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That's nothing. When you work with electronics, you'll regularly inhale the fumes. I know I did, and did it as a child assembling schematics found in hobbyist magazines.

Lead has too much of a molecular weight to generate significant fumes at the soldering temperature. The vapor pressure isn't there. Consider that the boiling point of lead is 1750°C. You'd have to be soldering with a big propane torch to get anywhere near that. (This could be a risk for plumbers, consequently.)

The fumes you're seeing and smelling are from the rosin flux being heated past its smoke point. (Though good for you, not lead).

I'll assume you mean to say "Though _not_ good for you, not lead".

It's worth elaborating just a bit on this: lead free solder might be better for the environment but the increased amount of flux involved is actually really bad for the person doing the soldering. (obviously not quite as applicable to someone operating a wave soldering machine)


That's good to know. I worked as an electronics tech to pay my way through college, and was worried about that. I did have enough sense, though, to make myself a little desk fan out of an electronics cooling fan, and would use that to blow the fumes away from me while I soldered.

I lost the fan years ago, and now just hold my breath when I solder.

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