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Is it very bad to inhale fumes of 37% lead solder?

Patrick33

Member
Messages
19
Hello, and thank you for viewing my thread, I am very new to soldering, and am very worried, as while trying to fix the switch on my Gretsch, I inhaled quite a few breaths of smoke produced by solder containing 37% lead, I have had a slight pain in my throat and chest, but I could just be thinking so much about this it could be partly imaginary, but I was just wondering if anyone could advise or reassure me on any facts, I thank you for your time and stay safe everyone! :) :)
 

Sushi Box FX

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
316
Will it kill you right now? No, probably not. It's not great for you, but the chest pain is likely unrelated. That being said if you're going to be doing a lot of soldering I would highly recommend a smoke extractor. You can get cheap ones for around $40 or so, I think mine was around $100.
 
Messages
502
I hope you've made arrangements. Leaving your big ole corpse around for your loved ones to deal with 'aint cool.


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heheh, don't worry pal, there 'aint no lead in those fumes. it 'aint good for you, but you'll be just fine.
 

hunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,175
Call your doctor if you want to be sure but my recollection is lead is not vaporized at soldering temps so lead is not an issue. Unless you are eating the solder. I expect it is the flux going up in smoke. An irritant like most smoke.
 

fiveightandten

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,437
Hello, and thank you for viewing my thread, I am very new to soldering, and am very worried, as while trying to fix the switch on my Gretsch, I inhaled quite a few breaths of smoke produced by solder containing 37% lead, I have had a slight pain in my throat and chest, but I could just be thinking so much about this it could be partly imaginary, but I was just wondering if anyone could advise or reassure me on any facts, I thank you for your time and stay safe everyone! :) :)
Lead vaporizes at about 750ºF. So if your soldering tip temperature is under that point, you're primarily vaporizing (and inhaling) flux. It's not good for you, but isn't as bad as inhaling lead fumes. Under the vaporization temperature, you are *melting* the lead, which is then re-solidifiing after the heat is removed.

The main exposure route for lead during soldering electronics is ingestion of lead dust from hand to mouth activity. Solution: wash your hands well after you're done. Clean them before playing the guitar so you don't contaminate it.

As an Industrial Hygienist that has my blood lead tested annually, I've never seen a spike from soldering, and I do a fair amount of it. My blood lead is usually 1-2 ug/dL, up from 0 before I started monitoring lead abatement jobs on bridges.
 

Tachymetres

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
512
Lead vaporizes at about 750ºF. So if your soldering tip temperature is under that point, you're primarily vaporizing (and inhaling) flux. It's not good for you, but isn't as bad as inhaling lead fumes. Under the vaporization temperature, you are *melting* the lead, which is then re-solidifiing after the heat is removed.

The main exposure route for lead during soldering electronics is ingestion of lead dust from hand to mouth activity. Solution: wash your hands well after you're done. Clean them before playing the guitar so you don't contaminate it.

As an Industrial Hygienist that has my blood lead tested annually, I've never seen a spike from soldering, and I do a fair amount of it. My blood lead is usually 1-2 ug/dL, up from 0 before I started monitoring lead abatement jobs on bridges.
This is the best advice and correct information.
 

Surfreak

Member
Messages
2,654
Lead vaporizes at about 750ºF. So if your soldering tip temperature is under that point, you're primarily vaporizing (and inhaling) flux. It's not good for you, but isn't as bad as inhaling lead fumes. Under the vaporization temperature, you are *melting* the lead, which is then re-solidifiing after the heat is removed.

The main exposure route for lead during soldering electronics is ingestion of lead dust from hand to mouth activity. Solution: wash your hands well after you're done. Clean them before playing the guitar so you don't contaminate it.

As an Industrial Hygienist that has my blood lead tested annually, I've never seen a spike from soldering, and I do a fair amount of it. My blood lead is usually 1-2 ug/dL, up from 0 before I started monitoring lead abatement jobs on bridges.

These posts are what makes this forum so valuable. Thank you sir!
 

CanuckChris

Member
Messages
2,220
You can get what welders call metal fume fever from inhalation of metals (including lead). That typically occurs at higher temperatures associated with welding, and symptoms are more flu-like (fever, fatigue, muscle soreness, etc.). Soldering should be pretty safe though.
 

JMMP1

Member
Messages
898
Echoing what fiveightandten said, most of the fumes should be the flux, which I believe is an acid, if I remember correctly. I wouldn’t want to stick my nose in it while soldering, but the vapors that get mixed into normal air should only cause a mild irritation. Fwiw I’m a chemical engineer, and deal with a fairly nasty (and strong) acid on a daily basis, and even smelling that acid doesn’t provide any lasting effects, yet. If you experience any severe symptoms, I would seek out a medical professional, though.
 

hank57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,369
The fact is that it’s okay to solder. Any type of smoke should be vented if there’s great amount of it. But there are no big health warnings not soldering
 




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