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"Evidence of lead and health problems?" Topic

31 Posts

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1,150 hits since 26 Apr 2017
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Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 5:00 a.m. PST

Is there any evidence even anecdotal of lead from wargaming figures causing real health problems?

Is the concern just theoretical/logical in nature or are there documented cases of lung or brain issues?

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 5:05 a.m. PST

Several years ago I told my Doctor about the handling, filing and other preparation of lead figures. He said as long as I did not eat them or breath in a large amount of the dust, I was OK. Now, many figures no longer have lead in them, so there should be less worry about lead. Of course, we don't know what might turn up in the future to be a health problem caused by other components in metal figures. ?

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 5:17 a.m. PST

There was a very keen gamer & collector from the old club who died of lead poisoning.

It's a sad story.

He'd make huge purchases of nearly anything, in any scale. Spent thousands. Which of course created problems with his spouse. After promising to curtail his spending, he received a huge order from Dogwatch Miniatures. Unfortunately his wife intercepted him just as he started to unwrap the package, grabbed it & smacked it onto his head, causing instant death.

The coroner's report read "….lead poisoning…."

True story.

Puster Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 6:30 a.m. PST

That story sound like there is an incompatibility between lead and wifes that may lead to violent reactions if mixed.
Keep them apart, and your health should be on the safe side.

Black Hat Miniatures26 Apr 2017 8:01 a.m. PST

There is a story of someone who did manage to get lead poisoning from prepping figures while smoking, which meant he was ingesting and breathing in lead.

Lead oxide poison is treatable – but I don't know a single person in the industry who casts with lead who had been poisoned by it.

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member26 Apr 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

Lead used to be added to petrol and paint. It was used (and a lot still around) for water pipes. Also lead weights for fihing. Frankly, lead poisoning from toy soldiers would be difficult to prove even if it happened?

Major causes would really be from casting figures and inhaling fumes – but for sufficient fumes to be around you would have to be heating the metal way above what is sensible.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 10:29 a.m. PST

You can't really get lead poisoning very easily from elemental lead anyway. It is lead salts. So as long as you aren't doing something crazy with them you should not get lead poisoning from handling any number of even pure lead figures.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

Don't eat them or lick them. The real danger is in the casting. I knew a guy who did the casting for a company who shall remain nameless and he refused to wear a filtered mask. Don't know if he every got sick from it. I told him he was crazy for not wearing it. He just ignored me. I guess now at least in the US, lead isn't used anymore.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 11:11 a.m. PST

The ban on lead was so they could still be marketed as toys.

Though if you are chopping up old figures for conversion work, I'd feel a bit sleepy about it, what with the dust and all.

goragrad26 Apr 2017 11:32 a.m. PST

PF-CINC still uses (last I saw the note was still on the website) a lead casting alloy.

There are a lot of people in the country who cast their own bullets for reloading and I have seen nothing published concerning health problems in that group. A number of them also electroplate or heat treat their cast bullets to reduce lead fouling of their firearms.

If there was a significant health problem there I am positive the liability lawyers would have gotten involved by now.

Of course reloaders probably aren't painting corroded bullets and licking their paintbrushes…

Mick the Metalsmith26 Apr 2017 12:31 p.m. PST

More likely death from bullets than figs in terms of risks from the lead. I would not lick them, or your brushes as lead oxide is nasty. Don't live near lead smelters.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 1:46 p.m. PST

Yes, I won't be advocating the use of "15mm Minifigs Novelty Lozenges".

skinkmasterreturns26 Apr 2017 1:46 p.m. PST

Nothing against the OP,but doesnt this question reinforce the idea that the graying of the hobby is a myth? Ive seen this question asked over and over,and if we really were a just a bunch of old codgers,everyone would already know this.

Chris Wimbrow26 Apr 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

It's always something. (Not that it isn't important to do studies.)

