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Author Topic: Lead free solder question  (Read 14805 times)
G3RZP
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« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2013, 12:34:53 AM »

Antimony is poisonous, with symptoms similar to arsenic.

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/antimony-poisoning.html

and numerous other on line references.
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WB6DGN
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« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2013, 01:37:47 AM »

Quote
Daymn!  If this is so, does that mean that I'm gonna have to start shaving my gear?

No.  But you may have to trim its beard from time to time. But, at least, it will look more distinguished.
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W0BTU
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« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2013, 08:48:36 AM »

Antimony is poisonous, with symptoms similar to arsenic. ...

The article I referenced earlier said that it was an antimony compound (antimony trioxide) that was actually poisonous, and that the pure metal as is alloyed in solder was not. But I don't know.

http://www.psinter.com/downloads/aim/Antimony_Study.pdf
from http://www.psinter.com/index,498,White-Paper.html

"The issue of the toxicity of antimony has arisen as the search for viable lead-free alloys continues. Confusion regarding the toxicity of antimony has developed as a result of legislation concerning antimony trioxide, as well as unfounded speculation concerning the element in an alloyed form. This paper details third party and governmental studies and legislation concerning antimony and its "toxicity". This data then is compared to that of the "safe" elements that comprise the majority of lead-free solders, including silver, copper, zinc, compounds of tin, as well as lead. This data indicates that antimony is no more "toxic", often is far less-stringently regulated, and is classified as less of a health threat than many of the other aforementioned elements."

Maybe it's a half-truth from a company with commercial interests. Whether this is the case, I have no idea.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2013, 10:13:25 AM »

Maybe if the solder manufacturers start using antimony in their solder, we just might have solder connections later that grow warts!  Warts with hair growing from them!!
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W0BTU
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« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2013, 01:27:45 PM »

I am not a chemist, but Google antimony is not poisonous and see what you think. If it is toxic, it appears to be FAR less so than lead. I think I saw that antimony-containing solder is approved for soldering copper pipes carrying drinking water, unlike lead-containing solder.

Toxicity of a given element can vary depending on whether it is compounded or not. For example, we sure wouldn't dare to eat pure sodium (Na) or inhale pure chlorine (Cl). But billions of people safely sprinkle NaCl (ordinary table salt) on their food daily. In antimony's case, it appears to be the reverse of this; it's the salts or compounds of antimony that are toxic (like antimony sulfide or antimony trioxide), not the pure or alloyed element.

Getting back to the original subject, I think that tin whiskers in lead-free projects should probably not be a problem for us hams and our projects. It seems like a rare thing to occur. In my commercial products where I use it, any tin whiskers that might form would do no harm whatsoever.
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KE4JOY
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« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2013, 01:38:41 PM »

It is hard to believe in this day and age with metallurgy being advanced to the state it is that a solution for 'whiskers' cant be found.

But then again many devices and appliances are nearly purposely designed with a limited lifespan these days.

But let me digress just a tad. What exactly were the dangers of leaded solder? I can see maybe to the one doing the actual soldering but how often does the 'general public' actually come into contact with soldered joints?

Afraid it will get into the landfill? It is my understanding that a lot of pc boards and electronics in general are broken down to their base elements to regain the silver, gold and copper. Besides there are a lot of other nasty things still in circulation that can get into the landfill. Hybrid cars come to mind.

Just a little rambling and wondering.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2013, 06:51:44 PM »

Lead leaching into the drinking water from lead soldered joints?  I'd venture to say that there is more lead in the water originally than would leach in from soldered joints in copper plumbing lines.

I'd also say that this rumor is about equivalent to the one concerning RF radiation of VHF/UHF radio transmitters and the FCC wanting to raise those standards because they're not high enough.

IOW, lets get those scaredy cat lawyers and their suppositions out of our daily lives--we would ALL be better off!
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WB6DGN
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« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2013, 08:19:40 PM »

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What exactly were the dangers of leaded solder? I can see maybe to the one doing the actual soldering

According to an article that I read recently while researching COPD (which one quack is trying to diagnose me with), it is not the lead which is a danger in normal hand soldering.  That article claimed that the lead alloys do not begin to vaporize until somewhere in excess of 900 degrees F.  Rather, the hazard for people who hand solder without a fume hood is from the rosin compounds (the flux) in most electronic solders.  To my way of thinking, anyone who regularly solders at temperatures in excess of 900 degrees is going to have more immediate issues than the possibility of health problems; such as buying a new device to replace the one they tried to solder!
Of course, in "the day", most of us used to "cut" our solder to length by biting off a convenient length from the larger roll.  Many of us would also hold the solder in our lips while using both hands to perform some other task prior to soldering the next joint.  So, I suppose there MAY be some issues associated with those habits but they wouldn't be respiratory issues.
Tom
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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2013, 01:19:15 AM »

