Lead use requires extra care
Ken Sievert of AD's electrical engineering support department safely uses lead solder on a circuit board for a Booster correction power supply.
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Working with lead offers the advantages of malleability, density and resistance to corrosion, but requires extra safety precautions.
At Fermilab, the greatest quantities of lead reside in shielding and target material used as part of experiments. Lead also serves as solder to hold parts together and as an ingredient in some older paints.
The laboratory stresses safe handling of lead materials because of its toxicity. Short-term, high -level exposure can result in symptoms resembling the flu. Long-term exposure can injure the nervous, urinary and reproductive systems. Unsafe lead exposure is an important source of occupational illness and the leading cause of environmental illness in children.
Your goal in handling lead at Fermilab and at home should be to limit contact.
To limit inhalation, control the amount released into the air. Avoid mechanical destruction of lead-containing materials by grinding, cutting, sanding or drilling. Keep soldering temperatures below 800 degrees farenheit, the temperature at which significant amounts of lead fumes can form in the air.
Limit ingestion of lead by keeping hands clean and keeping food and drink out of areas where work with lead occurs. Waste lead, such as soldering splatters, should be collected and disposed of in accordance with your division and section guidelines. Make sure to clean lead work areas at the end of each day using a wet item such as dampened disposable wipes. Wash your hands before leaving the lead work area.
-- Tim Miller, ES&H associate head