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Soldering safety guidelines always point out the hazards of flesh burns from molten solder and hot soldering gun tips. While this is an important safety aspect, ventilation and an awareness of the toxic nature of some solder compounds is just as crucial. Lead-based solder material is still sold on today's market. It is toxic all by itself, and the smoke and fumes from soldering are also harmful. You should be just as mindful of the lead from solder material as you would be in paint or any other compound. For best results, do not work unless you are in a well-ventilated area or are wearing a NIOSH-approved respirator. Use gloves when handling solder material where possible, and always wash your hands after soldering. Some soldering enthusiasts argue that lead solder is actually safer because of the lower temperatures needed to soften the material, but beware trace elements, residue, and fumes from your work.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|