Previous Post
Next Post

As a result of a study that was likely funded by the same person who spent over a hundred seventy thousand dollars watching monkeys gamble, the CDC has issued a new report about walking around with bullet fragments in your body. The verdict: they can cause lead poisoning.

From CNN:

Only 0.3% of the high blood-lead level cases in the study were people with bullet fragments. However, among 349 people with very high blood lead levels — equal to or greater than 80 micrograms per deciliter — 17, or 4.9%, were people with bullet fragments. The maximum recorded bullet-related level was 306 micrograms per deciliter.
Those with bullet fragments in their bodies were predominantly males between the ages of 16 and 24.

For context, five micrograms per deciliter is the point at which people might start losing kidney function.

Shockingly, it turns out that having lead present in your body does indeed increase the probability of lead poisoning — who knew? And for the 0.3% of people with elevated lead levels (a very small percentage o the population to begin with) that’s a tragedy.

Often bullets are left in place simply because removing them would do more harm than good to the patient. For example, the bullet is lodged in a vital organ and there’s a higher risk of bleeding from the surgery than letting the bullet heal in place.

Why do we still use lead bullets? Because they’re cheap and relatively easy to make. Also, some states ban anything other than lead based bullets as “armor piercing.” Often these are the same states with increasingly strict regulation on lead projectiles for hunting and sport shooting (like California) — which seems to be forcing gun owners into a coffin corner in terms of ammunition availability. Of course, to them, that’s a feature, not a bug.

Personally, I hunt with lead-free ammo and carry copper or zinc projectiles in my personal defense firearms. Why kill someone and give them lead poisoning at the same time? The CDC can thank me later.

Previous Post
Next Post


    • There is a rich history of bullets being toxic. So much so that there are international conventions prohibiting bullets made of certain metals.

      But hey guys, go ahead and post snarky comments. That’s the first step to progress.

      • You seem to think that “progress” is automatically a good thing. I seem to remember a certain mustachioed Georgian talking a lot about the “progress” his regime brought to the people under his control. A pitty tens of millions of them died in the process.

      • Why not just prohibit bullets made of anything? Same effect (nothing, since it would be ignored) and so much easier to not enforce. But, hey, let’s keep spending that free money on fruitcake “research”. Have we gotten a million dollar study on what happens to a shrimp on a treadmill when hit by a bullet, yet?

        • It’s a shame that you don’t care about helping injured veterans walk by using/developing exoskeletons because that’s the ultimate use of that treadmill research. I guess studying locomotive mechanics just isn’t important, huh?

        • No. That research actually isn’t important if it yields no viable, marketable data or development, and never had any chance of doing so. Did that shrimp study deliver valuable findings for the exoskeleton market? Or did it just keep some biophysicists and interns employed for a few months? R&D is always a gamble, but a gamble implies you have a chance to win a reward at least some of the time. A person who is paid to gamble should have an even higher burden to deliver results to justify the allocation of scarce resources.

      • You sure about that? Pretty sure lead is about as toxic of a metal as you could reasonably obtain to make bullets out of, and lead certainly isn’t banned. Sure, you could theoretically make bullets out of plutonium or uranium 235, but no ones gonna waste time or resources on that when they could build a nuke out of it.

        • The military does use depleted uranium 235 in armor piercing shells fired by the A-10 Warthog because it is denser than lead. There is debate about the ethics of using this shell.

        • Poisoned bullets were outlawed internationally in 1907 and brass jacketed bullets we’re an issue in tropical warfare due to fungus growth on the metal causing deadly infections from otherwise minor or insignificant wounds… on both sides of the muzzle.

        • One can also make good projectiles out of depleted uranium. Toxic, radioactive, and both denser and harder than lead. Much more deadly and horrible at environmental contamination, but they never seem to bother with studies of that… Oh yeah, Its because the US government LIKES those projectiles(120mm DU sabots are the primary anti-armor round). Silly me.

        • “Pretty sure lead is about as toxic of a metal as you could reasonably obtain to make bullets out of, and lead certainly isn’t banned.”

          It depends on the type of lead. Millions of people get the water they drink in their homes through lead pipe. That becomes a problem when the water flowing through those pipes is acidic, as it is in Flint, Michigan.

          (Side note, the word plumbing comes from Pb, the symbol for lead.).