I can understand the worries of water flowing through lead pipes but the amount of lead in a solder joint is probably tiny and not worth worrying about. Last year we had our gas pipes replaced after an inspector drew attention to some soldered joints but here he explained the problem a) soldered joints won't last long in a fire and b) the hydrogen sulphide in the gas here reacts with the solder joints and makes them brittle. The new pipes have brazed joints.

As for the use of lead free solder, I've never bitten off pieces with my teeth but I've held lots of solder in my lips over the years and it hasn't affected me in the slightest. It's more likely that I will be affected by the mercury in my old fillings and the pesticides in my food.

Tanakasan
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KE3WD
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« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2013, 06:58:32 AM »

The problem did not originate with lead solders. 

Lead poisoning is CUMULATIVE. 

The position, then, is to eliminate adding any more lead to the problem. 

Back in '77, when the Committee for Concerned Scientists published the multiple measurements that indicated that there was at least 200 metric tons of Pb in the AIR, which means that it would end up on the ground and in the ground water, etc. was when the much maligned Catalytic Converters came along, plus UNleaded gasoline mandates. 

There is no simple formula for when someone has absorbed too much lead, apparently one person can deal with more of it than another, which only serves to confuse even more. 

The psychological symptoms of lead poisoning may explain a lot about the current events we've been observing, though. 

It ain't pretty.


73
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W0BTU
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« Reply #40 on: July 18, 2013, 07:59:10 AM »

Yes, most lead solder is probably not going to hurt anyone. I think the reasoning behind the ban on using lead solder for copper pipes includes the following:

1. If the water in the pipes sits long enough, much more lead goes into the water.
2. Young children are far more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults. This article is not about solder, but I think it indicates that. http://www.negativeiongenerators.com/leadpaintdust.html

For years, I didn't worry about fume removal when using lead/tin solder. Then I visited the place that wave-soldered small PC boards for us the last place I worked. It was pointed out to me that every six months the 12" to 14" stainless steel fume ducts leading away from the molten solder area had to be taken down and cleaned out to remove the thick, heavy coating of solder that had condensed inside! I'm sure that a lot less solder evaporates from the tip of an iron and the molten solder it's melting. But from that point forward, I started using solder fume extractors.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #41 on: July 18, 2013, 08:14:28 AM »

The water leaches the lead (and I would think, in the same way, antimony) out of the joints, especially if it is slightly acid, and it's the salts that are poisonous. If your water is hard, scale builds up and protects - a run of 1.25 inch lead pipe taken out of my parents house after 30 years had a 3/8 inch bore because of scale. It is surprising what water will dissolve, albeit in some cases, very slowly.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2013, 09:47:58 AM »

I recently discussed this lead-free solder; whisker growing stuff with a former NASA electronics engineer. 

He said this whisker thing has been a problem for about a decade and the whole damn debacle was caused by the same "tree  snorting" group that brought us the 1.6gal. flush tanks, little cars, catalytic converters and all the rest of the nonsense we have to deal with today.

It's amazing how laws get passed to shut up a vocal person or group without any thought of the consequences.  Either by the government or the idiots who want "change."


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KE4JOY
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« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2013, 12:49:44 PM »

Wonder if they have to use lead free solder in satellites and space probes?

Wouldn't want to poison a martian now.  Cheesy
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K1CJS
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« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2013, 05:21:42 AM »

I recently discussed this lead-free solder; whisker growing stuff with a former NASA electronics engineer. 

He said this whisker thing has been a problem for about a decade and the whole damn debacle was caused by the same "tree  snorting" group that brought us the 1.6gal. flush tanks, little cars, catalytic converters and all the rest of the nonsense we have to deal with today.

It's amazing how laws get passed to shut up a vocal person or group without any thought of the consequences.  Either by the government or the idiots who want "change."

THAT is the whole thing in a nutshell.  Alarmist mentality.

BTW, as water pipes age, there are deposits that form in them--effectively blocking the minute amounts of lead in the lead solder joints away from the flowing water.  You can use caution in these thing, but caution taken to extremes is worse in some cases than no caution at all.
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