FAQ - Lead as shielding

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Richard Hull
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FAQ - Lead as shielding

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:51 pm

There is a big bug-a-boo about lead and it is getting worse. Cadmium is in the same boat along with asbestos, nuclear radiation, etc. A host of great old stuff is now supposed to virtually kill on contact! And, if not kill on contact, doom you to a life of horror and sorrow later on.

Bull Fritters!

I sell small lead pigs at ham fests to store rad-stuff or ore in safely. Last month, a boy of about 9 with the usual youthful curiousity went to pick one up. his mother yelled "Don't touch that, it is poisonous!" I thought, another cringing, milk sop, whimp to be raised by his suburban soccer mom.

Lead and cadmium are simple metals that if handled correctly, can be around in 600 pound lots in your home without fear. Lead shielding is one of them. You will not be licking your shielding, sawing it or otherwise disturbing it. You can handle all lead, cadmium and asbestos readily with your bare hands, just wash them after you monkey with it. Nervous nellies absolutely must wear gloves like mommy recommends.

I have about 400 lbs of lead and 50 lbs of Cadmium in my lab and out buildings. Some of it is for shielding and a good deal is for melting into bullets, (load my own ammo and cast my own bullets.). I also use it for making low melting point alloys which require melting both lead, cadmium, indium and tin. I have done this since childhood. I made simple molds for cannon balls and cast them up for a cannon over about 4 summers in Jr. and Sr. High school. Also, in late high school, I cast up small bricks and plates from lead as I began my serious experiments with radio nuclides sent to me from Oak Ridge.

I am still here and goin' strong in retirement.

Reason and logic seem to fly out the window when it comes to what has come to be called "hazmats". If your dad went to work every day hanging asbestos insulation for 40 years, yes, he is in danger if not already dead.
If your dad worked in a lead smelting plant for 53 years, yes, he is in big touble if not already dead. If your dad worked deep in any mine, but especially uranium or coal mines and smoked the normal 2 packs of unfiltered cigs a day, as most he-men did back then, well yes, he is gone or will go soon.

The above are examples of unavoidable habituation due to employment coupled with habituation to bad habits. How many of us here are two pack a day men? How many of us are asbestos workers, miners or lead workers.

I have probably suffered more lead and heavy metals exposure than anyone here over my 68 years, but I never habituated. I came to it out of need and not pleasure or work and thus used the materials as and when needed.

Lead can be freely cut, if sheet, cast into plates or blocks, if needed, and handled freely to assemble any kind of suitable x-ray shield you may wish. Just use proper precautions when working, rolling, or melting it if that is your chosen path to acquire the needed type, shape and form of shielding you need.

In a list of hazmats that can really kill you very dead, lead, cadmium and asbestos are way down on the list of bad boys compared to hydrazine, nitric acid, formic acid, Hydrofluoric acid, etc.

Just use simple common sense in using, handling and working with the heavy metals and wisely apply simple safety techniques. Remember, you can still be killed in an instant by a bus, falling down stairs or by someone else's husband or boyfriend. Lotsa' hazmats and haz-situations out there. All are pointed right at you. You can live life or cringe in fear of this or that "proclaimed" bad thing.......Your choice.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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