Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ESCA Tech & Lead Safety

While we're here in the middle of the indoor shooting season, it might be a good reminder for some of us that practice a lot or run a fair number of matches to keep track of our blood lead levels (BLL).

If you've never felt concerned about this, read up on it - Wiki has a fairly good entry.

The problem has lasting effects down the road and, if left alone, can cause some nasty neurological problems. The good news is that some basic preventative care can go a long way in reducing your risk. Getting lead off of your hands and face, especially since many of us head out for a post-shooting pizza & beer session, is most important. Getting lead off of your clothing is next in line.

My levels were elevated and by following these steps I was able to reduce my exposure and bring my levels down:
  1. I wear "range-only" clothing when I shoot. Additionally, I wash it with a lead-binding detergent (see below) separate from everything when I get home.
  2. I spray my boots with a mixture of D-Lead soap & water solution. (50-50 mix)
  3. I wipe my ear muffs, bag handles, holster, hat, and etc with a D-Lead wipe.
  4. I wash my hands with cold water and D-Lead, followed by hot water and D-Lead.
  5. I try not to eat after shooting.
  6. I wear vinyl/nitrile gloves while reloading or cleaning my guns.
  7. If I'm RO-ing, I try to wear a lead mask while running the line.
D-Lead soap is available at some of the better ranges like Pine Tree, but if it isn't available at your range, it is cheap enough to keep a small 8oz. bottle in your range bag...

You can order D-Lead soap, detergent, and lead wipes online from ESCA Tech.

If you are concerned, go see your doctor and ask them about getting script to order a BLL test - many of the outpatient labs will do it for a reasonable fee and most doctors will issue you a script that is a standing order. If you're shooting a lot, consider getting a test done every 2 months in the winter season (we shoot more indoors where the exposure is MUCH worse) and perhaps once over the summer. Keeping track of this is just as important as keeping track of your zero, your load data, and your classifications scores.