Reduce lead exposure
Lead exposure while shooting and handling firearms and ammunition can easily be avoided:
The use or consumption of food, beverages, tobacco, gum or cosmetics
is prohibited in the range. Lead dust on hands can easily contaminate such items.
Practice good hygiene: Wash hands, arms, face and blow your nose before eating, drinking, smoking, or contact with others.
To limit contamination of objects, bags and clothing, only the weapons to
be fired and the necessary ammunition should be carried into the range.
Do not put spent brass in your pockets or under your hat.
If you reload your own ammunition or handle spent brass make sure you follow prescribed safety precautions for these activities.
Shoot only in a well ventilated areas. PDHSC uses 100% fresh air make up (no re-circulated air).
We move a steady constant fresh supply or filtered air past the shooter to be filtered again and exhausted down range. This ensures a safer shooter environment than even some outdoor ranges.
Note:. Common types of exposures are from inhalation (breathing in lead dust) or ingestion (swallowing lead dust, usually from contaminated hands or food).
Tip: Some shooters carry baby wipes in the their range bags and we also carry a similar product specifically made for removing lead contaminants (D-LEAD wipes). Wipe down arms, hands, face and nose when running water is not available.
Sources of Airborne Lead
Most bullets are made from lead, alloyed with other metals such as tin and antimony.
When a round loaded with an unjacketed bullet is fired, the base of the bullet is subjected
to high temperatures, which produces lead vapor. You can reduce the lead emissions of your firearm by using TMJ ,TCJ pr JHP jacketed projectiles. A lot of FMJ (full metal jacket) ammo still has an exposed base.
Lead vapor is emitted from the firing of the primer. When a round is fired the vapor contains a compound called lead styphnate as well as other compounds containing barium and antimony. This is why is is important to shoot in a well ventilated area. Our ventilation system is designed to move a wall of air constantly down range away from the shooter. A positive pressure is maintained behind the shooter and a negative pressure in front of the shooter. Ammunition with Lead Free Primers are available from a few manufacturers.
An independent study found that using ammunition loaded with copper plated bullets reduced airborne lead levels by more than 95% in the area of the range where the shooters were located, as compared to ammunition using non-plated bullets.
Although I was not able to find reports that showed the risk of lead poisoning is increased with reloading, it is possible the risk is higher. When a lead bullet is seated and crimped, small particles of lead are sheared off and dispersed in the air. The reloader is often positioned with his nose less than a foot from the bullets during the reloading process, and it is possible that significant quantities of lead are inhaled. When the bullet is placed on a case for seating, small quantities of lead are transferred to the fingers and can be ingested during eating or smoking. Casting bullets increases exposure to lead and the risk of poisoning.
I have fun shooting and would like to continue to enjoy this sport, but I also want to protect myself from lead poisoning. To minimize the risk of lead poisoning, I suggest shooters take the following steps:
• Use copper-covered bullets.
• Do not shoot in a poorly ventilated range.
• Do not clean up lead dust without the use of a protective air filter.
• Avoid shooting on days when the wind is blowing toward you.
• Do not eat while shooting. After shooting, wash your hands thoroughly before you eat.
• Do not smoke while shooting. After shooting, wash your hands thoroughly before you smoke.
• Change your clothing after shooting to avoid exposure to the lead that accumulates on your clothes. Wash your clothes after a trip to the range.
• Have your blood lead checked if you shoot on a weekly basis, if you shoot or reload more than 500 rounds a month, or if you develop any symptoms of lead poisoning.
• Consider wearing a protective air filter if your blood lead is elevated.
Children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure issues. Click below for more info on lead free kids.