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Sir Walter Scott back in stock

Regarding Lead

JuxtaposerJuxtaposer Member
edited September 2012 in Snufftaking

"@TSpike i would recommend making sure that if you are putting snuff into the stone bottle that it is lead free. While i am not a chemist, I am pretty sure that snuff could pick up lead quite easily. you can get lead test kits for less than $10 at hardware stores. Wash and dry the bottle before you test."

"Regarding lead; Any tobacco product should test positive."

"@Justaposer, why would "any tobacco product" test positive for lead? here is the answer

How does radioactive material get into a cigarette?

The tobacco leaves used in making cigarettes contain radioactive material, particularly lead-210 and polonium-210. The radionuclide content of tobacco leaves depends heavily on soil conditions and fertilizer use.

Soils that contain elevated radium lead to high radon gas emanations rising into the growing tobacco crop. Radon rapidly decays into a series of solid, highly radioactive metals (radon decay products). These metals cling to dust particles which in turn are collected by the sticky tobacco leaves. The sticky compound that seeps from the trichomes is not water soluble, so the particles do not wash off in the rain. There they stay, through curing process, cutting, and manufacture into cigarettes.Lead-210 and Polonium-210 can be absorbed into tobacco leaves directly from the soil. But more importantly, fine, sticky hairs (called trichomes) on both sides of tobacco leaves grab airborne radioactive particles.

For example, phosphate fertilizers, favored by the tobacco industry, contain radium and its decay products (including lead-210 and polonium-210). When phosphate fertilizer is spread on tobacco fields year after year, the concentration of lead-210 and polonium-210 in the soil rises.

From the EPA website, learn something everyday"

"@Juxtaposer I would still not want to compound the problem by having more lead in a container leeching into my snuff. Could one presume that homegrown tobacco, grown in lead-free soil without phosphate fertilizers be lead free?"


  • JuxtaposerJuxtaposer Member
    edited September 2012 PM
    @Cros The average lead content in soil is ten parts per million. More or less lead is there. The way the sinuses work I don't see it as an issue that has the same gravity as contaminated smoke in the lungs does. Certainly in younger developing bodies there should be a concern. Something to think about regarding the stone bottles though.
  • Some additional thoughts here:
    1. tobacco from many African nations (Zimbabwe is a popular tobacco source) will contain more lead, thanks to the continued use of leaded gasoline.

    2. you already have a significant blood lead level if you live, or have lived, anywhere there was historic automobile traffic, thanks to historic leaded gasoline usage (like virtually everywhere in N. America). After being banned for so many years, the average blood lead level is still around 3 micrograms/deciliter, with big city dwellers still looking at numbers between 5-10. If that was a child's blood lead level, it would be considered a medical emergency requiring treatment. For some reason, the US gov doesn't consider it important in adults until it is over 25, which is the kind of level that lead smelter workers typically deal with (mine was around 30 when I worked at a lead smelter - they didn't move you until your level was >45, and they didn't allow child-bearing-age women to work there at all).

    3. phosphate fertilizers wouldn't be a significant source of lead or polonium if they used refined rock, but the big business tobacco growers go for cheap unrefined phosphate rock, leading to significant polonium contamination (and some lead).

    4. I want to echo Juxtaposer's thoughts on absorption: it isn't that likely that you would absorb lead from tobacco through your nose. It is likely there as some organo-lead compound that is far too big and heavy to ever get absorbed through mucous membranes. On the other hand, SMOKING it will liberate the lead, and put it into a form that is significantly absorb-able.

    5. Everything has lead in it - it depends on how sensitive your assay equipment is. We have found absolutely everything to test positive for lead when surveying foods, consumer items, soils, new clothing, paper etc. and these items were not from "lead metal producing" areas, which of course are more contaminated (don't live near a lead smelter unless you understand the risks and hazards). Usually the lead levels are extremely low, but sensitive modern equipment can pick it up. So, everything is a little contaminated and you cannot escape it entirely. Fortunately, tiny amounts of lead are easily excreted from your body or go into your bones if you have sufficient calcium intake. You should see how bright my bones are on X-rays are after a couple years of working in a lead smelter. I don't recommend that...

