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Lead Safety

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Sep 6, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    I have two questions:

    1. If you touch lead solder, does it get on your hands?

    2. If the answer to question 1 is yes, if you touch a textbook, etc.,
    does the lead on your hands go on the book?
  2. James Beck

    James Beck Guest

    Yes, and yes.
    The amount may be small, but it is there.
    You should ALWAYS wash your hands after handling lead solder.
    Especially before eating or smoking.

  3. Keep in mind that lead poisoning takes a fair amount, and it affects
    children far more than adults (though I can't recall whether that's
    because they are still devoping and thus vulnerable, or just because
    their body weight is so much smaller than adults that a smaller amount
    affects them).

    Thus the more solder or lead paint you eat, the more damage you will

    If you don't actually eat lead, the exposure is pretty minimal.

    I've been soldering for 36 years, starting when I was 11, and have
    never taken special care. And it sure hasn't affected me.

    But then, I've never actually eaten solder, and I don't think I've
    ever chewed on it, though I have kept it handy in my mouth plenty
    of times.

  4. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    More important than your concern about touching it is that of breathing the


  5. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Shee-it. When I was a kid, and we had to walk 100 miles uphill both
    ways through 25 feet of snow, they taught us to not eat the paint
    off our toys.

    Good Luck!
  6. Chris Jones

    Chris Jones Guest

    But an adult soldering and then washing your hands is possibly a lot better
    than letting a baby chew the paint off a toy that you bought a couple of
    months ago...

  7. Guest

    Thank you so much for answering my questions.

    I am in tenth grade and go to a county career center in Pennsylvania
    run by my school district. There are no ventilation hoods and it is
    difficult to be able to wash my hands after being in the work area.
    Is there any alternative to washing my hands (My mom thought waterless
    hand sanitizer would work, but somehow I doubt it.)?
    Also, as there are no ventilation hoods what can I do to protect
    myself from the fumes?
    One more thing, I've read that you need to wash the clothes you wear
    while you are in your work environment separately from your other
    clothes. Is this true?
  8. default

    default Guest

    Sure it does but the amount it takes and your exposure via that route
    is not significant.

    Things like lead soldered water pipes, pewter goblets or mugs, lead
    glazes, etc.. where the exposure may be chronic, are much more

    The EU's current lead hysteria is justified because the lead found in
    electronic devices is not economically recovered or recycled, so will
    be building up in the environment for a long time.
  9. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    Incidental contact with lead based solder is not a great concern.
    You would have to handle it for a considerable time to notice any
    Washing you clothes separately is an overkill.
    Treat it as you would anything that you don't want to wind up in you mouth.
    As for the vent hoods, they may be required in school; ask the schools RTK
    (Right To Know) officer.
    I solder without a hood and keep may face out of the fumes.

  10. James Beck

    James Beck Guest

    Ain't that the truth!
    I have been soldering since I was 6 (that's about 40 yrs ago) and when I
    had a lead level test done about 5 years ago my numbers were so below
    the state and national average they ran them again just because they
    thought they HAD to be wrong. All you need to do is wash up before
    meals, like your momma always told ya' and I don't see any big problem.

  11. James Beck

    James Beck Guest

    I guess you have not heard about the mandatory end of life recycling
    that has been in effect for a while now. What is it called......the WEE
    directive or something like that? The lead free non-sense in the EU is
    NOT justified, it is just a knee jerk reaction to a problem that doesn't
    exist. In the end, the ROHS directive will put more waste in the ground
    than you can believe.

  12. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    When I was in the USAF, people routinely held solder in their teeth,
    when they have to go out on a wingstand and lean into the airplane
    to fix a connector or something.

    Apparently, it's not all that virulent. ;-)

  13. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Moist Towelettes. Or even baby wipes. Any pharmacy should have lots
    and lots of them.
    Dust mask. It also works on rosin fumes. But even without a hood, a
    small muffin fan or miniature desk fan could keep the fumes out
    of your face.
    No, they're blowing smoke up your ears. ;-) By the time the solder
    gets on your clothes, it's just more dirt.

