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QUESTION: I am a regular pistol shooter. Is there a risk of transferring the Firearm Lead to my family? 25 Nov 2007 California, USA

 Hello, My wife is 4 months pregnant.  I have been a regular pistol shooter for the past 4 months, It is work related.  My pregnant wife handles my clothing often after a day of shooting.  How much of a risk is transferring the Firearm Lead to our unborn baby?? Any Help would be appreciated Sincerely

ANSWER: 25 May 2009

Dear Victor,

I hope that your wife and baby are both in good health. Although my answer is late and I hope that lead did not affect your baby or wife, I would like to advise you to be careful with your clothes because children are quite vulnerable and your wife is probably breast feeding and that could be hazardous to her as well. I am a little surprised that the clothes are not washed at the workplace. My best advice for you is to use a set of clothes at the workplace, where they will be washed, then shower at work and return home with separate ones because lead can contaminate the rest of the washing if they are placed in the same washing machine. At the same time, if your wife handles the clothes, she can be contaminated and that may cause lead to rise in her milk which will be further transferred to the baby. If it is impossible to wash clothes at the workplace, then the best thing is to wash it separately then clean the machine with a gush of water afterwards. You have to make sure that your wife is wearing disposable gloves while handling the clothes. I know it sounds complicated but lead is very hazardous to young children because that is that stage when their brains continue to develop. It has many nasty effects on adults as well. Regarding previous exposure, it is best to measure the blood lead level in the whole family, just to rule out high levels which may need treatment.

I will be sending you another e-mail with an info pack on hazards of shooting and lead exposure and precautions you can resort to.

Regards, Iman Hegazi MBBS, MD. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Volunteer

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