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Linn County Chapter

Recreational Shooting and Education

Izaak Walton League

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Information on Lead Bullet Hazards


Aim at Lead Safety

Do you cast bullets or tumble casings?

• Do you reload ammunition?

• Do you clean firearms?

• If so, you are probably exposed to lead.

What You Don’t Feel May Hurt You Most. Ammunition contains lead within the bullet and the primer. Lead is released into the air when the gun is fired and forms small particles that you can breathe. Lead particles are also formed as the lead bullet spirals through the barrel. These particles of lead can get into your body when you breathe them or swallow, such as when you eat, drink or smoke.

How lead can harm you: Absorption of lead into your body is hazardous to your health. Lead is stored in the blood, liver, kidney and bones. Frequent exposure to lead, particularly at high levels, can harm the nervous, digestive and reproductive systems, the brain, kidneys and can interfere with the body’s ability to make blood. Symptoms of exposure to high lead levels may include loss of appetite, joint pain, sleep pattern changes, personality changes and sexual dysfunction. Lead dust that settles on clothes, shoes, skin, or hair can be carried home.


Lead in the home is especially dangerous for children.

Questions You Should Ask the Range Management:

• How often is the range cleaned?

• Are there posters in the range addressing lead hazards and protective methods?


Simple Steps Can Reduce Exposure to Lead Reducing lead hazards while at the firing range

Use non-leaded ammunition and primer such as copper or polymer-jacketed bullets whenever possible.

• Don’t eat, drink or smoke inside the range or rooms adjacent to the range.

• Wash your hands and face immediately after shooting, cleaning firearms, picking up spent casings/pellets, or reloading ammunition, and before eating, drinking or smoking.

• Never use brooms to sweep up spent casings.

• Sweeping stirs up dust. Pick up casings by hand.

• Leave a pair of shoes, a hat and a set of washable coveralls at the range to be used only for shooting, or keep them in separate plastic bags. Wear the coveralls over your street clothes. Wash them frequently but separately from other clothes.

• Have your blood tested for lead periodically to help evaluate your exposure.

• Lead Safety Poster is intended to be posted in ranges to provide information on lead safety measures in and around ranges.