          The low Ph (acidic) water dissolves (leaches) the lead into it. Lead paint chips from decades past were a problem because the chips the kids were chewing ended up in their stomachs, where digestive juices naturally contain hydrochloric acid.

          And that has been clinically proven to turn the brain-damaged kids into Democrats. (*Snark*)

        • You could always hit the airplane graveyards and dig out the depleted uranium that they used in the 747s. There is close to 200 tons of it out there.
          And it’s a lot worse than lead, it does genetic damage, birth defects, cancer, diabetes, immune system damage, and I’m pretty sure a lot of other serious health problems that we don’t know about.

      • Oh heck, if anyone is interested in long-term lethality (as opposed to the short-term, immediate shock effects) of lead-based bullets There is a solution: a.) Drill a small (±2mm) hole in the tip of the bullet. [Do NOT penetrate within 1 mm of the base of the bullet]. b.) Insert a drop or two of mercury. c.) force a solid lead segment to seal the front of the cavity.
        It is almost a sure bet that if hit by this combination the lead-poisoning effects would not be nearly as serious a consideration.
        I always was under the impression bullet discharges were for one of two purposes: 1.) Sporting shooting and target shooting, or 2.) With the intent to inflict as close as possible to near immediate stopping and lethality. Guns of ANY sort are not just toys, they are TOOLS and should be treated with the same level of respect one should have for ANY potentially harmful (or lethal) instrument.

  1. “Only 0.3% of the high blood-lead level cases in the study were people with bullet fragments.” I should’ve stopped reading at “From CNN”

    • CNN has gone from ok, to the “Clinton News Network”, to the “Communist News Network”, and now they’ve lost their minds to the point they’re pretty much just weekly world news. Actually, I think I’d trust Weekly World News over CNN.

  2. Well of course they can. However, the idea of the bullet is to kill you virtually instantly. If you live through being shoot the doctor should remove the bullet. Isn’t that the idea?

    • The places where kids (males 16-24…) are most likely to carry around bullet implants, aren’t the ones with the most surgical resources dedicated to clean up the mess. Think RahmTown and prisons.

      While the study, or at least the presentation of it, seems a bit sensationalist, at the ground level it may cause more surgeons to change how they weigh the risks of removal vs not.

      Lead bullets are popular because lead is soft enough to conform to rifling, and very dense. And, cheap. For closeup, defensive, handgun use, there really isn’t all that much reason, other than manufacturing and historical inertia, to use lead in bullets anymore. Modern powders don’t require as much cartridge space as before, so a longer (less dense) copper bullet works “just as” well. “Just as” meaning, as close to lead as lead is to depleted uranium, which is another rather toxic nuisance that is even “better” than lead on many metrics.

      Willy nilly banning lead bullets isn’t really my thing, for much the same reason banning Stingers aren’t either, but I would get behind restricting at least domestically operating federal agencies to lead free alternatives, at least in handguns, until/unless it can be clearly demonstrated that it puts them at a realistic disadvantage. As opposed to the soda bubbles the libtards are all up in arms and worried about, lead really is a somewhat nasty compound to be throwing around. At one time, the nastiness was obviously more than made up for, by the benefits it brought. Just like inhaling a bit of asbestos beats freezing or burning to death. But if the feds can make do without, and my hunch is technology will, if “encouraged” by accounts that size, make up for the disadvantages, while retaining the advantages of going lead free….

      • Lead bullets work very well. I don’t think we need to make them out of unicorn poop in order to prevent lead poisoning that for the most part affects 16-24 year old males whose own behavior got them shot in the first place.

        • Getting shot is not a crime. And slow acting poisoning of people, on purpose, fall under cruel and unusual punishment of even those who may have committed some sort of crime.

          Many of those guys may have put themselves in a position where whomever shot them was justified in doing so. As long a the only reliably effective means he has of shooting them, includes the use of lead bullets, there’s nothing wrong with using them. Poisoning be damned. But if a reasonable, less toxic, functional alternative exists, abstaining from using it, is the equivalent of gratuitously running around poisoning people just because. Which is hardly the most defensible way out there to act.

          As long as lead free bullets are substantially more expensive than lead ones, it’s not reasonable to force regular Joes to abstain from using the cheaper alternative. But organizations with the budgets of the big Federal agencies really ought to lead the way, to the extent it is at all possible.

