go_away

Author Topic: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!  (Read 11964 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BEAMerTopic starter

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
  • Helpful? 0
face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« on: April 14, 2009, 08:03:50 AM »
hi,

i generally do a lot of soldering and i am really afraid of the vapours that arise out of the solder and the flux. i feel that i have already inhaled many grams of metal and i dont want to inhale more...!

Are there any face masks available to prevent inhaling solder vapours. or is it enough if i tie a piece of cloth around my nose and mouth while soldering?

BEAMer
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 08:05:39 AM by BEAMer »

Offline SmAsH

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,959
  • Helpful? 75
  • SoR's Locale Electronics Nut.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 08:12:41 AM »
what i do is just get a small fan to blow the fumes away, and dont worry about the fumes, they arent that dangerous. you wont inhale any metal. the lead only turns into vapors at 1300oC. thats just the flux burning off. a piece of cloth could help as a slight filter i suppose but you can purchase those cheap disposable face masks like this one. although i still say a small $2 fan will be better.
Howdy

Offline Asellith

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 648
  • Helpful? 9
  • "I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar"
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 08:53:59 AM »
Fans work the best but if your worried about the lead in the solder the big thing you need to remember is washing your hands after soldering for a while. The lead has more chance of getting on your fingers then into your mouth instead of turning into vapor and being breathed. But a fan and good ventilation is a good thing to have. In other words don't solder in a closet with the door shut.
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 08:55:55 AM »
I use a PC cooling fan running from 12V and blowing AT the area where I solder. That might seem backward to some.

Long ago I tried a fan that sucked air away from my area, and through a carbon filter. It worked poorly unless I was only an inch or two from the fan.

I turned the fan around and set it much further back. It blows lightly across the area where I work. This dissipates the fumes just as well as drawing the smoke the other way. The fumes are NOT lead, just burnt flux. Dissipating them in a good size room is sufficient. If you have allergies or a very small room, it might be good to have a separate filter/fan, or an open window - weather permitting.

Blowing air INTO the immediate work area is the fastest way to move smoke away from your face.

A 12V wall wart will easily power a small PC cooling fan.

The blue arrow in the pic is an indication of air blowing over my work area:
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 09:00:17 AM by GearMotion »

Offline Trumpkin

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,177
  • Helpful? 5
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2009, 08:57:44 AM »
I even built a little stand thing for my fan that would fit on my third hand tool.
Robots are awesome!

Offline SmAsH

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,959
  • Helpful? 75
  • SoR's Locale Electronics Nut.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2009, 08:58:23 AM »
pc fans are very good for this type of thing as you can find them cheap and theyre damn easy to set up. and trumpkin do we get pics?
Howdy

Offline Trumpkin

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,177
  • Helpful? 5
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 09:04:42 AM »
Unfortunately I took it apart, but basically I used a nail, cut off the sharp end hotglued it to the fan and stuck it into one of the alligator clip sockets. Not the best solution because you lose an alligator clip on your third hand tool, but it worked pretty well for me.
Robots are awesome!

Offline SmAsH

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,959
  • Helpful? 75
  • SoR's Locale Electronics Nut.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 09:09:10 AM »
i supposed you could improvise with a small clampish looking thingamabob or just braze it on there?
Howdy

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 09:11:19 AM »
Even a room fan would work. The idea is to lightly influence the air in the area between your soldering and your nose to blow the smoke to the side. Without lightly moving air, the smoke floats right up to your face. A little moving air and the smoke is pushed to the side and away from your face.

Offline SmAsH

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,959
  • Helpful? 75
  • SoR's Locale Electronics Nut.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2009, 09:17:37 AM »
yep, i just use a little 30cm high bench fan and it works great, i dont know what i would do without it. it really is annoying when you get the fumes in your face tho as it just irritates my eyes and gets underneath my goggles. although to make your own go onto instructables and search "fume extractor" it has so many good ideas and tutorials for this kind of thing.
Howdy

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 09:26:25 AM »
I've seen the fume extractors and in my opinion they are more trouble making than they are worth. They are one of the things that people insist be done that way (trying to suck fumes away) when it is simpler and just as effective to blow air lightly against the work surface.

I just add it to my list of things hobbyists and engineers are stuck doing one way because they perceive it as right. Like cleaning a soldering iron with a wet sponge. It took years for the improved way to catch on a little. I've been cleaning my hot iron with brass/copper shavings since... the early 80s.

I hope that helps. Avoid making something when a simpler solution is as effective.


