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Is soldering a health risk? Answered

I was just wondering how (aside from being clumsy and burning yourself) soldering can be a health risk. I would suppose the fumes would be bad for you, and is there anything else? And is it safe to solder in an average room in a house, or should I do it outside for better ventilation? 

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steveastrouk (author)2010-11-21

In anything less than industrial quantities, soldering is a benign process, avoid doing vast amounts of it in a confined space, but putting circuit boards together for a project is no problem at all.

My company "makes electronics", but our total use of solder, in 30 years, amounts to less than a car-battery worth

Steve

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gruffalo child (author)2010-11-21

When I was two, I loved to chew solder and eat soldering paste from my granddads workshop. Nothing happened.

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... outside of your later getting involved in Instructables Answers, that is...

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gmoon (author)2010-11-22

I'd use plenty of ventilation, everyone agrees there.

Extremely small amounts of lead are vaporized at normal solder-iron temperatures. Not a big deal.

However, the hazards of flux fumes are a subject of debate. Personally, I find solder fumes (probably the flux) don't agree with me (headaches and such).

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Computothought (author)2010-11-22

A fan I agree is a good idea. newer solder no longer uses lead from what I understand. Check and see what you solder is made of.

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Jack A Lopez (author)2010-11-21

I read somewhere that solder contains lead, and that lead is known to cause cancer in the state of California.

So as long as you don't do any soldering in the state of California, I think you'll be alright.
;-)

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orksecurity (author)Jack A Lopez2010-11-21

I believe the State of California recently announced the discovery that white mice cause white mice in white mice...

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Jack A Lopez (author)orksecurity2010-11-21

I had not heard that one. It seems many things are known by this State, and the Californian people do indeed posses much wisdom.

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orksecurity (author)2010-11-21

"Use with proper ventilation and wash before eating", as the adhesive labels say, but I agree with the others that it's probably a low enough exposure to not worry much about.

If you want to be safer, there are lead-free solders available. They're a bit more expensive, and a bit harder to work with since they have a slightly higher melting temperature,

"Fume extractors" are another possible safety measure; several have been described here on Instructables (see the "Related" box at right). Certainly can't hurt.

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orksecurity (author)caarntedd2010-11-21

Me father was a solder in WWII...

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Re-design (author)2010-11-21

A habit that I've seen several people adopt is to hold the solder handy by putting the end of the roll in their mouth.

DON'T DO THIS - EVER.

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orksecurity (author)Re-design2010-11-21

Yeah, that one falls in the category of "asking for trouble".

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BIGHAIRYDUDE (author)2010-11-21

not really the side affects include cancer, tumors, AIDS, HIV, drowsiness, death, headaches, broken bones, twisted ankles, and hallucinations so thats all nothing to be worried about and there is also the chance of steviglorioulio a rare but serious side affect that you must alert a doctor. haha just kiddin do it in a garage

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NachoMahma (author)2010-11-21

. While steveastrouk is right that small, infrequent doses are not usually a problem, I still like to have plenty of ventilation (air moving into and out of the area) when soldering.

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