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QUESTION: Would my baby be a risk of lead poisoning by way of breastfeeding if I practice at a lead-using shooting range? 20/10/10  Queensland, Australia

I am a serving Police officer and currently breastfeeding my toddler.  I was looking for information in relation to lead contamination whilst completing my annual firearms qualification.  QLD police use lead free ammunition; however the shooting range is public and may contain lead.

Would my baby be a risk of lead poisoning by way of breastfeeding?

If you are unable to provide any information could you suggest another source.

ANSWER: Oct 20 2010

Dear Tammy,

Breastfed babies can be protected from any lead exposure by your behaviours at the shooting range, namely good hygiene and changing into clean clothes before handling the baby. Is there an option to shower and change at the range? Good hygiene involves showering with soap and a scrubbing brush for under the nails, plus washing the hair. Only 5% or less of the lead in your blood gets through into the breastmilk so if you let me know your blood lead level I can give you a better idea of whether there's any issue here.

Cheers

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

See: Breastfeeding and Lead and Lead in breast milk

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