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Indoor shooting range health hazards?

This is a discussion on Indoor shooting range health hazards? within the Handguns forums, part of the Gun Forum category; Sorry I don't know where to post this thread/question exactly so here it is. Visited my first indoor shooting range this weekend and the question ...

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Old May 29th, 2012, 05:58 PM   #1
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Talking Indoor shooting range health hazards?

Sorry I don't know where to post this thread/question exactly so here it is.

Visited my first indoor shooting range this weekend and the question of what sort of health hazards I might be facing by visiting an indoor range started to occur to me. I ask because when I left my throat and sinuses was pretty irritated when I left.

I tried to do some googling on the subject and mostly I got some information about how employee's and frequent visitors to ranges might want to get lead exposure blood tests done but not much could be found in regards to someone like me who might visit an indoor range 2 or 3 times a month for 1-2 hours a trip.

Anyway thanks for sharing thoughts and experience.

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Old May 29th, 2012, 06:04 PM   #2
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Most indoor ranges have to pass very tough indoor air standards which requires good circulation and fresh air replacement while filtering smoke and other particulate matter out of the exhaust.
If you have a question, ask the range operator. If they don't answer your question or you don't like what they say..try the local building department or public health folks.

*Responsible* range operators are proud of their work to guarantee a healthy, safe facility. Most should answer your questions without hesitation.

Most, not all.

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Old May 29th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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There are people who will say "I've been eating lead paint chips since I wuz a bobbin and I nevur had problums" but lead poisoning is real and potentially serious. Occasional exposure probably isn't a concern. Ranges that have poor ventilation and that don't clean properly are the biggest hazards. Vaporized/aerosolized lead is the worst. surface exposure is easier to prevent against (wash your hands, keep range gear separate, etc.).

I shoot indoors frequently and primarily use "leadless" or "clean" centerfire ammo but I do shoot my reloads on occasion (and a bunch of .22, though mostly copper washed). I haven't had my blood tested but I'm curious what it will show. I wish lead-free-primed .22 was available.

Lead exposure is more potentially harmful for kids. If you tumble/clean your brass, keep it separate, don't sort indoors, etc.

This is all just my opinion based on considerable reading on the subject. YMMV.

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Old May 29th, 2012, 08:12 PM   #4
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get a filter mask from harbor freight or walgreens

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Old May 29th, 2012, 09:55 PM   #5
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No worries, just make sure you don't frequent it until after you've had all the kids you plan on.

I see some indoor ranges that require the people to use "leadless" ammo as 1k said. Makes sense to me, but indoor ranges are just too "contained" for me. The only one I use is The Gun Store in Vegas. I'll put up with a stuffy room to shoot a 249.

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Old May 29th, 2012, 11:44 PM   #6
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I couldn't believe it, but a range really close to me actually let me shoot my M14. After maybe 10 shots with me by the wall, I had to go home. The concussion from the muzzle brake about gave me a concussion for real.

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Old May 30th, 2012, 02:05 AM   #7
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My oldest son's Eagle project 30 years ago was to bring our high school indoor range up to standards that were applicable at the time. Lead was a big concern and appropriate standards required a lot of power ventilation and filters. Shortly after completion the range was closed down by the limp wristed school board. After over a 50 years of shooting teams and local use they decided that the use of guns, not the environment posed a danger to students.

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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:06 AM   #8
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The lead in the air issue has been used many times by Anti-Gun groups to close down ranges. Most ranges now have good filtration/ventilation systems in place. The people running the range should be able to tell you what they have in place.

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Old May 30th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #9
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I think this post needs to stay accessible to many people here who visit indoor ranges and to see what type of health issues that can come of a poor vented range and hearing issues as well. Plus what to look for on shooting surfaces and what should you be asking management of health concerns.

Thanks from racer
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Old May 30th, 2012, 06:10 PM   #10
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Because lead toxicity is being used by anti gunners as a means of attack on the shooting sports, you will run into pro lead ideologues who think that by defending lead they are defending shooting. Basically their story is that their granddaddy chewed lead, their daddy chewed lead, and they all lived to 100 and they are going to chew lead and out live them all!

In fact lead is very bad stuff.

I am more afraid of indoor ranges than any other potential source of lead contamination . This is due to the frequency of posts that I have seen from high round count shooters at indoor ranges who have high lead contents in their blood. It does not take much searching to find posts from someone who was shooting 500 rounds a week at indoor ranges for an extended period of time and they have extremely high lead contents in their blood.

A local indoor range, a range I have shot at, the air suction is very good. Really moves the smoke away. But one worker there has the same Family Doctor as I. Doc told me, this guy has very high lead levels in his blood.

Indoor range hazards

LEAD POISONING – It can happen to you!

Casting hazards:

A really excellent article on lead, if you have a collection of American Rifleman Magazines:

“Don’t Let Lead Poison You” , American Rifleman Nov 1984, pg 39. by Dr George W. Huckaba and Dr George C. Wood.

The EPA hotline on lead:

If you have irritated sinuses or throat after shooting at a particular indoor range, don’t go back. I am not a Doctor, so my medical advise is worthless, but I think you ought to listen to any warning signs your body is giving you.

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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:57 AM   #11
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I think it was in the 1970s that the real danger of lead in indoor ranges came to the fore. I know of some police shooting instructors that tested so badly on their lead levels that they took years off and were never able to return as instructors even after that. Nowadays things are better ventilated and I believe they've found ways to clean the stuff out of your body much faster. But I would certainly check with the range owner or safety officer before using a strange one, and I would be asking some hard questions.

I shoot a lot of .22 at my outdoors club range and my fingers are often black with lead at the end of a good session. I'm careful to wash my hands on the way out, but meantime I've been like that for a while and undoubtedly it's all over the guns and everything else I touch... I keep meaning to have my blood lead levels tested but never have actually thought of it at the right time, like when the needle's sliding into my arm....

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Old September 22nd, 2012, 03:58 AM   #12
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For what it's worth, LEO range instructors are restricted on the number of hours spent in the indoor range per year. They also get periodic blood tests for lead levels.

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Old September 22nd, 2012, 04:16 AM   #13
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II am Currently (forced to) work near Shitcago. I went to a Gun Shop they had a side arm I have been wanting (Used) I haggled got a great deal after my 3 day wait when i picked it up the owner said if I bought a box of shells I could use the range for free. ok I am in
This was the nastiest Dirtiest most Filthiest place ever seen
I touched very little in there and washed my hands upon exit.
If he recovered the lead on the target end of the range I think he would be a millionaire
As most of you know i work construction
at one project we were installing/lining walls with lead . before we started the job we had blood drawn and lead levels recorded also drawn at the end of the project
I never washed my hands so much and did laundry at a laundromat

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Old September 22nd, 2012, 09:17 AM   #14
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+1 to Sweets and Oldsalt. Was a LEO firearms instructor in the 80's. Range was filthy as most loads were lead swc fired in 38 special and shotgun rounds. Ventilation was poor with clouds of powder. Then the cleanup were we swept the range in front of the line after everyone was done. Also took shovels and emptied the bullet traps of all the lead. They finally did lead level tests on us in early 90's and we all had elevated lead levels. One instructor was so high he was banned from the range until he retired.
This continued until we got a new building in 2007 with a brand new range and we only allowed lead free ammo which po a lot of officers bringing in off duty weapons to qualify as the cost was double.
Something to defintly watch out for using indoor ranges and wouldn't frequent them on a regualr basis as I retired and still have an elevated lead level in my blood 3 + years after.

Thanks from louie
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 09:21 AM   #15
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sorry meant starlifter

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