Offline pomprocker

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,430
  • Helpful? 16
  • Sorry miss, I was giving myself an oil-job.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2009, 10:20:56 AM »
hi,

i generally do a lot of soldering and i am really afraid of the vapours that arise out of the solder and the flux. i feel that i have already inhaled many grams of metal and i dont want to inhale more...!

Are there any face masks available to prevent inhaling solder vapours. or is it enough if i tie a piece of cloth around my nose and mouth while soldering?

BEAMer


its not the solder creating the fumes as your not getting it hot enough, its actually only the flux. Depending what kind of flux it is really not that big of a deal. I just use a third hand to hold an old pc fan next to my work powered by my benchtop p/s (old atx p/s) and it sucks away the solder fumes and i never even see them anymore

Offline Admin

  • Administrator
  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,659
  • Helpful? 169
    • Society of Robots
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2009, 11:17:36 AM »
It has not been scientifically proven whether solder fumes are harmful or not, but I'm betting heavy particles will get into your lungs occasionally . . .

I use a benchtop smoke absorber and it works pretty well. The problem with just blowing fumes away is that its still in your room. But of course I do a *lot* of soldering professionally so I'd rather not take any chances.

I recently bought this:
http://www.toolbarn.com/product/weller/WSA350/

I haven't used it yet, but I've used very similar ones and they work really well.


Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2009, 11:47:31 AM »
It has not been scientifically proven whether solder fumes are harmful or not, but I'm betting heavy particles will get into your lungs occasionally . . .

I use a benchtop smoke absorber and it works pretty well. The problem with just blowing fumes away is that its still in your room. But of course I do a *lot* of soldering professionally so I'd rather not take any chances.

The key here is the absorbing filter. With the filter you remove solder smoke from the air, trapping it on the filter.

Without a filter, you move the air around. Sans filter, my point is that is is moving air is more effective "blowing" than "sucking". Easy enough to test: Put a feather in front of a blowing fan and see how far the feather is moved across a flat surface. Turn the fan around and see if the feather is sucked back. No? Halve the distance. Still no? The air put out by the fan has momentum and will travel in a straight line. Air drawn into the fan is drawn in at all angles.

Pushing a volume of air at your smoke will dissipate the smoke better than trying to draw (suck) the air away. Heavy particulates will drop. Carpet under a heavily-used solder station will have lead. That is why I wash my soldering area frequently. I have two additional advantages: 1) large volume of air in my lab. 2) Forced-air filtration (high MERV specification).

All things equal, an unfiltered fan will dissipate fumes better blowing, then trying to suck. If you are in a very small area, filtering the air (carbon activated filter) around you would be better.

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2009, 12:06:21 PM »
Made a separate post here to be distinct from the last "fan" post.

The only time I've heard about dangerous things in solder smoke is a mention of xylene by a solder equipment representative. He mentioned that there are certainly issues with solder baths and solder pots, but MUCH less of an issue with wire solder stations.

And then he told me about a production line with hand-solder assembly and how two of the women soldering got into the habit of straightening the end of their wire solder with their lips. Just like they would do with a thread (wetting the end) before poking it through a needle. He recommended to that company that they get these women tested for heavy metals.

Offline frodo

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 329
  • Helpful? 2
  • BOW DOWN TO MY MIGHTY STARE!!
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2009, 12:22:36 PM »
sorry to interrupt, but about the solder:-

-the lead in it doesn't melt
-the fumes don't give you metal inhalation
and...
-solder these days shouldn't have any lead in them. it should be a tin and copper alloy with a bit of flux
OMG!!!! I AM SUPREME ROBOT!!!

Check out my Web

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2009, 12:32:32 PM »
-the lead in it doesn't melt

The lead doesn't melt? I think you might have intended to say that the lead doesn't vaporize.

The majority of the smoke is the burning flux, and impurities on the soldered surface. And it can in theory carry (few) atoms of lead. But I would say the majority of the smoke is chemicals from flux that are relatively harmless, with some irritating things.

-the fumes don't give you metal inhalation


-solder these days shouldn't have any lead in them. it should be a tin and copper alloy with a bit of flux

I have to disagree with you. You can not say that no solder used (especially privately) doesn't have lead. In non-European areas lead is still allowed in manufacture, and anything goes with a hobbyist.

Offline frodo

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 329
  • Helpful? 2
  • BOW DOWN TO MY MIGHTY STARE!!
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2009, 12:37:39 PM »
-solder these days shouldn't have any lead in them. it should be a tin and copper alloy with a bit of flux

I have to disagree with you. You can not say that no solder used (especially privately) doesn't have lead. In non-European areas lead is still allowed in manufacture, and anything goes with a hobbyist.
[/quote]

I'm not saying that no solder used doesn't have lead and that it isn't still allowed in manafacture but most solders now are meant to be lead free because its more "healthy" for your health. thats what i'm saying.
OMG!!!! I AM SUPREME ROBOT!!!

