Shooting firearms will result in lead exposure. You can do the following to reduce lead exposure from shooting firearms.
Shooting paper targets outside is the best way to shoot. Respirators and gloves keep lead off the body. There are wipes and soaps to remove lead from skin and detergents to wash lead off clothes. Hunting with lead free ammunition stops lead exposure from game meat.
Health Problems from Lead Exposure
Most ammunition contains lead. Firearms shooting lead ammunition release lead particles into the air. Shooters and people near shooting will absorb the lead firearms release. Lead is positively charged and the human body is negatively charged. As a result, lead will stick to shooters and get absorbed. Lead on a shooter can be transferred and absorbed by others.
Lead can cause major health problems especially for women and children.1 For children, these problems may include lower intelligence, ADHD, and delay learning.
In pregnant women, lead can harm fetal development. Unborn children may experience reduced height, head circumference, and delayed puberty.
Seizures from eclampsia can also afflict lead poisoned mothers. These seizures can disrupt fetal development.
Adults can experience the same neurological problems as children.
Should you Worry about Lead Exposure?
If you are often around firearm shooting, then yes. Unless you know that only lead free ammunition is being fired, then you are increasing the level of lead in your body.
If you don’t shoot much, you don’t need to worry about lead poisoning.
For hunters, using lead-free or core-bonded ammunition is a good idea. If lead bullets are used to take game animals, it will leave lead in the meat.
Products to Reduce Lead Exposure from Firearms
These items and procedures will reduce lead exposure from shooting. These will also reduce 2nd hand lead exposure shooters can share with others.
Shooting Gloves from Mechanix
Shooting gloves will keep the lead off your hands. Also, I have found that I touch my face less while wearing gloves. I like the “Mechanix Wear Original Shooting Gloves”. They are thin and durable. The velcro wrist closure allows shooters to secure the gloves tight and comfortable.
LeadOff Wipes by Hygenall
LeadOff Wipes by Hygenall
There is another way to get lead off your hands. There are wipes to remove lead and other toxic metals from skin including your hands and face. I use LeadOff wipes by Hygenall. Once the first wipe is threaded through the separator, each wipe can be removed one at a time.
Check of my review of LeadOff wipes
D-LEAD Body Wash and Shampoo
D-Lead Body Wash and Shampoo
D-LEAD makes a body wash and shampoo. It looks and feels like liquid hand soap. Also, it makes a good lather.
It has no added fragrance. This makes it smell almost like a medical soap. It leaves no lasting smell in the hair.
D-LEAD did not make this to clean the grease out of hair. If it’s not a heavy metal, this shampoo will not remove it. Use your favorite shampoo and soap after getting the lead out.
Removing Lead from Clothing with D-LEAD Detergent
D-Lead Detergent and Respirator Cleaner
Take a change of clothes and a garbage bag with you to the range. After shooting, change clothes and put the clothes you shot with in the garbage bag. Wash the dirty clothes with D-LEAD laundry detergent. It takes 1 ounce of detergent to clean 10 pounds of clothing. I pour a half shot glass in the washing machine to clean my clothes after shooting.
The containers D-Lead uses are weak. The cap broke when I dropped it from 2 feet. A gallon jug of bleach from a dollar store has a better container than D-Lead uses. I will pour this detergent into a well cleaned bleach jug and throw away the D-Lead jug.
My review of D-Lead Body wash and Detergent
3M Half Face Respirator
Removing the Mask with the Release Latch
A respirator will keep lead dust from entering your lungs. I like the 3M half face respirator mask. Once the retention straps are to your liking they no longer need to be adjusted. You can just use the quick release latch. It allows for quick and easy removal. The latch can pinch the filters. When putting the latch down, be sure the filters are out of the way.
The exhalation valve cover directs exhaled breath and moisture downward. This reduces fogging of glasses and face shields.
The straps have a lot of slack. The excess length flares out. As a result, the extra cordage does not bother my face, scalp, cheeks, or neck. It could be cut and burned at the ends with a lighter to remove it.
You will need to be clean shaven other than a mustache to get a good seal.
The filters install and remove easily. They have always remained secure for me. The filters have not come out without hand removal. The filters need to be replaced when air flow becomes restrictive.
Check out my review of the 3M Half Face Respirator
See if it’s right for you.
Lead Free Ammunition
Using lead free ammunition will stop your gun from increase your lead level. All popular calibers have lead free options except 22 Long Rifle. There is 22LR with all copper bullets, but the primers are still lead.