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safety of lead free solder

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by John Douglas, May 24, 2005.

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  1. John Douglas

    John Douglas Guest

    I had thought lead-free solder was considered safe.

    I was prepared to let a 12 year old begin soldering (under supervision)
    until I saw a warning on the back of the package stating that 'this
    product contains a known carinogen to the state of Calif' (not exact
    quote). Its standard stock lead-free solder from Radio Shack having
    96% tin, 4% silver. (Where's the carcinogen in that?)

    I am reluctant to let a child use this solder.
    Does a safe solder exist?

  2. Many do. You could overdose on it, though. If
    enough is stuffed down someone's gullet, they die.
    Do you live in California? If so, and you take all the
    locals' fears seriously, you will have to deal with that
    issue first. Otherwise, please be aware that the state
    is known for going so far overboard with warning
    labels that many people ignore them, rationally.
    You could eat solder once in awhile without harm.
    It is a metal and passes thru the GI tract. A small
    amount can be absorbed, so don't make it a habit.

    I would be more concerned about breathing the
    smoke from the burning resin, but for occasional
    exposures even that is a far-fetched worry.
  3. John Bokma

    John Bokma Guest

    Use a small fan that blows away the "smoke" coming from the solder.
  4. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Don't worry about it. Since the flakes and nuts took over CA, _everything_
    is a "known carciongen". The "carcinogen" is probably in the flux fumes,
    and you'd have to concentrate them and breathe nothing else for 75 years,
    at which point you'd probably be dead of something else anyway.

  5. If you go to the Kester Web site and check their MSDS section for a
    particular solder product you will find the specific carcinogen hazards
    detailed there.
  6. The flux may contain something known to have a nonzero rate of causing
    cancer to mice or rats if they are fed/injected/gassed daily for months
    (or surgically implanted) with not quite enough of the stuff to kill them in
    some other way.

    What is known outside the State of California to be a laughingstock is
    California's legislature, which got us warning labels that say things such
    as Christmas lights being known to cause birth defects, etc. Apparently
    most materials other than legislator brains are known to the State of
    California to be carcinogens!

    Actually, flux fumes aren't perfectly safe to breathe so it's a good
    idea to not breathe too much flux fumes, although flux fumes are probably
    not one of the major hazards in the life of someone who even solders for a
    living. Same can be said of most other smokes and dusts in concentrations
    that are visible in room air.

    - Don Klipstein ()
  7. If you go to the Kester Web site and check their MSDS section for a
    particular solder product you will find the specific carcinogenic hazards
    detailed there. The information should be similar for the Radio Shack
    product you are using.
  8. Bob Eldred

    Bob Eldred Guest

    As you can see, the nay sayers and laissez-faire republicans who could give
    a crap about health as they guzzle their six packs and puff on their
    cigarettes are out in force poo-pooing the state of California's warnings.
    They would rather remain ignorant than to be advised of some problems that
    may occur in using that product. Ignorance is bliss and if anybody tries to
    advise them, they shine it off as coming from the liberal nut cases in
    granola land. The land of fruits, nuts, and flakes. Those warnings may be
    overstated but, all they are, after all, are warnings to let people know
    that there are certain chemicals involved that have caused cancer in lab
    animals, albeit at high dose. You are free to do what you want, eat the
    solder, breathe the fumes, whatever. But, a prudent person would take it
    under advisement and probably use good ventillation when soldering and not
    use it to solder water pipes or food implements without the proper non-toxic
    and non-carcinogenic flux. It's common sense.
  9. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    I saw a warning on the back of the package stating that 'this
    Nope. Can't blame this one on the professional lawmakers.
    This was Proposition 65,
    a populist initiative sponsored by citizens who failed science.
    These things (Props) are done when the Assembly is being too
    and actually take time to examine the facts.
  10. Ban

    Ban Guest

    I remember in the fifties when buying shoes, you would look into this big
    (wooden!) X-ray box to see if the toes were fitting. Those salesgirls were
    operating the machines day in and out. Wonder about theirs and their
    offspring health. Is there any data on the net?
  11. We don't have to, because the state of California's warnings are,
    essentially, already poo-poo.
    HAH! Ignorant is as ignorant does.

    Well, on this morning's TeeVee Nooz, I noticed that hair dye has just been
    given a clean bill of health. This is very likely because the rulemakers
    don't want their Grecian Formula taken away. And they like their bleached
    Yeah, but for how long? How far are we from the point where everything not
    specifically permitted is prohibited?

    Feh. If you used common sense, you wouldn't need Big Brother nanny state
    to tell you when it's "safe" to wipe your own ass.

  13. Chris W

    Chris W Guest

    Overstated?! Now that is a serious understatement. I just received my
    new model airplane engine in the mail the other day and it had that
    cancer waning on the box. The warning was for the engine, not the fuel
    or oil used to run the engine. I have no doubt that there is some
    element, probably chromium, in some alloy in the parts of that engine
    that, in the right form and sufficient dose, could cause cancer.
    However, I also have no doubt that I could carry that engine, and or any
    of it parts, in my had all day every day and never get cancer from it.
    Certainly there would be no chance of getting cancer from any
    conceivable use of that engine. That is why why these things that are
    "known" to the state of California are such a joke. Now if they
    restricted the warnings to things were there was really a chance of
    getting cancer from the normal use or even abuse of a product, then I'm
    sure they would be taken more seriously. There is a good chance of
    getting seriously injured or even killed by that engine but it won't be
    from cancer. If they want to put a warning on the box, they should warn
    of the real dangers of using that engine, like chopping your fingers off
    or killing some one by flying it into them.

    Chris W

    Gift Giving Made Easy
    Get the gifts you want &
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  14. kell

    kell Guest

    I have no doubt that there is some

    There goes my plan to make it into the Guinnes Book of World Records by
    eating twenty seven model airplane engines.
  15. Mark Zenier

    Mark Zenier Guest

    It's not common sense to put a cancer warning on vinyl coated aluminum
    fence wire.

    Mark Zenier Washington State resident
  16. Pig Bladder

    Pig Bladder Guest

    You wouldn't know common sense if it jumped up and bit you in the ass.

    Besides which Rich clearly has uncommon sense. ;-)

    Well, thank Goddess that we don't live in Walznia, where King Steve
    gets to kill anybody he doesn't like.
  17. Pig Bladder

    Pig Bladder Guest

    No, but it'll sure bring in those research grants! (of taxpayer
    money, of course.)
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