Check out my Web

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2009, 12:44:05 PM »
I'm not saying that no solder used doesn't have lead and that it isn't still allowed in manafacture but most solders now are meant to be lead free because its more "healthy" for your health. thats what i'm saying.

I would say that it appears to you that most solders from your vantage point in the UK are lead free. But consider Australia, the U.S. and other areas.

Also - Many of the lead-free solders contain metals that themselves are no better than lead (Antimony), and the fluxes in these solders are much more active - hence likely to be carcinogenic.


Offline Metal Slug 2

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 333
  • Helpful? 11
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2009, 02:13:22 PM »
I think only lead-free solders are sold in stores these days in Canada.  Regardless of that, I still have a whole roll of solder with Lead as one of its contents that i still use.  I have a respirator for welding (I got it at Rona for ~$40) which I also use for soldering.  I also just open both my windows and wipe clean my desk when I'm done.  I would go with admin's suggestion of the smoke filter though because as stated before, it rids the air of the smoke instead of circulating it around your workspace (and it doesn't stick to your face like a respirator :P).


Reply to post below: ok, kool.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 02:42:37 PM by Metal Slug 2 »

Offline chelmi

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 496
  • Helpful? 15
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2009, 02:39:16 PM »
I think only lead-free solders are sold in stores these days in Canada.

I bought regular solder (not lead-free) in Ottawa a couple of months ago. And the store carried a good selection of both lead-free and regular solder.

Offline SmAsH

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,959
  • Helpful? 75
  • SoR's Locale Electronics Nut.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2009, 03:37:21 PM »
wait is it bad if i ate small pieces of chocolate off the part of my desk that i solder on? and it shouldnt bother you too much as long as you keep ventilation going ie. open window.
Howdy

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2009, 04:05:15 PM »
wait is it bad if i ate small pieces of chocolate off the part of my desk that i solder on? and it shouldnt bother you too much as long as you keep ventilation going ie. open window.

Avoid food anywhere near soldering. Avoid soldering anywhere near food.

SmAsH: Don't make chocolate-covered solder, even if it does sound tasty to you. :-P

The general idea is to not ingest any heavy metals. A minute amount of lead can transfer from fingers into your mouth if you solder and don't wash your hands before eating. Heavy metals accumulate in your body - I believe that they are not naturally evacuated. Solder smoke can in theory carry fractional bits of lead - an atom here or there - but that precipitates out of the smoke inches away from your soldering effort. The solder smoke itself (burned flux/chemicals) has not been established as dangerous, but there is concern it could contain carcinogens that would get to you if the smoke concentration is heavy enough.

Hobby-level smoke is unlikely to be any more than an irritant if you have allergies. Play it safe, though, and treat soldering the way you would treat changing a diaper. Keep distant from food, wash hands.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 04:08:37 PM by GearMotion »

Offline I Am Blashyrkh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Helpful? 0
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2009, 04:33:46 PM »
I use a PC cooling fan running from 12V and blowing AT the area where I solder. That might seem backward to some.

Long ago I tried a fan that sucked air away from my area, and through a carbon filter. It worked poorly unless I was only an inch or two from the fan.

I turned the fan around and set it much further back. It blows lightly across the area where I work. This dissipates the fumes just as well as drawing the smoke the other way. The fumes are NOT lead, just burnt flux. Dissipating them in a good size room is sufficient. If you have allergies or a very small room, it might be good to have a separate filter/fan, or an open window - weather permitting.

Blowing air INTO the immediate work area is the fastest way to move smoke away from your face.

A 12V wall wart will easily power a small PC cooling fan.

The blue arrow in the pic is an indication of air blowing over my work area:

I am envious of your immaculate work space... *sigh*

Offline BANE

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 639
  • Helpful? 4
  • E=roboticsC^2
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2009, 06:13:17 PM »
I heard if it the solder is lead free and your using some basic flux, having a large room with ceiling fan is fine.  That's what I've always done and my brain functions perfectly fine, or so I think :D

is that ^ true?

Bane

Offline SmAsH

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,959
  • Helpful? 75
  • SoR's Locale Electronics Nut.
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2009, 06:24:31 PM »
Howdy

Offline Soeren

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,672
  • Helpful? 227
  • Mind Reading: 0.0
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2009, 03:50:23 AM »
Hi,

The general idea is to not ingest any heavy metals.
Well, that would be the safe route to kicking the bucket, since we need some of the "heavy metals":
Zinc is used in several enzymatic reactions in the human body.
Vitamin B-12 has a cobalt atom at its core.
Hemoglobin contains iron.
Likewise, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum are all trace elements, which are important in the human diet.
Another subset of metals includes those used therapeutically in medicine; aluminum, bismuth, gold, gallium, lithium, and silver are all part of the medical armamentarium.
All in the correct amounts of course, or they may become poisonous.

