Lead dangers from handling primers

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WyoGunner

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 27, 2009
Messages
193
I recently finished loading over 700 rounds last weekend. As many of you know, when you remove the primers in the first stage of a progressive reloading press there is an interesting little "poof" of smoke that appears. I have just come to find out that the majority of primers contain lead. I am not overly concerned with exposure to lead and I simply wash my hands after handling lead bullets. Even so, ingestion of lead is definitely not a good thing and I think inhaling it is probably one of the worst things one can do. So my question to everyone on the forum is: Do you think the vapor produced from removing primers contains lead? I think wearing a mask is a little extreme, but if the vapor does in fact contain lead, it probably isn't a bad idea. In addition, what does everyone do to avoid exposure to lead?
 
A

Anonymous

I gotta wonder how bad all this lead (scare) stuff really is.
It kinda reminds me of the scare they ran on us with that artificial sweetener a few years back. Turned out, yes it was bad, but only you consumed a tanker truck load of it..
Seems like every day it's a new scare. Mercury everywhere. Eggs are bad for you (no they're not, yes they are, no they're not). Red meat. On and on and on

Would I snort it? No
Would I worry about it? No

You know, they took the lead out of red lead paint a few years back.
But you could still by lead and put it back in :roll:
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,741
Hi,

There are all kinds of papers that have been written on lead exposure, and the few I've read all point back to the "standard" toxicologist's definition of a poison: it's not the substance but the dosage that determines toxicity.

In plain English, water's necessary for life, but too much can kill you!

Lead's not "necessary" but IS a common environmental element that can be problematic as the "dosage" increases, hence the concern. For some easy to digest ideas on the subject of range exposure you might extrapolate to reloading practices, here's one link:

http://www.chuckkleinauthor.com/lead_poisoning.html

Personally, I don't worry about exposure from depriming, but I'm also a confirmed single stager, so that little "puff" isn't something I notice. I tend to believe the serious exposure risks are more likely encountered during firing, not loading, the ammo. The simplest of the precautions the author suggests seem adequate to me, but I figure each person's gotta determine their own "red line" and decide how to live below it...

This is one area where erring on the side of caution might not help, but certainly won't hurt you!

Rick C
 

Pal Val

Buckeye
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
1,520
I'm wary of lead, mostly because I test as having quite a bit of it in my system. You can have your blood tested for it if you suspect something. BTW, I got it from heat-stripping lead paint from my house without wearing any breathing protection (dumb). Lead actually smells sweet, and exposure at high elevels (like mine) leaves a sweetish taste in your mouth that lingers for some time. Problem is that it has bad long-range effects. I got it 20 years ago, and still have some neurological effects from it that will never completely go away.

To be sure, I do my reloading in a well ventilated room. In the winter, I vacumm the room thoroughly to avoid accumulating lead-contaminated dust. I also wash my hands (up to my elbows, actually) after handling lead, and after every shooting session. I also try to avoid being downwind from the shooting.

One can never be too careful with lead.
 

Enigma

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
1,993
I practice common-sense preventive measures: I wash my hands thoroughly after reloading or handling fired brass, and have recently begun wearing nitrile gloves while reloading, I wash my hands thoroughly after shooting and wear nitrile gloves while cleaning guns, wash hands thoroughly after casting bullets or otherwise handling lead or casting equipment. I have an exhaust fan running over my casting area, and I clean up thoroughly and often.

We should all be showering daily anyway, so we won't go there... :wink:

Lastly, I have my blood tested for lead levels at least annually.

I do, however, refuse to obsess about lead contamination and poisoning. There are too many other things that are going to kill me first, to obsess about lead. :roll:

Did you know that over 99% of the people in the US who died from cancer last year used toilet paper on a daily basis? OMG!!! :roll: :twisted: :p :lol: 8)
 

jimbo1096

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
1,769
Proper ventilation is all you really need. I have a fan that brings fresh air into the room and exhausts up through my attic. I make sure the flow is away and up from my loading station. The flow is subtle enough that it doesn't disturb my balance scales but I can still feel the incoming air.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,100
I've been interested in the subject for some time and believe vaporized lead is the biggest problem for the shooting enthusiast. Indoor ranges have the greatest risk and also melting and casting lead. Dust from reloading should also be avoided. Tumbling and sifting brass should be done outdoors or in well ventilated areas. Handle used primers like dust, don't breath the dust and contain it when possible. A lead level blood test once a year is a good idea to stay on top of any problem. :shock:

...Jimbo
 

maxpress

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
1,280
never seen the "poof" from decapping and have been loading .357 and .44 for a long time.
 

WyoGunner

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 27, 2009
Messages
193
maxpress said:
never seen the "poof" from decapping and have been loading .357 and .44 for a long time.

