I've been casting off and on for about 15 years,pretty much only shooting cast lead bullets in both rifle and pistols for the last five. Casting is like anything else it has a learning curve but once you know the basics and gain knowledge of safety,metals,velocity and pressure and how it affect cast bullets it becomes very enjoyable and cost effective.
Casting is like any other hobby you can go all out with equipment or you can keep it simple and on a low budget. I cast bullets with several Lee tumble lube molds,in most cases no sizing is necessary you simply cast,lube with Alox,load and shoot. I do all my sizing when necessary with Lee push through sizers they will also apply gas checks if there called for.
I also have several Lee,Lyman Ideal and NOE molds that have the traditional lube grooves as seen on most commercial cast bullets. For these type bullet I use either Alox tumble lube or I pan lube the bullet it just depends on the velocity and pressure I want to push the bullet at,that also determines if I want to apply the gas check or not.
Basically all my bullets are free with the exception of the ones I apply gas check to,those cost me about 2.5 cents each and I only use gas check for special purpose ammo such as soft alloy HP's or high velocity rifle rds. mainly for hunting purposes.
Lead or lead based alloy are basically still readily available around here,the local garages or recapping / tire shops are out in the country and they don't recycles so those are easily gotten. I have friends and family that are in the construction business so I get lead from them as well and being in the printing business all my life I've managed to scrounge up a bit of Linotype. I also trade scrap steel and aluminum for lead at the local recycle center.
As far as lead safety issues after all my years of casting and handling cast lead bullets my lead levels are perfectly normal. I don't eat,smoke or drink while casting or loading lead based bullets. I cast out in the open mostly in the cooler months of the year and I wear gloves while casting and loading and I wash my hands thoroughly afterwards.
As far as lead fumes the home caster doesn't have much to worry about unless you can heat you lead or lead based alloy up to around 3182 degrees which is the boil and vaporization point of lead. Water is also not a buggy man of lead unless it gets underneath the lead then it turns to steam and rapidly expands and you get a visit form the tinsel fairy,I also warm my ingots before adding them to the pot,water directly on top of molten turns to steam. That being said I don't take any chances and when I do water drop bullet from the mold I set my water bucket off to the side and cover the top with an old towel slightly pressed down to form a V trap with slit cut in the middle for the bullets to fall through.
One of the bullets I cast NOE double crimp groove 160 gr. gas check HP. Bullet on the left is set up for 357 full house loads,sized to .359 gas checked and pan lubed bullet is cast from 50/50 alloy. Bullet on the right is cast form same alloy tumble lube with Alox and gas check left off fired from 38 snubby at about 800 fps.