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Thread: Lead in solder

  1. #1
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    Default Lead in solder

    At the end of a recent XRF survey of a property, the HO asked the XRF tech to test a solder joint on some plumbing work from 2009.

    The result was somewhere around 7200 ppm, or .7%.

    What are the legal limits of lead in solder? What were they in 2009?

    kevin

    p.s. Where's the damn plumbing forum??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/300g-6

    I'm sure the Calif plumbing google can flush out some more for you.
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    Yeah, that matches the .2% limit I'm finding in other sources.

    I wonder what the real implications of the existing solder at .7% are. Not just safety for the HO's kids; but what it means in terms of the material itself- I wouldn't even know where to buy any solder that's not "lead-free", or at least labeled as such. Has anyone ever tested a new coil of "lead-free" solder?

    BTW, where's the damn plumbing forum?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes, and other plumbing materials to 8.0%.
    Some EPA handout.

    quickview:
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q...vf_65IcO3pFC9Q

    download:
    water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/lcr/upload/guidance_lcmr_lead_public_education_cwsbrochnolslb uildings-2.doc


    The plumbing forums are http://www.heatinghelp.com/Forum and http://www.terrylove.com/forums/forum.php


    I still see lead solder around. I think they still it for electronics & stuff.
    Last edited by frenchie; 04-22-2012 at 06:28 PM.
    Francois


    Truth is just one man's explanation for what he thinks he understands. (Walter Mosley)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    IIRC you had one component tested? I'd want to see a bit more than that before jumping off a bridge as well as a water test.

    The plumbers are all in 80/20 detox.
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    The HO pointed the tech to one specific solder joint he suspected (I don't know why, beyond his general dissatisfaction with the plumbers).

    I also asked him to check a brass shut-off in the same area, just out of my own curiosity, which came back at 62,500 ppm, or 6.25% lead. The limit for fittings is 8% generally, although there's a new measure based on the "wettable area" which complicates things. That new standard was not in effect when the valve was installed, in any case, but the .2% solder limit was.

    I wonder how the HO knew that joint was 3.5x the limit? Lucky guess? Or maybe a lot of "lead free" solder is over the .2% limit?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    Was this a service water pipe or hydronic heating pipe? Big difference. You can still find lead solder. It is used for flashing and heating where no potable interaction can take place. One can also find lead coated steel for flashing yet the lead can leach off, run down the roof and contaminate the soil. Generally, solder is antimony and tin. You wont find leaded solder in any box store, not worth the liability. Yes it is still available in rosin core solder for electronics and I can get it at the pro plumbing supply.
    I have used old wheel weights to solder flashing and to fill in cast iron drain pipe repairs. Just a few thoughts.

    Phil
    Last edited by philthegreek; 04-23-2012 at 07:11 PM.
    It's better to try and fail, than fail to try.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    It was on potable water supply. I've soldered roofing flashings with lead, but that was with an iron and a big rod of lead, I can't imagine soldering copper tubing with that kind of stick. Is leaded wire solder available anywhere?

    kevin

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    Quote Originally Posted by kfc510 View Post
    Is leaded wire solder available anywhere?
    kevin
    Still available. Just don't use it on potable water pipes.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CI0BEPMCMAI

    Like you, I also have 50/50 bar solder for flashings
    Last edited by S.Joisey; 04-23-2012 at 06:11 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    Quote Originally Posted by S.Joisey View Post
    Still available. Just don't use it on potable water pipes.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CI0BEPMCMAI

    Like you, I also have 50/50 bar solder for flashings
    That's 50/50. I wonder what solder product would give a .7% test result. I wouldn't be surprised if it's off the shelf "lead-free" solder. Next time there's an XRF gun around I'd like to test a fresh coil.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lead in solder

    Quote Originally Posted by kfc510 View Post
    ...wouldn't be surprised if it's off the shelf "lead-free" solder.
    Feel the Flux, young pipe walker. aka another way to get lead free up just a smidgen.
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

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