Whether you shoot every day, once a week, or once a month, I want to show you how to avoid lead poisoning and explain to you why this is so important. The fact is, far too many shooters are unaware of the dangers of lead, which was proved to me recently when a group I was talking with didn’t even know ammo still contains lead these days.
So first off, let me explain how you’re exposed to lead every time you shoot. Lead is contained in the primer of each round, so when you fire your gun all of the residue and powder from the explosion lands on your hands, face and shirt and you’re essentially covered in lead particles. (It’s even worse if you use lead bullets without a copper jacket.)
In addition, if you clean your firearm when you get home, that firearm is covered in lead dust. When you’re shoving the cleaning rod down the barrel that dust is shooting out of the barrel into your house.
And lastly, if you happen to walk around and pick up your brass after you shoot, then you’re picking up brass covered in lead. And if you put that brass in your pocket or scoop it up in a hat, then you have a pocket or hat covered in lead dust.
So why is this such a big deal?
Well, as I’m sure you’re aware, lead isn’t good for the body. It gets absorbed in the nervous system and kidneys, and causes headaches, muscle pain, loss of appetite, seizures… and every guy’s favorite… impotence.
What’s more, it’s especially dangerous for children to be exposed to lead. Adults absorb about 20% of the lead they ingest, whereas, children absorb over three times that amount… 70% of the lead they ingest.
In fact, when I was with the Agency I knew a guy who’s children were showing developmental problems. He and his family were tested for lead and showed extremely high levels.
What happened is that when he’d get home from the shooting range he would walk all through the house and track lead all over the house from his shoes. Then, he would pick up his children and they’d get lead all over them from the shirt he was wearing.
So here’s what I do to make sure that my family and myself doesn’t get lead poisoning.
1. I have a pair of shoes that are dedicated to the shooting range. I take them off before I even enter my house.
2. When I get home from the range I fully undress in the garage. I take off all of my clothes and put them in the wash.
3. Even though I’ve taken off all of my clothes I still don’t touch my daughter or my wife until I’ve had a chance to shower. When I first get in the shower I wash my face with cold water (hot water causes the pores to open and you’ll absorb more lead.)
4. When I clean my guns, I make sure that I am using cleaning rags underneath and that the lead dust isn’t falling on my carpet. I also make sure I’m alone and that my daughter isn’t anywhere near me. (Obviously, I wouldn’t have anyone around me when I clean guns anyway.)
So from now on when you get home from shooting, please take the proper precautions so you’re not putting yourself, children, or grandchildren at unnecessary risk of lead exposure.