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  QUESTION: Lead poisoning prevention - indoor pistol shooting range, 27 Nov 2006, California USA

I will soon be joining a pistol shooting league which operates mostly in an indoor range.
What steps can I take to protect myself from lead poisoning?
If respirators are the answer, I've been having a tough time finding the right one. Is a half-mask with N100 sufficient? If so, what models are recommended. Please be specific - give brands and model numbers.
Do I need to shower and wash my clothes after a shooting session?
ANSWER: 08 Dec 2006

Dear Gary,
Sorry for the delayed response. Below are a few useful links that should help answer your questions. Be sure to check your blood lead levels before you begin as well as at 6 month intervals or sooner in order to ascertain how badly you need to use a respirator mask. 3M produces high quality models that conform to WHO standards, and the 8233 N100 HEPA certificated respirator should be more than sufficient for your needs [ 3M 8233 N100, HEPA Particulate Respirator ].

According to the following link, "If you must shoot on an indoor range, use the proper respirator. All safety and equipment supply houses sell two-stage respirator masks rated for metallic particles and vapours, and they aren't that expensive. If you find that wearing a full respirator makes it impossible to talk and to be heard on the range, at least use one of the disposable paper masks rated for fine dust and paint overspray. This will not catch the lead gases, but it will filter out some of the lead dust which is better than nothing.". In addition it outlines a rough methodology to follow after each shooting session, "When you leave the range, blow your nose, and wash your face and hands immediately with cold soapy water. The cold water closes the pores of your skin, and prevents the washing of lead particles into the pores. Thoroughly cleanse the facial area around your mouth, particularly if you have a moustache or beard. And for obvious reasons, blow your nose before you wash your face. Try to wear an outer garment, like a jumpsuit or coverall, that you can either have washed after each range session, or leave in your locker. This will prevent carrying the lead dust on your clothing into your car and home. Likewise, have a pair of shoes to change into after you get off the range. If you do go home wearing the same outer clothes you wore on the range, change them immediately, and put them in the washer. Washing one's hair before bedtime is also a good idea." Risks Of Lead Poisoning In Firearms Instructors And Their Students by Anthony M. Gregory, Copyright 1990 by THE ASLET JOURNAL, March/April 1990 Volume 4 Issue 2

Other links which may be useful include:
"Lead bullets and firing ranges - Protect Yourself and Your Family", By New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and
Lead hazards at indoor firing ranges By Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, adapted from "Point Blank: lead hazards at indoor firing ranges" produced by the Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program of the California Department of Health Services April 1996 (Updated May 2008).

I hope the above information can help.
Erik Li
(Research Assistant of Global Lead Advice and Support Service)

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