in the vibratory brass cleaners we use.  However, good ventilation is a must when casting and try not to overheat the pot as that will cause more vaporization as well.  I generally cast outside on the back patio and still use a fan to move the air from the pot away from me.  No eating or smoking during casting sessions and as other have already mentioned, washing your hands is a must before doing so.  In fact, a full body shower and change of clothes, after a casting session would be a good thing if your really concerned about your exposure level.  Good luck and good shooting to all.      

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1 hour ago, Bison Bud said:

You probably get more exposure from the primers we use than while casting.  Inhalation is the primary exposure hazard with lead, although some can be absorbed through the skin, it is very small in comparison to the inhalation danger.  Frankly, the lead staphinate in the primers is very easy (almost unavoidable) to inhale while shooting and is also a danger in the vibratory brass cleaners we use.  However, good ventilation is a must when casting and try not to overheat the pot as that will cause more vaporization as well.  I generally cast outside on the back patio and still use a fan to move the air from the pot away from me.  No eating or smoking during casting sessions and as other have already mentioned, washing your hands is a must before doing so.  In fact, a full body shower and change of clothes, after a casting session would be a good thing if your really concerned about your exposure level.  Good luck and good shooting to all.      

According to my references, airborne exposure is 20% primer/80% bullet.

For those that want to shoot wax bullets out in the garage or basement, I wouldn't recommend the practice. 

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10 hours ago, JJ “Reb” Wainwright 110206 said:

This thread Gives me some things to think about now that my 9yo son has started shooting CAS with me. Not that it freaks me out but there are some pretty simple protocols and habits I can instill in him now that should serve him well over his life. Thanks for this thread guys and gals!

 

JJ

 

When he picks up brass as a posse duty have him wear gloves.

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While we are on the subject of bullet casting; how do you keep pure lead balls from oxidizing in storage? Mine all want to turn gray if they are allowed to be exposed to the air for even a few days.  

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So I may set up casting in my garage but with winter on it's way I'll put it off till spring.

Thanks for all the tips!!

Rye

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16 minutes ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

So I may set up casting in my garage but with winter on it's way I'll put it off till spring.

Thanks for all the tips!!

Rye

 

Winter is the perfect time to cast. The heat from the pot will keep you warm and the lower humidity helps too.

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26 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

While we are on the subject of bullet casting; how do you keep pure lead balls from oxidizing in storage? Mine all want to turn gray if they are allowed to be exposed to the air for even a few days.  


I have good luck keeping them shiny by sealing them in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out .

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