I vaguely remember a magazine story about electricians somewhere being afflicted by something. It turns out they were using short scraps of wire insulation as a rubbery chewing gum. Steps were taken to discourage the practice and safer materials are now used.

Tiberius26 Apr 2017 3:09 p.m. PST

Never cast using lead sinkers in a closed family garage.

altfritz26 Apr 2017 5:02 p.m. PST

Peter Gilder?

Henry Martini26 Apr 2017 8:39 p.m. PST

Licorice wire insulation: it works, and it tastes sooooo good.

Unfortunately Dutch electricians suffer terribly from hardening of the arteries.

Early morning writer26 Apr 2017 9:15 p.m. PST

Worry less about lead poisoning and a lot more about micron sized particles from using aerosol spray cans – or much worse, air brushing. I know of two instances where individuals got very ill from such exposure, one of them a form blood leukemia apparently. Use a good air filter – not a cheap, uesless one.

Like all hobby activities, it pays to be safe. Heck, you could slit your wrist with a careless slip of a scalpel type knife while cleaning flash off of a figure and worrying more about spilling paint on your beautiful figures than about your own well-being.

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2017 10:34 p.m. PST

Didn't the fumes from lead casting get to Jack Scruby ? That's the story that I heard ?

basileus66 Inactive Member26 Apr 2017 10:38 p.m. PST

Spray cans are the real danger in our hobby. Particularly, if used frequently and in rooms with poor ventilation. It affects both the lungs and the brain. It is best to use them in open areas, like backyards. However, for those of us that live in flats the alternative is to use them in well ventilated rooms and optimally while wearing a professional air filter mask (it is convenient to change the filters periodically).

Never hear or read anything about aerographs, although I have had headaches from breathing the fumes of isopropyl alcohol I used as thinner for the paints. Since I have used my air filter mask -not the most comfortable thing to wear, particularly during a Spanish summer!- and tried to have the room well ventilated. Also gloves are recommended if you use Isopropyl alcohol, as it is a skin irritant.

Black Hat Miniatures27 Apr 2017 1:25 a.m. PST

The main danger from casting is the talc used as a mould release – again a problem with very fine particles.

There is a story about a GW caster in the days that GW used lead based alloys and tested their employees regularly. He had a very high lead reading and they tried to work out what he was doing differently to anyone else.

In the end it turned out he lived with a mile of the M6 and it was from lead-based petrol…


Timmo uk27 Apr 2017 8:43 a.m. PST

Spraying a golden rule is that if you can smell it you are breathing it in. I wear a multiple filter breathing mask and never spray inside.

Also if you have pets think about their health as well if you are spraying.

As I've got older the problem I have is the skin of my hands splitting so I often wear surgical gloves when preparing figures.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2017 1:45 p.m. PST


LA Times says Jack Scruby died of a heart attack.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Mick the Metalsmith27 Apr 2017 2:57 p.m. PST

Most talc is now corn starch, and has been for a while. Real Talc is nasty in the same way as investment plaster is. Wear a respirator!

coopman Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

The diet cokes that I am drinking will kill me first.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2017 8:20 a.m. PST

Jeez, never spray paint in-doors. Just wait for it to stop raining.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2017 4:40 p.m. PST

I spray in my garage with the overhead door open. I spray in the garage to minimize dirt contamination. I don't want to have to remove primer and start over.

11th ACR02 May 2017 6:18 p.m. PST

Yea, Jack Scruby died of a Heart Attack.

I think chain smoking and a drink here and there sped him on his way.

Great guy. I learned to game at his factory in Goshen CA in the early 70.

How I remember him.


Blutarski04 May 2017 2:10 p.m. PST

Am I correct in recalling that the big shift to pewter in the USA came about as a result of the State of New York banning the use of lead in the manufacture of miniature soldiers because they deemed them to be "toy soldiers" that posed a risk to small children?


ced110605 May 2017 11:59 a.m. PST

Yep. More info on this TMP thread: TMP link

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