      • Soft lead bullets expand. They were banned for use in rifles by the Hague Convention because of the damage caused by a high velocity lead bullet (separate and apart from the fact that they really do not work well in high velocity guns). Jacketed bullets solved both issues. However, this resulted in a decrease in lethality (in one side and out the other), which modern ammo seeks to increase through use of bullets that fracture and/or yaw when striking the target. For handguns, HPs solved the problem that FMJs do not expand. Copper rifle bullets can be made to be expanding, but so far I have yet to see a single copper handgun round that does so. I would have to assume that these few hundred young men with serious lead poisoning have been shot with a handgun.

  3. “Bullets Can Cause Lead Poisoning”


    OK, we’ll make them from copper and depleted uranium.

    Hunters and long-range shooters will *love* the ballistic coefficient of those bad boys…

  4. Growing up in central Missouri, we had a saying, “he died of lead poisoning” as a euphemism for being a criminal guy and getting shot. Who would have thought?!?!?

  5. Dad lived with a lead pellet from a youthful folly behind his right ear. He was a successful artilleryman, guided missile officer, and programmer, and died at 94. He was, however, a cantankerous curmudgeon even in his thirties and forties. If the lead had any deleterious effect, it was to his personality, not his intelligence!

    This so-called study is junk science, tailored to supplement Progressive propaganda.

    • My grandpa smoked and died at 98. My dad used to drunk drive all the time too! Clearly smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer and drunk driving doesn’t cause motoring deaths. JUNK SCIENCE

  6. My grandfather died at 81 with three bullet still embedded in his legs from the second time he was wounded in WWI. Obviously shortened his life

  7. Unless they ruled out the cause(s) which affected the 95% with very high levels and no bullet fragments, then the existence of bullet fragments in the remaining <5% cannot be seen conclusively as the source of the very high level.

    Also, it could be argued that those with existing very high lead levels make decisions and choices which lead to greater exposure to ballistic sourced lead.

  8. I do not carry all copper bullets because they lack the density (and hence terminal ballistic performance) of lead bullets.

    If you want a bullet made of copper that weighs as much as a bullet made of lead, the copper bullet has to be longer than the lead bullet. Quite often, that longer copper bullet reduces the propellant capacity of the casing and reduces muzzle velocity.

    No thanks.

    • On some fundamental level, you are inevitably right.

      But since most cartridges in common use date back to when powders were less effective, most popular guns need a recoil spike of a certain magnitude to operate optimally, and “terminal ballistics” have increasingly been reduced to mean performance on certain specific standardized tests: For most guns and calibers in popular defensive use, less dense bullets works “just as well” in modern loadings.

      • “But since most cartridges in common use date back to when powders were less effective …”

        Case (pun intended) in point: I carry .40 S&W which is of course a new cartridge. When you get into 180 grain bullets, you need all the case volume that you can get. As it stands, with lead bullets, you only get about 950 fps out of a four inch barrel. A 180 grain copper bullet would take up even more case volume and probably reduce muzzle velocity to something like 800 fps.

        I imagine the Magnum handgun cartridges would not lose any velocity with copper bullets — at least in lighter bullet weights anyway.

        • Shoot 155s or 165s instead. Unless you insist upon punishing yourself unnecessarily by shooting jhp .40s out of a Glock.

          In ballistic gel tests I have seen, copper bullets generally need less weight for the same penetration. And require more speed to expand reliably. Hence they aren’t really interchangeable 1 for 1 with lead wrt weight.

    • This may be an issue if the person who is carrying the bullet or fragments was a good guy victim who should not have been shot in the first place, but…

      If I shoot someone I would have had a pretty good reason to want or expect that they might die. If they do not die fairly soon after I pulled the trigger the possibility that they may develop lead poisoning at some later date causes me zero distress.

    • Like the .300 BLK subsonics. With a 220 grain .308 in such a short case, there is only a tiny space left for powder. Luckily(for the BLK) that’s just enough space to get the heavy bullet up to 900FPS or so. And with a very small amount of powder being burned, there is much less gas for a suppressor to disperse, in addition to the lack of a sonic boom.

