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        How hazardous are soldering fumes ?

#1 Al P May 03, 2001 09:06 AM

How hazardous are soldering fumes ?
Well, I finally got the nerve to solder my first flight pack last night. Wasn't that tough once you believe you can do it.

I've been using Deans Racing Solder from New Creations for all my soldering, I suppose it has flux in it from all the smoke when it melts. Also has some silver solder in it.

Is the smoke just the flux, and how dangerous is soldering in the house ? I mean the fumes . There is lead in solder also.


#2 poobs May 03, 2001 09:52 AM

I would not bother with fancy solder. IMHO There is not much to it but the percent of tin vs lead etc. The more tin the higher the higher the melting point.

You probably have rosin cored solder. I think rosin is basically tree sap.

The mnanufacturer or suplier might have the Materail Safety Data Sheet for the product.

If you find out something negative please let me know. I practically inhale this stuff when I solder.

#3 Greg Covey May 03, 2001 10:01 AM


I've been sucking those fumes for decades. The good stuff too, not that water soluble crap.

#4 BillH May 03, 2001 10:11 AM

Yeh, I've been breathing that crap too, I do think that it could be hazardous, afterall arent you breathing in Lead particles?

#5 Rotten Robbie May 03, 2001 10:39 AM

The hazard with soldering is that tere is LEAD (and TIN) in the fumes. Neither are good for you.

But you should nof have to inhale them. Keep your work area well ventilated and if possible have a draft the carries the fumes away from you.

But if you are only assembling an occaisonal battery pack, you are not in danger.

You are more likely to burn yourself with the soldering iron than getting LEAD POISENING.


#6 Quartz May 03, 2001 10:48 AM

If you head down to radio shack you can get "lead free" solder.

#7 Slope Nut May 03, 2001 11:06 AM

Lead free solder is for the WEAK! http://www.ezonemag.com/disc/smile.gif

Generally you should keep a window open or a fan blowing to either evacuate the fumes or dilute the fumes into the air without breathing them in directly off the iron. I try to keep it out of my face, but its like standing near a campfire....no matter where you stand the smoke seems to follow you.


#8 Spiff May 03, 2001 11:42 AM

The big problem with lead and other heavy metals such as mercury is that your body cannot get rid of it so all intakes are cumulative.

I once worked for an electronics manufacturer and all soldering stations had proper ventilation. Of course, there is a difference between soldering for a living and for hobby. Gentle ventilation for hobby works is good enough. Too much wind will cool the part you're trying to solder http://www.ezonemag.com/disc/smile.gif

#9 fill May 03, 2001 02:16 PM

Hey, I did it for a living for a little while, what doesn't kill you only makes you a better person, the smoke is not from the lead but from the flux

#10 MrBungle May 03, 2001 02:52 PM

Hi all,

I am currently studying Electronic Engineering, which includes doing a class 3, surface mount soldering accreditation module.

Now im no expert at all ( yet http://www.ezonemag.com/disc/wink.gif ) but I believe the dangers of fume inhilation are quite high.
Some of the training video's I had to sit through were quite graphic, showing the effects of long term expusure to these fumes. Ofcourse, the video's were for industrial soldering where the concentration and length of exposure is high, BUT some (not all) flux/rosins do have some known carcinogens....cancer makers, that ANYONE soldering (with those fluxes) will be exposed to.
From what I have learned from my lecturer,
(and I could be wrong) flux's are an acid or will form an acid, to remove the oxide coating on the solder, and surfaces to be soldered, so the solder alloys can flow nicely over the nice new clean metals. Flux fumes, on contact with any liquid in our throat or lungs, can form acids which can cause TEMPORARY Asthma even if you do not normaly suffer Asthma (I have experienced an extreme case of this myself - VERY hard to breathe)
As for the lead in the fumes, this will not happen(im told) if the tip temperature of your iron is less than 900F, or 485C where lead vaporises. You are more at risk of lead intake after you have handled the solder and then eaten a sandwich etc...you _DO_ wash your hands after handling solder dont you??
In the lab room that I am soldering in, there are flexible extractor tubes that can be positioned over our work to suck the fumes, out of our faces.
The best bet is to solder in a well ventilated room, or even better, outdoors, and not have your head over the work.
If you start to notice that breathing is getting harder, or your throat feels a bit tingly (nice technical term there) its time to call it quits for the day, start again tomorrow.

Keep soldering, just leave a few windows open,

[This message has been edited by MrBungle (edited 05-03-2001).]

#11 steve glass May 03, 2001 03:02 PM

I work in electronic manufacturing. All soldering activities have the fumes extracted.
All employees have yearly checks for lead levels and lung-function.
Breathing the fumes can sensitise your body so that further exposure will give asthma symptoms each time.

Always solder in a well ventilated area and wash your hands after


#12 brianchristie May 03, 2001 03:07 PM

Yeah, just keep a fan near by or blow as you solder. Been doin it for many years (the surface-mount stuff too).

I've always used some small fan to keep the air moving across my work to move the fumes outta the way.

It hasn't affected me one %jhg!: qwer*(&)

Ah, what was my name again? Oh yes Brian Christie ;-)

#13 MrBungle May 03, 2001 03:30 PM

Thanks Brian,
you just jogged my memory, I have seen a homemade extractor that I have been meaning to build for some time.
It was just a 120mm 12v computer fan attached to some of that flexible 5" ceiling ducting available at hardware stores, with the exhaust end hung out a nearby window. The fan blew into the duct and was placed close to the work.


#14 Steve McBride May 03, 2001 03:47 PM

If you are vaporizing and inhaling the lead from the solder, your tip is a bit too hot http://www.ezonemag.com/disc/smile.gif

Make sure you have a small fan blowing across the work to keep the smoke from your schnoz and things should be well. Definately don't solder for 8 hours straight every day breating the smoke....

Have a good one guys!


#15 Sparky Paul May 03, 2001 07:18 PM

Considering the vast number of us old guys still around that used all those bad things..
solder, acetone, diesel, glue... These things won't kill you. If they could, they're be a lot more flying time at the local field during the week when us old guys go..
Not to say that some precautions aren't good, but fear.. Naah.. that's just a reaction to some gummint idjit with an agenda pushing his favorite whipping thing because he and only he knows what's best for everyone else!
Like those idiot labels all over ladders.
Golly, ladders are the modern equivalent of the gene-pool cleansing Saber Tooth Tiger! Go pet the nice kitty, and fail to contribute to the gene pool. Stand on the top of a ladder, and fail.... That's nature's way!
Sparky Paul http://www.angelfire.com/indie/aerostuff
PJB's Seriously Aeronautical Stuff http://www.networkone.net/~pjburke/index.html

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