For employees (carpenter, laborer, iron worker, plumber, electrician) using powder actuated tools, please take caution! There are possible airborne lead exposures during powder actuated tool use.

The best safety practice is to eliminate the hazard. In this case there are two easy alternatives;

  1. using lead-free loads, or
  2. using a pneumatic type nailer (like this one made by Pneutek, Hilti makes a CO2 type as well)

However, if you are an employee, I realize there are times that you are not given a choice. If this is the case, please consider:

    • asking for the MSDS for the primer loads (look for lead¬†styphnate, or similar)
    • lead exposure can occur by inhalation and by ingestion (wash!)
    • wash & be diligent around eating & what you “take home” to your family
    • lead exposure to children is serious (they absorb lead better & it causes more detrimental health effects)
    • respirators might be required when using these tools (so wear one!)
    • working overhead (nailing into ceiling) might have higher airborne levels than other positions
    • bringing up these concerns with your safety professional onsite
    • performing air monitoring to determine airborne levels (although for the price of an industrial hygiene consultant, you could own a CO2 actuated tool)
    • reading more about it from my earlier post here.