but I wondered about the safety issues of using lead. What do
people know about this that isn't just hearsay?
I have an old, old bottle with a bottomfull of mercury in it that I
acquired years ago. No use for it, I just collect things and it’s a
great old bottle, too. Plus it’s a hassle to dispose of. So we had a
young man working here who is scientifically illiterate. I showed it
to him along with the other contents of the chemical cabinet and his
face went white. A couple of days later I went in there and the
mercury was wrapped and taped in plastic… Like it was going to
jump out of the bottle and get him. I also have a lead block sitting
on the bench next to my workbench, ready for anything.
There are no safety issues of using lead or even mercury, in a
manner of speaking. The safety issues are about INGESTING them.
Otherwise it’s just a bottle on a shelf and a block on the bench.
That’s not to downplay the danger if you do get it in your system.
If you do the die striking John mentions and handle lead a lot,
don’t wash your hands and then lick your fingers or eat an apple,
then you likely will get some into your system, and it accumulates.
I work in my shop with the rules I was taught in chemisty lab -
don’t put your fingers in your mouth or touch your eyes. It’s just
second nature, now.
Lead must be in a form that your body will absorb, and you need to
get it into your system somehow for it to be toxic. If you ate or
inhaled the white powder on the stump (which looks, walks and sounds
like a duck - lead oxide or carbonate), then you’d have a problem.
Handled properly it’s just not that big of a hazard. Wash your hands
- I do it about 20 times a day.