    • It must be remembered that the .45 Colt case was designed to hold 40 grains (by volume) of black powder (though usually down loaded to 35 grains). I have some .45 Colts with lead bullets and smokeless powder that were not crimped, and some had recessed into the case. I used my bullet puller to see what was inside, and there was literally hardly anything in there. Acccording to the Lyman reloader, the starting standard load is .7 of the Lee dipper, or about 6.5 grains (by weight) of IMR 800x to produce 750 fps, and the max (do not exceed) load is 9.3 grains to actually fill the case. I think the IMR is kind of on the fluffy side to boot, since it also requires a longer minimum OAL.

  9. This is some comic relief, the same CDC that says injecting aluminum, a known neurotoxin, into infants and children, is safe? This study needs a sitcom laugh track.

    • Fluoride is a developmental neurotoxin and we dump it into our water supply. But at least the kiddies have nice teeth to go along with their reduced IQ.

      • Yep, sure seems to be in someone’s best interest to keep people as dumb as possible. Greed doesn’t explain everything.

      • Those nice teeth also lead to a reduced instance of gum inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease. Not to mention frees up dental dollars for better schools and etc. Sun exposure is critical to fertility, yet also causes skin cancer; OMG, things in life can have both pros and cons but still be worth doing –how shocking!

        • That’s good stuff, almost as entertaining as the original article. Are you implying, or even saying outright that flouride extends lifespans? If so, please cite the science showing how a toxic substance somehow turns into magical fairy juice when it’s put into drinking water or added to toothpaste.

        • The issue with fluoridation of water is not that fluoride isn’t beneficial to teeth, but that it isn’t the best way to administer it — especially when better ways to administer it are easily available in the market.

          The other issue is that it’s the state imposing something on everyone “for their own good”, which is exactly what the anti-gunners think they’re doing.

        • Exactly. Not to mention iodine added to salt, vitamin D added to milk, iron added to cereal, and folic acid added to flour. It is my goddamed right to have rotted teeth, goiter, osteoporosis, and anemia.

        • @loebd, these foods are fortified because the they are processed foods, and the processing removes most if not all nutritional value. Raw and unprocessed foods do not need to be artificially fortified.

        • @pg2 you sounds like some kind of do gooder, too. keep you paws off my corn flakes and Cheetos. if i wanted something with nutritional value I would eat real food and if i want my teeth to rot, thats my business, not yours.

        • @loeb…Knowing what to do, and actually doing it can be 2 very different things, especially when it comes to eating right. Go nuts on booze and junk food, most of us do it to some extent.

    • Not to mention the CDC’s continued coverup of Monsanto’s use of chemtrails to poison the environment so nothing but their seeds will grow.

  10. So? Big Macs can cause blood poisoning and heart disease. Alcohol can damage your liver. Cigarettes affect your health in many different ways. Hell, concrete can cause brain damage if you fall on it a certain way. The question becomes what we allow our elected officials to do with this information.

    • Wonder what the effect would be, of sending downrange 45 caliber Big Macs at a velocity suitable for cycling an old 1911……. Or, perhaps, a .45 caliber compressed cigarette….

      • I recall some Hollywood production a few years back, but not the name of the show – the victim was killed by a bullet made of frozen ground beef.

        • “the victim was killed by a bullet made of frozen ground beef.”

          So it couldn’t have been Wendy’s.

    • They also need a narrower focus and an additional letter in their acronym to make it CCDC or Centers for Contagious Disease Control.

      • The agency was irrelevant and facing possible closure prior to the AIDS hysteria. Suddenly it’s relevant?

    • Yeah we should definitely cut the budget of the world’s best disease research center. Who cares if stuff like Ebola makes it into the US amirite?

      • Weren’t they the ones saying it wasn’t a threat to our first world way of life so we shouldn’t close down transportation routes from Africa (but give us the money anyway right away because this disease is such a big threat)?

    • They don’t need a budget cut, they just need to replace the people with a political agenda with actual scientists.

      • CDC needs to be gutted. It’s an orgy of corruption, with a revolving door policy with the heads of the agency getting high level pharmaceutical jobs after they push pharmaceutical interests while allegedly being industry watchdogs.

  11. What surprises me is that lead poisoning is not an assurity every time lead is left in the body. Also, there are other even more toxic metals that are sometimes found in firearms projectiles namely antimony and arsenic.

    • Also cadmium, zinc, and bismuth, not to mention *copper* all of which are common, soluble heavy metals of essentially similar toxicity insofar as you don’t want elevated levels in your system.