    Lead metal poses a miniscule absorption risk. Some lead oxides pose a significant risk when inhaled. Organo-lead compounds are often VERY absorb-able when swallowed. So, chewing tobacco has a higher lead risk. You use so little snuff (relatively speaking) with so little free organo-lead in it, in a place where it doesn't absorb well, and even the tiny amount of drip is unlikely to be a significant lead source (since you are unlikely to liberate the lead in your nose in the first place) - I wouldn't worry about it if it were me. Fruits and veggies from your backyard would be a bigger concern, as is all the dusty crap you inhale in the city.

    Just my thoughts.

    Best Regards, Geraldo

  • lead filled snow shoe I said peek- a-boo
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • @Cros and @Geraldo the knowledgable entries are much appreciated.
  • My ignorant contribution- I recall reading/hearing the Romans used lead oxide as a flavor inhancer, put on food and such. Anyone else hear of this? I realize "Romans" is a broad catagorie.
  • I remember reading one line somewhere to the effect that they used lead to sweeten wine. But their society lasted circa a thousand years and was spread over Europe and Africa. Saying the Romans did a certain thing is so wide as to be fairly meaningless, as you suggest.
  • @basement_shaman Good old Zappa. "Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow!"
  • well lead based make-up was popular for a long while. Lead based paints for artists used to be popular too.
  • RoderickRoderick Member
    edited September 2012 PM
    All very good advice as usual on snuffhouse.

    It's the amount of lead we consume that we need to consider. For example. Some old houses have/had lead water pipes which in turn means the inhabitant is/was regularly consuming large amounts of lead on a daily basis and this will in time have done them harm.

    On the other hand, our rivers are full of lead fishing weights plus all the lead washed into those rivers and we eat fish and fowl that regularly consume that lead yet we are not harmed. Just think of the amount of game meat we eat hopefully spitting out the lead shot and still we are not harmed. If we do it every day it's going to hurt but, in moderation it's not a problem.

    If your using a lead lined snuff box once or twice a week and you don't leave it full of snuff you'll be fine but, if you keep using the same lead lined box year after year I would be worried.

    For the record I have made a small amateur study on lead consumption and found that we all consume far more lead than we are told by our govts. It is just another of the harmful elements we share our planet with and cannot avoid. Sadly there are far too many other more harmfull elements out there to worry about.
  • I think the only lead lined boxes were the original Laurencekirk ones with lead paper lining, so we are safe.
  • Lead causes drain bamage no it's brain damage. Any way lead is bad mkay . But then again lead is good,it protect you from dangerous radiation. eggs are bad no eggs are good. Live a healthy lifestyle, eat healthy foods and exercise regularly then die anyway. No one get out alive, Don't worry be happy and have that candy bar or icecream or chocolate cake. And enjoy tobacco products made exclusively for your pleasure.
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • ok, so all i was trying to point out was that bottles from third world countries could contain lead. I think all experts would agree that one should try to minimize consumption of lead when possible
  • While lead is a concern, cadmium is also an issue with tobacco products, especially when smoked.
  • @Cros an indepth disscussion is what were about. No stone left unturned, thirst for knowledge, quest for inner peace, etc., etc. But ya, lead is bad. Cadmium also.
  • Yes, @Cros and thank you for bringing it up.
  • It was good to find out about how the lead gets into the tobacco plant in big tobacco farms, gives me another reason to grow my own
  • @cros Growing is easy. From harvest to grinding are the phases I don't understand. I think you need a lot of tobacco to make it work, and a good sized facility.
  • @Xander have to agree, thats why i let those farmers take my money, its worth it...for now
  • Having unfortunately been a victim of 'lead overdose' working with old paint, I can say that it is nothing to sneeze at. NO FUN.... with lots of long term ramifications. BUT I agree with @basement_shaman that we need to go into life with our eyes open and live life to its fullest. Why live under a rock? you would just get squished!
  • almost as bad but not quite so bad as lead poisoning is led poisoning.
  • Is that from having flash-backs of Led Zeppelin played too loud in the frat house next door back in the 60's?
  • or just from the fact that they still play it on the radio a lot.
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