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Probably where your bullet lead has come from


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Probably where your (U.S) bullet lead has come from at some stage before being recycled into projectiles.

Absolutely amazing to watch and think "how did they come up with all the machinery and know how and the size of the underground mines".

 

These workers contact with lead is pretty high compared to what bullet casters and bullet reloaders come in contact with.

I wonder how their blood lead levels compared to ours.

 

 

 

 

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Starting at the smelting process, about 17:20, I did all those jobs from '78 - '01 at the East Helena ASARCO lead smelter. By '78, it was on a larger scale - the blast furnaces were a little larger, with 21 tuyeres down each side, the dross skimming was done by an overhead crane with the "Bullion Man" positioning the dross into a line in front of a scoop with a wooden paddle as the "Crane Man" pulled it across the kettle. The hundred pound pigs were long gone by '78, and we pumped the finish lead into ten 10 ton molds instead. There were compound angled steel wedges placed on each end of the mold by the Bullion Man, then a mixture of wet talc was troweled around them to prevent the lead from flowing behind them. After drying, the lead was pumped in. When the lead solidified, a different overhead crane lifted the pigs out and into a rail car.

 

Early on in my career, blood lead levels of 60 or more weren't uncommon, and even toward the end when the plant shut down, "in plant" medical removal was something like 27...? I am very susceptible to lead poisoning, and as OSHA mandated lower and lower levels, I was spending more and more time on medical removal, working mainly in our laundry facility, bath house custodian, mowing lawns, or whatever "busy work" they came up with. One time, the manager's wife complained about all the deer crap in the management housing across the creek from the plant, about ten houses for senior management, so a couple of us were sent to report to her one morning, and she had us hand pick deer pellets off the lawns all week. :lol:

 

Today, the big slag pile is all that's left. All the housing was torn down, the 4 stacks were demolished, the entire plant was torn down, leveled, covered in several feet of dirt, and is being sold off as industrial park lots.

 

 

The three concrete/masonry stacks coming down. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pIJb9t9BVY

The steel zinc plant stack coming down. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQjyrhnNkq4

 

The end of an era, 1888-2001.

 

Smelter.jpg

Edited by Three Foot Johnson
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Must be something to getting lead in your pencil, hence "Three Foot Johnson":lol:

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