  12. The people I served with in the army refereed to dying for “lead poisoning” all the time. That is normal in war time. The CDC is full of crap.Steve Bannon is correct. I hope President Trump in is successful in shrinking the government and getting rid of these “deep state” vampires.

  13. Nick writes: “…carry copper or zinc projectiles in my personal defense firearms.”

    So what brands / lines do you use, and why?

    • While significantly less dangerously radioactive than U235, DU does still pose some health risks to humans on long-term exposure. You would stop using lead ammunition and instead have to carry a pistol with a lead magazine to protect you from the DU rounds. (/sarc)

  14. Lead poisoning, is the term we use when we refer to shooting something. I suppose I could start using CNC turned projectiles like the high end Alco bullet or any of the other brass and glide copper lathe turned bullets. But then at such high velocities I think the copper and the brass may be a bit toxic to come in contact with them. But then it is a bullet; and killing shit is it’s !@#$%^& PURPOSE.

  15. My defense round of preference would be made with a polymer coating that dissolves in blood, covering a bullet of sodium and potassium.

      • Mercury is merely toxic — that’s boring. Sodium & potassium would react on contact with the water in the body to generate heat and hydrogen… and effectively blow up as oxygen from the blood combined with the hydrogen and given the heat generated burn right there.

        For terrorists, make the bullet coating using pig fat.

  16. If I was a tinhat gambling man, I would say the real Progressive agenda behind going after lead bullets is it would be more about cheap, malleable, readily available, and easy to make handloading bullets that are difficult to tax in more ‘enlighten’ states like Washington. Even though I’m sure for the time being that these states don’t add this tax to components now, one day they will (for Progress) and it will most likely be on the bullet itself; it being the main part of ammunition that causes ‘terminal velocity’ to people. Yet, I don’t see the fun in gambling; also, I don’t think Progressives are the smartest bunch, but those sneaky crumbbums at the top of the totem poles aren’t dumb either.

  17. The CDC should spend more time on Zika & HIV cures. Add less on crap a D student in Bio class could dream up for a report.

  18. The war on lead is ever increasing. Here in Kalli lead bullets for hunting, BANNED! May guess, all shooting with lead will be banned. The WAR never ends.

    • Kali’s war is already won, that’s why all hunting *rifles* will be banned within a few years if the feds don’t intervene. Sorry, but them’s the brakes, and has nothing to do with education, activism, or marketing; you lot are at the mercy of a hostile majority in that state.

  19. copper is expensive and zinc is poisonous. Gold and silver can be easily made into bullets at home, but they are also expensive, not $5000 each, but….

      • “Copper is also quite toxic, and very soluble.”

        Not at the Ph of (most of) your body tissue.

        That’s one of reasons surgeons will elect to leave that 9mm FMJ slug inside of you when a ‘business competitor’ you had a ‘dispute’ with shot you… 🙂

  20. I work in a hospital x-ray dept. You’d be surprised how many people are walking around with chunks of metal injected at high velocities. The thing about the human body is that as a general rule, foreign materials that cannot be expelled are surrounded and sealed off. There is then, no leakage into the system. It’s junk science.

  21. So, 99.7% of people with high levels of lead had never been shot. And 95.1% of people with very high levels of lead, also had not been shot. So, what is the problem exactly? Isn’t it possible or even probable that those people that had been shot would had high levels of lead even if they had never been shot?

  22. Insertion point of the lead is important in its effectiveness. Between the eyes works reliably. That can be improved with lard lube.

  23. Lead poisoning from lead bullets or fragments that are not removed rarely occurs. There is one situation where it can, when a lead bullet or fragment is lodged in, or close enough to, a joint that the synovial fluid there can, much like a solvent, break down the lead enough that it can begin to migrate into the bloodstream.

  24. So They Admit lead Bullets are Toxic enough to the environment to warrant Political action. But still refuse to Believe high decibel gunfire Has caused anyone damaged hearing; and thus no one but Military operators and hit men need sound suppressors.

    That’s hypocritical, bigoted selective-vision if ive ever seen it…

  25. At 16, I was shot while being robbed 40 years ago. I was hit by 39 shotgun pellets, most of which remain. My blood lead level has always recorded in the normal range. However, dissolved lead doesn’t remain in the blood, but binds to organs and bone. When provoked with DMSA my lead levels are “highly elevated” and I also have related symptoms. Physicians should rethink the use of blood lead levels when evaluating gunshot victims.

Comments are closed.