Offbeat: Hot Lead and Human Health

Look at your hands after a day at the range. Thumbing rounds with exposed lead bullets into magazines will rub the stuff into your skin, and powder residue contains dangerous lead left over from primer compounds. LeadOff from Hygenall removes heavy metal contamination safely and scientifically.


Elemental lead is an integral part of modern life. There are untold tons of lead in our car batteries. Lead was in the paint used in most American houses up until 1978, and it remains in contaminated soil pretty much forever. The CDC estimates that about half a million American kids between the ages of one and five already have dangerously high blood lead levels.

Basic lead is physiologically harmless. It is the spontaneous byproduct lead oxide that causes problems. Lead intoxication can damage the heart, bones, kidneys, and reproductive organs as well as the central nervous system. The effect of lead on the developing brains of children is of the most concern.

Lead is particularly prevalent in ammunition. With few exceptions, most bullets contain lead in one form or another, but it is the lead in primer compounds that can be most readily absorbed. Reloading, bullet casting, exposure on enclosed shooting ranges, ammunition storage and handling, and weapons firing all cause potential lead contamination.

How’s this for scary? Every time you squeeze the trigger, you ingest roughly 1,100 micrograms of lead. This is about the same amount of lead exposure a lead miner receives in a week on the job. Given that some of us run through multiple thousands of rounds per year, this can indeed be enough to keep a guy up at night.

LeadOff comes in a bewildering number of configurations, ranging from foaming hand soap to disposable wipes, all in a variety of sizes. The stuff is inexpensive, pleasant, and effective.


A BIT OF SCIENCE

Lead oxide is a cationic metal, meaning it has a natural positive charge. Human skin is anionic—it is negatively charged and therefore electrostatically attracts lead dust. The unfortunate reality is that soap operates via an unrelated mechanism and as a result does a poor job of removing charged lead from exposed skin.

The first step toward controlling lead exposure in occupational environments is to wear a dust mask, which does little if anything to prevent our breathing airborne lead particles. It just keeps folks from touching their mouths. As most lead is ingested through the mouth when we scratch our faces or eat with contaminated hands, removing lead from our skin becomes the priority.

To be effective, a lead removal system must be both scientifically sound and easy to use. An effective lead removal device that weighs three tons and requires a nuclear reactor for power is great, but if we cannot use it conveniently at the range, it is just expensive ballast.

Fortunately, the good folks at Hygenall have a nifty product that is easy to use, inexpensive, and effective.

LeadOff should become a standard component of your range load-out. Hygenall packages this product in institutional containers for business use, as well as small packs that will drop into an ammo pouch or a range bag. Invest the equivalent of a single box of ammo and you will have enough to last a year or more.


LEADOFF

LeadOff is a proprietary non-toxic product that removes more than 99% of heavy metals like lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, mercury, silver, zinc, and nickel from contaminated skin.

LeadOff is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and is used by the U.S. Military. The same product is made under license for the U.S. Department of Health. Unlike most things purchased and used by the government, LeadOff is also very reasonably priced.

LeadOff is available for applications both large and small. Hygenall produces an institutional Range Station that includes a big bucket of 500 single-use wipes along with a robust dedicated stand and trash bucket. Refillable buckets can be either floor or wall mounted and carry 500 wipes.

Personal-use wipes come in a tube that looks like those things you used to clean your kids’ butts when they were infants. These tubular flip-top containers carry 45 wipes and are small enough to carry in a range bag. Smaller disposable five-wipe packs will drop into a pocket.

Hygenall also sells by the gallon a foaming hand soap that includes the same ionic cleanser and is suitable for wall mounting near a sink at a firing range. Smaller bottles travel along with your gear. Miniature range bottles of the stuff are sold two to a package and fit into a magazine pouch.

Hygenall’s combination surface cleaner and lead decontamination product comes in a squirt bottle and is designed to clean exposed surfaces that might have particulate lead contamination.

While a bucket of 500 disposable wipes for your local range will set you back around $56, personal containers of wipes or household foaming hand soap run about $10. Considering what I spend on ammunition every year, this is a minor expense. Since unwitting grown-ups contaminate most children, that’s not a bad price for safety and peace of mind.

LeadOff comes in a variety of formats. Foaming hand soap sits next to the sink, while tubes of disposable wipes can ride in a range bag. Ionic cleansers formulated to electrostatically remove heavy metals do a much better job of removing lead contamination from skin than do typical soaps.


GRAND SCHEME

For a great many Americans, firearms are an integral and indispensable part of life. Given that shooting is an innately hazardous sport on scales both large and small, it behoves us to invest a little effort into managing the risks.

We think nothing of donning eye and ear protection before touching off a round. Now we also have the means to leave the microscopically dangerous stuff behind at the range when we empty out that last magazine and pack up for home.

As many of us are blessed with little ones in our lives, it is the responsible course to think about our toxic exposures both for our own health and theirs. Now thanks to Hygenall, getting rid of toxic lead is easy and inexpensive. Given the potentially catastrophic effects of lead on our physiology, managing lead exposure is an integral part of responsible shooting.

SOURCE

HYGENALL
www.hygenall.com

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