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Leaded Solder = Health concerns?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know what the long-term consequences of using leaded solder are?

Is there any danger of lead posioning as long as you don't bite a chunk of solder off?
post #2 of 28
No, as long as you don't use it in plumbing or anything touching food, leaded solder should be fine. Well, discounting what happens during manufacturing and what happens when you dispose of the soldered item or solder.

There are plenty of varieties of lead free solder out there though, so if you're worried, go for something else. Some suggest that silver solder has better audio properties, though I don't believe it.
post #3 of 28
Leaded solder has been used for eons because there is just nothing better.

As far as I've read, there's very little.

Tangent covers basics on soldering in a nice ~30 min video here.

Searching on google for about 10 minutes yields nothing about lead solder being a problem because of the act of soldering. All the concerns seem to be from soldering stuff that will see drinking water, because of contamination that way.

I've been soldering hardcore for the past few eeks and I've been doing better and better in my weekly soccer games...

Coincidence? I think not...
post #4 of 28
My understanding is that silver solder flows better with silver plated wiring. Other than that, I think it is a waste of money. Unless of course you are doing DIYFP, in which case people will happily pay extra just to say their amps have silver solder in them
post #5 of 28
I've been soldering with for over 25 years and it hasn't effec effec effec effected me :O)
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by valveman View Post
I've been soldering with for over 25 years and it hasn't effec effec effec effected me :O)
Ditto.
But let's see. I've been soldering with for about 20 years.
So lead solder would effec effec effec effect me after 5 years from now? OH NO !!! :O
post #7 of 28
just wash your hands after you're done if you're worried. I was on a rifle team for 3 years, and there's a ton of lead dust floating around in the indoor ranges we shot in. The only danger is if you eat or breathe a ton of it. I've never seen solder produce lead dust, so unless you're on acid or something while you're soldering and eat a bunch of it, I wouldn't worry too much
post #8 of 28
I understand that lead solder will not be sold in the United States after a certain date. I don't know the date, but think it's within a couple years. I've used lead solder for years and am mainly concerned with the smoke. I pay attention to not inhale while the smoke is rising off the iron. I've tried the generic (lead free solder) and hate it. This is at work and not on audio equipment.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denim View Post
I understand that lead solder will not be sold in the United States after a certain date. I don't know the date, but think it's within a couple years. I've used lead solder for years and am mainly concerned with the smoke. I pay attention to not inhale while the smoke is rising off the iron. I've tried the generic (lead free solder) and hate it. This is at work and not on audio equipment.
The rising smoke is rosin burning off, if I'm not mistaken. While I doubt it's great for your health, it doesn't contain lead, and isn't as much of a hazard.

There are many different kinds of lead-free solder. I suppose most, if not all of them, require higher temperature soldering irons, but many are realistically usable, and some are eutectic too.
post #10 of 28
I've heard solder effects your ability to make sound judgments, 18 dollars for an OPA627 doesn't seem like a bad deal and I need two...
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've heard that the rosin is pretty safe...

I might try to do some pubmed searches later and see what the medical literature says... I'll report back my findings.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by spongezone View Post
The rising smoke is rosin burning off, if I'm not mistaken. While I doubt it's great for your health, it doesn't contain lead, and isn't as much of a hazard.
True.

I believe burnt rosin is carcinogenic -- as is almost anything burned, it seems -- but it's easy enough to deflect away from your face. I didn't get around to fans and fume hoods in my tutorials, but what is there to say?

As for the lead, it's easy to convince yourself that the smoke doesn't contain lead: the vapor point of lead is something like 1800 degrees. Case closed.

Wash your hands, get a fan, and stock up on the leaded solder before They take it away. That's my advice.
post #13 of 28
I didn't know the vapor point of the lead was so high. It's unlikely that any is carried in the smoke. The fumes can't be good for you, and it's probably about the same with all solder. I kind of like the smell of the rosin and have to watch myself to not inhaling it by mistake.

In all fairness, I probably do more damage to my lungs everytime I fire up the grill.

I plan on stocking up on the leaded solder while it's still available. Anyone know when it is pulled from the shelves?
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denim View Post
I've tried the generic (lead free solder) and hate it. This is at work and not on audio equipment.
I've tried the lead free solder as well, can't find a brand that flows like the lead based solder, if anyone knows what's good let me know.
post #15 of 28
I've tried a variety of solder, and there's nothing like good old 60/40. I've used it regularly for close to 10 years, and I don't worry about it. I am, however, particular about ventilation and cleanup. I always have a couple windows open and a fan running to remove the smoke If you do it right, you'll hardly notice it. After handling lead, I never touch my face, etc. with lead on my hands. I always wash off before that, eating, or any other activity where I could ingest it. Sure, there's still some exposure if you use it, but you can really keep it to a minimum.

Denim- are you thinking of the RoHS deal thing in Europe? They went lead-free, but I have not heard of it here yet. You will see a ton of RoHS stuff at Mouser, Digikey, et al. since they're international. If it does come to pass, however, I'll stock up on 60/40.
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