Interesting... When I punch the primer out in the first stage of my RCBS press, it produces a little poof of smoke. It is almost like there is some life left in the primer. I found it quite amusing until I realized it could contain lead and I was breathing it.
 

maxpress

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
1,280
what primers do you use? i have always used CCI.

i guess i wouldnt see it cause i use a full length resizing die with a decapping pin so the entire shell to the rim is in the die when its decapped and the primeer falls through a tube into a bucket on the floor.
 

pps

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
306
Reloader and bullet caster. Also have removed lead based paint and stain over various remodels. My lead was 0.0 mg/dl last year. reasonable precautions are in order....it hand washing, don't breath in dust or vapors whenever it's possible to avoid.
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
Actually lead as a metal doesn't affect you, its the white lead oxide dust (thats why it was used in paint) that is harmful. Its also not particularly harmful to adults, only children as they are still growing.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,100
mattsbox99":1lmmeljk said:
Actually lead as a metal doesn't affect you, its the white lead oxide dust (thats why it was used in paint) that is harmful. Its also not particularly harmful to adults, only children as they are still growing.

I do not believe that.

EPA Facts: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm#facts

People can get lead in their body if they:
Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.
Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.
Breathe in lead dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces.


Lead is more dangerous to children because:
Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
Children's growing bodies absorb more lead.
Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.


If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
Damage to the brain and nervous system
Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
Slowed growth
Hearing problems
Headaches


Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
High blood pressure and hypertension
Nerve disorders
Memory and concentration problems
Muscle and joint pain

...Jimbo
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
The lead in paint and soil is lead oxide, and it takes a lot more lead to harm an adult than a child.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,100
Don't kid yourself about the dangers of lead.

From Wiki:

Lead paint is paint containing lead, a heavy metal, that is used as pigment, with lead(II) chromate (PbCrO4, "chrome yellow") and lead(II) carbonate(PbCO3, "white lead") being the most common.



http://www.marblecolors.com/index.html

quote> Lead is absorbed into the body through the lungs or the mouth and is a cumulative poison, being stored in the bone tissue. Early symptoms of lead poisoning are tiredness, headache, aching bones and muscles, forgetfulness, loss of appetite and sleep disturbance. One tell-tale sign is a blue line on the gums. This is followed by constipation and attacks of intense pain in the abdomen, called lead colic. As more lead is absorbed into the body, paralysis sets in. This affects the radial nerve in particular, causing 'wrist drop'. In the final stages, the victim suffers convulsions, coma, delirium and possibly death. Full-blown cases of lead poisoning are rare today, because of better hygiene practices in industry. However, people working in occupations such as (but not limited to) radiator repair, battery manufacture, lead soldering, engine reconditioning, and non-ferrous smelting and casting need to be under medical surveillance and have blood lead level tests to monitor the amount of lead in their bodies. Employees working for Lead pigment manufacturers are subject to these controls.

Some of the proteins that are known to be affected by lead regulate blood pressure (which can cause development delays in children and high blood pressure in adults), heme production (which can lead to anemia), and sperm production (possibly implicating lead in infertility). Lead displaces calcium in the reactions that transmit electrical impulses in the brain, which is another way of saying it diminishes your ability to think or recall information, or makes you stupid. <end

...Jimbo
 

ChuckS1

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
82
LOL, you gonna believe everything the Government tells you, or Wikipedia, for that matter?

Seriously, I doubt that any of us are so exposed to lead from reloading or casting that we'd have any of these issues. More hyperbole. A little simple common sense is what we need here.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,100
ChuckS1":1hlln05s said:
LOL, you gonna believe everything the Government tells you, or Wikipedia, for that matter?

Seriously, I doubt that any of us are so exposed to lead from reloading or casting that we'd have any of these issues. More hyperbole. A little simple common sense is what we need here.

I can agree with that. I just don't think we can dismiss the risks and dangers out of hand. In many cases persons may have serious exposure and not even know it. For instance indoor range workers, and cowboy shooters and casters to name two. ...And as CD said, all of us reloaders should be aware of possible exposure at home, especially if children are in the house. That's all. :shock: :D

..Jimbo
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
My brother and I used to enjoy biting the lead pipe pieces in our grandfathers garage, to prove we could put teeth marks in metal. We also used to hammer pieces of it on the railroad track anvil to see how thin we could get it. Cut up a bunch of it with a hacksaw.

Maybe that's whats wrong with me???? Or it could be the toilet paper I've been using for 60 years....like Enigma said. :)
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,248
A little simple common sense is what we need here.
Simple as that.... If you take to heart all the doom and gloomers, we would rarely stick our nose outdoors or do anything ... or eat anything for that matter... Just wash your dirty hands like mama told you before you eat, after you shoot, reload, etc. and all is well.... Keep the house/work room clean and all is well.... When it's cold put on a coat .... Wear ear and eye protection when shooting .... You know ... simple common sense things....
 
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