We have no use for lead of course, but several factors make it a no/low concern in a hobby setting:
Soldering as a hobby, however strong a hobby, will never be comparable to what an industrial worker sees and for most, will never be a concern at all, fume extractors or not.
Personally, I have never used fume extractors or similar during more than four decades of hobby/pro soldering and quite often I hold the solder with my teeth/lips (not recommendable I guess) and not once during my regular monitorings - in several ways, including endless blood samples, scannings (X-ray/CAT/etc.) - they have found anything relating to lead.

I once (by mistake) got my mouth full of mercury. I spat it out of course, but some will allways enter your stomach in such an act.
Being a bit worried about it, I have talked to several doctors about it, but they have all told me that by ingestion of a heavy metal as mercury, it will pass through the system, since it is not able to "react" (or what the term is) in its metallic form.
When we get mercury poisoning, it is by eg. eating fish that has broken it down to forms that can "react" with our bodies.
I am not sure whether this counts for lead, but I comfort myself with the thought that lead is the closest thing to gold (only difference is one electron in the outer orbit of the atom), which is very non-reactive (although bad for your body in salts etc.)

If you start soldering nonstop for 8 hours a day, every day of the year, you should get protection like fume extraction and probably use something to hold the solder (whether containing lead or the alternative poisonous metals that comes with the unleaded variety) - just in case.


A minute amount of lead can transfer from fingers into your mouth if you solder and don't wash your hands before eating.
If anything, it will more likely be epidermis that takes it in.
Anyway, one should keep his/hers hands from the face unless there's a real need and allways wash hands before and after going to the face. For most people, bacteria and virii will be a far greater concern than lead. See a teenager with heavy acne and in 99% of the cases, it will be because he/she is having the fingers in contact with the face constantly.


Heavy metals accumulate in your body - I believe that they are not naturally evacuated.
If they are reacting, some of them (as mentioned, there are lots and some is needed) will accumulate in the soft tissue, but again, it's the salts and other variants that you are able to take in, not the metallic form.


Solder smoke can in theory carry fractional bits of lead - an atom here or there - but that precipitates out of the smoke inches away from your soldering effort.
You mean 'cause the lead atom is heavier than the fumes and the up-drift?
That's baloney. Any atom in the fumes will carry around throughout the room.


The solder smoke itself (burned flux/chemicals) has not been established as dangerous,
Oh well, as I've heard it throughout the last four decades, it is exactly the smoke that makes the fume extractions mandatory by law in a workplace in an industrial setting. Anything that smoke is potentially bad for your lungs, whatever's in the smoke.


The whole process of shifting to unleaded solder has to be seen in a globally optic and with an eye on the total lifetime of electronics devices; making, using and where it ends after use.
In that scale, lead free solder will probably be a benefit for the planet, if the alternatives won't be just as bad in other ways.
On a personal scale, however, I cant see it will do anything good or bad, except raise the temperatures of your soldering equipment (who said global warming ;D).

To cut a long story short... Chill out folks, you're likely to survive your hobby ;D
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline GearMotion

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • Helpful? 24
  • Two decades+ of Embedded Design
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2009, 07:25:50 AM »
Wow, Soeren. By singling out parts of my post and deliberately refuting things out of context, I read this as a personal attack. Your post comes off as quite rude.

When I say "The general idea is to not ingest any heavy metals." it is in the context of soldering, not in the context of nutritional health. When you argue like this to only give the appearance of being correct, it has a negative effect on your credibility.

Offline Admin

  • Administrator
  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,659
  • Helpful? 169
    • Society of Robots
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2009, 09:03:14 AM »
Hey guys no fighting, keep insults to personal messages! :P

And always be careful with wording on forums/email, things can unintentionally come out as insults without seeing the speakers face. ;D

Offline BEAMerTopic starter

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
  • Helpful? 0
Re: face masks to prevent inhaling soldering vapours!
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2009, 09:23:52 AM »
Thankyou for all the valuable suggestions. I am planning to try out a PC fan. i have a big window near the table where i work. so i guess the smoke should go out. if it doesnt work out, then i have to think abt the fume absorber!!

Thank you ppl.  :)

BEAMer

 


Get Your Ad Here

data_list