  14. default

    default Guest

    I have been to a couple of landfills in the states here and I think
    that lead from circuit boards will be a big problem in the future - as
    far as ground water contamination goes. How can you say it won't?

    Individually it may seem insignificant, but collectively . . . .

    And, our responsibility is to protect the environment - we only get
    one planet, after all. Sure, you and I will be dead before it matters
    to us - but look at the problems your parents generation have left us
    with - back when those problems would be a lot easier to correct.

    We are the stewards of the Earth - not the conquerors.
  15. James Beck

    James Beck Guest

    Most landfills are pretty well isolated from the ground water. They
    would have to be, look at ALL of the crap that gets put into them. If
    you want to pick on a REAL problem, how about all the crap from old
    mines. That's a real problem, right now. What you "think" and what is
    really happening might not be the same thing. The lead solder issue is
    just a made up problem and the solution has caused more problems and
    pollution than lead ever did.

  16. default

    default Guest

    Damn tenth grade? Well done. Good post.

    You aren't in all that much danger of dying of lead poisoning from
    solder or solder fumes or flux fumes - or significantly shortening
    your life as a result. You are probably doing more harm with
    something you take for granted and expose yourself to every day.

    If that is your concern - life extension - you should be looking at
    where you live first . . . Move to Alaska. And tenth graders do not
    concern themselves with their mortality - if they did - no one would
    join the military. That is inconsistent, and either makes you unique
    or a troll.

    Back when I was a kid - we'd recover the mercury from mercury
    batteries - they got up to C cell size back in those days.

    There are plenty of carcinogens in the environment that are a lot more
    dangerous than what you may be exposed to in soldering - even after
    decades of sniffing the fumes of solder (solder doesn't vaporize all
    that easily - not at soldering temperatures).
  17. default

    default Guest

    Most landfills are isolated TODAY and only if the rainfall for a
    particular area is within predicted/historical limits. There's lots
    of landfills that are just dumps that have been covered with topsoil.

    Human greed being what it is - it makes a lot more sense, from an
    environmental point of view, to charge the recycle fee up front.

    Remember "hog lagoons?" just takes a tropical storm to dump that
    waste into the estuaries.

    Life sucks - Human life really sucks. You have to see beyond your own
    satisfaction and greed - something no (few) human (s) do/es

    You may be right - for the short term. A thousand years down the road
    - are you sure?
  18. .
    26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and
    let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
    the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every
    creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    -- Genesis 1:26

  19. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Yes, exactly. So how are new draconian regulations going to change

  20. default

    default Guest


    "Draconian regulations?" Yeah, it seems that way to me, right here
    right now, without thinking. Draconian in the sense "hey we ain't
    never had to do that stuff before." well, I still have to take the
    long view.

    Lot of those Texas 1,000 year landfills are under water as we speak -
    simply because the 300 year limits for rainfall were exceeded (due to


    I'm not saying you're right or wrong. I am saying that you should be
    objective and analyze the facts. Not that I know "shit from shinola."
    I do know there are lots of bias in the environmental/political
    agendas we are bombarded with every day. To me, that means there's
    lots of crap parading around as science.

    For all I know, lead is not the issue. I, personally, think we could
    all ingest several grams of lead and it wouldn't matter in the long
    run - because we ain't put any thought into THE LONG RUN. We have
    much larger problems in the environment than what lead might do. In
    fact, lead looks like a scapegoat or diversion - an EU scare and EU
    muscle flexing in order to bring all the little nations of Europe into
    one control - - - " and thou shalt obey the US copy write laws, and
    thou shalt embrace globalization."

    I remember having a "muscle car" in the 70's even after I knew about
    the oil reserves, politics, etc that predicted I would (die in the
    50's) or couldn't get gas by 2010. My only thought was: damn that
    doesn't affect me!

    I'm older, and more cynical today. Wiser too - but no thanks to me -
    it is just my perspective is different than it was.
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