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Old 10th Sep 2023, 9:46 pm   #1
yestertech
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Default Concern over solder fumes?

Working as one does with leaded solder, I have recently given more thought to the fumes produced while soldering.
Has it been proven whether these could cause any lasting damage. It's probably 50 or more years too late, but would it be sensible to invest in a fume extractor and if so, can anyone recommend a suitable model ?

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Old 10th Sep 2023, 10:01 pm   #2
chriswood1900
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Default Re: concern over solder fumes ?

My understanding is that most of the risk is from the flux and much less so from the solder.
See the following for more info. https://www.hse.gov.uk/lung-disease/...-soldering.htm
Lead it’s dust and fumes are considered hazardous when doing lead work such as in roofing and plumbing but the quantities in electrical work outside of flow soldering it is quite low.
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 11:43 pm   #3
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Default Re: concern over solder fumes ?

Yep the flux contains colophony, derived from pine resin, and this is what causes problems for some people who are particularly susceptible to it. I do try to keep well away from the fumes on the odd occasion I've needed to fire up the 100W beast though! You can smell something different to the fumes with that sort of bit temperature (I once lit a cigarette with the 100W iron to prove a point) so best to be careful on the lead front... anythings better than lead free solder though!
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 12:13 am   #4
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: concern over solder fumes ?

I think there's reason to be concerned about the fumes, and also, I find them very disagreeable.

This subject has been discussed previously, and I seem to recall suggestions that good extractors are expensive.

My DIY efforts have lead me to the conclusion that sucking fumes away is much harder than blowing them away. Blowing them away from the workbench can be done well with just a small, cheap desk-fan (I have one which is about 8" dia.). The fumes are not absorbed on anything, but are dispersed around the room, which makes them more acceptable, especially if the door is open, and that you are not busy soldering all day, every day (i.e. like a workplace).

B
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 5:20 pm   #5
Wellertcp
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

Having moved recently, and am now setting-up my workshop, I am also looking more closely at a (cheap!) way of dealing with solder fumes.
In previous workshops, I've always managed to get an air path to draw fumes away; open doors/windows, draughty lofts/garages, etc.

However, my current setup, is a small spare room, and due to room layout, soldering can only be done in the far corner, away from windows and doors. (I wont bore you all with the hows and whys of the room layout...)

I've attached a doc, which may be of interest, found on the net.

Bazz's idea of blowing the fumes away is an interesting one. I have thought of an extract fan (pita though) and really a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut.

I see the guy on the retro workshop uses one of those fans with a filter attached; the fan draws the fumes away from the work, and (hopefully) catches the nasties in the filter media.
They look quite expensive for what they are, and how effective are they, or just a gimmick. Anyone have one?

Ofcourse, I'm just talking home workshop, or maybe cottage industry. Professional workspaces are designed appropriately, as indeed mine was.

And as I find older solder far more effective that modern; I'm still using solder by Rapid (lovely stuff!) Billiton and good old Multicore. It's much more 'smokey'

Modern solders, even lead-based ones are a poor alternative, as the flux is just rubbish.

The doc attached covers this, interestingly.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Solder_Fume_Control.pdf (252.2 KB, 35 views)

Last edited by Wellertcp; 11th Sep 2023 at 5:29 pm. Reason: Addition
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 6:00 pm   #6
DrStrangelove
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

There's John Ward's solder fume filter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdrFsuAcm48

I use one of those Maplin el cheapo special chinese manufactured "carbon filter" in front of a muffin fan wonders on the odd occasion I can be bothered to get it out.

Bought a shedload of those for the lab: they don't do much other than tick a box on the H&S thing.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 6:01 pm   #7
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

I wonder if anyone has tried to do a filter using the cheap activated charcoal filter pads intended for recirculating type cooker hoods??

They are cheap enough that you could replace them every few weeks.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 7:32 pm   #8
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

I agree a simple desk fan is likely to be the best solution for most people unless they spend all day every day soldering. Once the fumes are dispersed the risks are very low.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 9:26 pm   #9
The Philpott
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

Actually, having smelt rosin solder fumes from a very early age..it's not something I'm willing to give up unless forced to by an allergy. I'd even put it in the same category as Castrol R and cap gun smoke. (Tastes differ)

Occasionally I'll use a rogue piece of solder out of the oddments tray and get a whiff of ancient solder- and that, for some reason, is different and not as pleasant.

Dave
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 10:02 pm   #10
MIKEG4IIA
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

With you all the way there. I find modern solder does not have the same sensory effect as the old Eresin Multicore. Been using Pb/Sn solder for so many years and it's not affected me much..........as know far as I, dribble dribble.....oh dear!
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 11:56 pm   #11
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Actually, having smelt rosin solder fumes from a very early age..it's not something i'm willing to give up unless forced to by an allergy. I'd even put it in the same category as Castrol R and cap gun smoke. (Tastes differ)

Dave
There was a time when I would have agreed with those sentiments, but I think it is just age that now makes me like to avoid solder fumes coming near my nose/eyes. On my growing 'defect list', I've now had to add deficient tear ducts .

B
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 6:54 am   #12
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

Interesting discussion, and I was rather amused by the extremes some go to, like the Retro Workshop guy (you reading Rob?). It is not something I have ever worried about. I have suffered all my life with rhinitis issues but don't think solder flux fumes ever caused me any problems with that. For most of us soldering is a very intermittent thing, a few joints a day at most unless you are building a kit - or trying to solder self tinning wire? A bit of natural ventilation is all that is necessary and don't purposely breath it in.

74 years strong with countless non leadfree joints to show for it.

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Old 12th Sep 2023, 9:38 am   #13
kalee20
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yestertech View Post
Working as one does with leaded solder, I have recently given more thought to the fumes produced while soldering.
Has it been proven whether these could cause any lasting damage.
The fumes from the flux are the hazard, not the lead content of the solder. I have found that breathing in the fumes causes slight asthma-like symptoms, so I avoid!

The concern over the lead isn't to the user during manufacture - it's to the environment, and pollution of water sources, at end-of-life when dumped in landfill. Having said that, at work we do ask our workers to let us know if they are pregnant, so that we can give them jobs which don't involve handling or using leaded solder.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 9:57 am   #14
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

My colleague has built an extractor unit as in post #6 link and has the big box under the bench with the nozzle near his work.

I've never really felt needed one myself, though I do have one of those square blue ones for when I want it, which I admit isn't often. Luckily I don't suffer from repiratory problems - it would be a different story if I did. A reasonably well-ventilated workshop does for me.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 11:03 am   #15
DrStrangelove
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

The thing about the colophony allergy is the potential for asthma.

And once you've got it you've got it for good.

https://www.hse.gov.uk/asthma/solderers.htm

I love the idea of "a soldering booth".

I must make one.

But I'd have to get a round tuit first.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 7:25 pm   #16
akuram1
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

I always thought the smell or fumes from solder very nice. Never did me any harm as you usually only made a few joints at a time. Perhaps it was masked by the smoke from our cigarettes. Both went well together.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 7:39 pm   #17
Wellertcp
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Default Re: Concern over solder fumes?

Haha, yes, I have to agree! Most workshops were a smog-zone; what with the fumes from soldering, and most engineers were smokers.
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