Are Soldering Fumes Dangerous?


G’Day, my name is Gary for the youtube channel simple audio tips. Is soldering smoke bad for your health? Is it lead gas, or another toxic substance. Stick around and find out the answer and Get some tips on how you can make soldering a little safer. The solder we use for general soldering projects is made up of a combination of substances- 60% tin, 40% lead and a wetting agent to aid solder flow called flux. Flux is added to help clean the surfaces you are hoping to weld together. (The metal must be clean of impurities or the connection will be poor) To get a better understanding of what makes up the smoke we see lets start with some basics. I don’t claim to be a scientist or chemist but I do remember some basic principles I learned at school, a substance like a liquid starts to give off gas when
it is heated and begins to boil. Your soldering iron is usually set to between 300 and 400 deg C Even though solder made from tin and lead starts to melt at around these temperatures soldering irons are not capable of heating the metals to their boiling point to turn them to gas. Tin boils at 2,603c
Lead boils at 1,750c By far the majority of fumes must be boiling flux, and that is what it is designed to do. as it reacts to applied heat it cleans the surfaces you want to weld together. Is flux smoke harmful if we breath it in? One reference stated that when flux is heated, it releases hydrochloric acid and other gases containing benzene, toluene, styrene, phenol, chlorophenol and isopropyl alcohol. Put simply, its toxic and has a cummlerative effect. As with cigarette smoking, the effects of breathing in solder, or flux smoke may not become apparent for years, unless you develop asthma or bronchitis early. I was working with Cathy on a sound installation in Brisbane and I asked her why SHE was concerned about soldering smoke. It can make you sick and I was already
getting sick and I didn’t want to add to it. So I
really wanna try to look after my health because we are so busy I can’t afford to get sick. Even though the negitive effects of breathing in solder smoke may not become apparent for many years. It is only sensible to do what you can to reduce your exposure by controlling this hazard is some way. There are some great products you can buy to suck up the smoke and filter the air through carbon mats. these cost around 50 – $100 What can you do if your on a budget? I asked Cathy what she has done to reduce the chance of breathing soldering fumes. I bought a little fan. It has got a high and low speed fan it has also got a light which is really handy and helps me see what I’m doing It is battery operated so I don’t have to run around looking for a power point. So its really handy I can set it up however I want. There are so many fans and exhaust systems you can buy or you may even want to jump on the internet and get some ideas on building your own smoke filter. To minimise the risks when soldering: 1- Solder in a well ventilated area to
minimise the risk of inhaling the flux smoke. 2- Protect your eyes from spattering and
Chemicals washing into your eyes 3- Wash your hands well after the project and before you eat to remove any traces of lead from your fingers. By following these simple steps you will reduce the risks working around soldering smoke. But if you encounter breathing difficulty or develop a reaction to handling solder you should immediately talk to your doctor. I will leave some links in the description below this video. I’d like to find out what you have found helpful in reducing the hazard of soldering smoke or if there are some other cheap alternatives to buying expensive filtration devices. Please let us know by typing them in the comments section if you enjoyed our video you like to see
more make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel Until our next audio tip, catch you later. [Bloopers] To minimize the risks of smoking…….. “to minimize the risks of smoking!!” Don’t want to be smoking solder!! that would be the worst thing. So let’s get this right

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