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Lead Bearing Solder is Banned

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CuP Alloys 108/11/2018 13:46:24
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192 forum posts

Article 67 of REACH shows that legislation has been passed banning the sale of any lead bearing materials to the general public. This includes soft solder.. The maximum allowable content of lead is 0.3%. Above this figure, all such materials are regarded as TOXIC

As far as I am aware, very little effort has been made to advertise this legislation. The onus is on individual companies to keep abreast with such legislation via government websites.

I have it on very good authority that the H&S Executive working in tandem with the Trading Standards Authority have tried to enforce this legisation.

I repeat, the legislation, only applies to the general public. It does not apply to any professional organization or company. I believe the argument is that any tradesman is not at risk but the man in the street is. The former knows what he is doing- the latter doesn't.

During a visit from the authorities, it was pointed out that far greater quantities of lead bearing solders are readily available on the High Street to the general public, from several warehouses, merchants and manufacturers. The investigating team was directed to these outlets.

They were not aware of this situation! They left to visit one source immediately.

Because, they do not want to be seen as discriminating against small companies, they have held off any legal action until until they can bring all outlets into line - a logistical nightmare!

So, it is coming.

CuP Alloys are already investigating other alloys that offer similar soldering characteristics in order to meet any demand from the model engineer.

It is not illegal to use lead bearing solder. The law prevents it from being sold or placed on the market - that means sampled or given away. It is very similar to the legislation forbidding the sale of cadmium bearing silver solders. After all, it emanates from the same European capital.

Where will it end? Free cutting phosphor bronze and mild steel are in their sights!

There will be no further comment from me!

Keith

Brian Oldford08/11/2018 14:22:50
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547 forum posts
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Interestingly, wasn't there a problem with laptop PCs from Toshiba and HP that had low/no lead solder used for one of the power regulation chips?

Apparently the solder used was far more brittle and would fracture due to the heat cycling. When resoldered with pucca lead bearing solder the problem went away.

Edited By Brian Oldford on 08/11/2018 14:23:11

Brian Sweeting08/11/2018 14:26:12
368 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks for that. I was interested to see that you receive visits from the powers that be.

I used to work with refrigerants, before retirement, and those in the trade were annoyed, and still are, at the complete lack of anyone from the Environment agencies showing any interest in getting people/firms complying with current legislation.

Anyway, rant over.

JohnF08/11/2018 14:31:37
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852 forum posts
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I repeat, the legislation, only applies to the general public. It does not apply to any professional organization or company. I believe the argument is that any tradesman is not at risk but the man in the street is. The former knows what he is doing- the latter doesn't.

 

 I also wonder how much of the UK housing stock is still on lead pipes -- for sure many of the older properties in our village are still on lead.

Better stock up before its too late ??

Edited By JasonB on 08/11/2018 15:03:59

JasonB08/11/2018 15:04:52
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16048 forum posts
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Please keep posts to the practical implications and leave the politics out.

Russell Eberhardt08/11/2018 15:21:57
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2476 forum posts
85 photos
Posted by CuP Alloys 1 on 08/11/2018 13:46:24:

It is not illegal to use lead bearing solder. The law prevents it from being sold or placed on the market - that means sampled or given away. It is very similar to the legislation forbidding the sale of cadmium bearing silver solders. After all, it emanates from the same European capital.

I wonder if this is really true or if it is mis-interpretation by the HSE. Lead bearing solder is still on sale here in France in DIY outlets, both 60/40 and 50/50 alloy. Here is an example sold under a well known brand name:

solder.jpg

Russell

XD 35108/11/2018 15:23:07
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1314 forum posts
111 photos

As model engineers how much do we really rely on lead solder ? I know i still use it for electronics work but for copper pipe i use silver solder ,some may still use it for sheet metal work etc .

Speedy Builder508/11/2018 15:36:35
1801 forum posts
127 photos

Better buy your lead flashing before its banned then.

KWIL08/11/2018 16:26:33
3111 forum posts
56 photos

You can always import it from overseas (USA?)

Howard Lewis08/11/2018 16:34:19
2217 forum posts
2 photos

More likely that Russell will have the start of a thriving export business! (But hope that he is not based in Brussels!)

Howard

not done it yet08/11/2018 16:43:00
3247 forum posts
11 photos

Won’t be long before they apply some new extension to ban the sale of lead/acid batteries to Joe Public, I suppose? Open lead terminals and filled with sulphuric acid!

Michael Gilligan08/11/2018 16:55:41
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13824 forum posts
603 photos
Posted by CuP Alloys 1 on 08/11/2018 13:46:24:

Where will it end? Free cutting phosphor bronze and mild steel are in their sights!

.

... and, presumably, 'hard leaded engraving brass' as used for clock wheels, etc. surprise

MichaelG.

.

https://www.smithmetal.com/pdf/copper-brass-bronze/brass-alloys/cz120.pdf

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 08/11/2018 17:00:52

Robert Atkinson 208/11/2018 17:14:45
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344 forum posts
21 photos

I can assure you thet REACH and COSHH DO apply to tradesman and companies. actually to a greater extent. The Aerospace industries are facing a potiential crisis over hexavalent chromium. This is banned but aerospace have been working under a wavier that was not ratified and could be cancelled It expires soon anyway. Hexavalent chromium includes chromic acid which is used in many anti-corrosion surface treatments for light alloys (Alochrom etc). There is no approved alternative for many application and some non-european aircraft manufactures seem to have little interest in approving any alternative.

Robert.

Neil Wyatt08/11/2018 17:20:25
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 08/11/2018 16:55:41:
Posted by CuP Alloys 1 on 08/11/2018 13:46:24:

Where will it end? Free cutting phosphor bronze and mild steel are in their sights!

.

... and, presumably, 'hard leaded engraving brass' as used for clock wheels, etc. surprise

MichaelG.

.

**LINK**

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 08/11/2018 17:00:52

If you follow your link, it's no more than 2.5% Pb...

<edit> Leaded mild steel is even less, it's likely neither is affected by the legislation.

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 08/11/2018 17:23:06

Michael Gilligan08/11/2018 17:27:25
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13824 forum posts
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 08/11/2018 17:20:25:

If you follow your link, it's no more than 2.5% Pb...

.

dont know

Please Sir ... Is 2.5 less than 0.3 question

Muzzer08/11/2018 17:32:43
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2904 forum posts
448 photos

Pretty much 100% of automotive and consumer electronics are built using lead free solder today. There are no issues with it unless you would have had problems with leaded solder anyway due to poor process control. If there were issues still, you'd be able to look out of the window right now and see thousands of cars careering to a stop, your phones and computers wouldn't work and you'd have no telly to watch. You probably won't believe me when I tell you that a typical car these days has over 50 microcontrollers in it - and something like an S Class will have "quite a few" more. Think of how many solder joints there will be, all of them lead free....

Thermal cycling certainly isn't an issue with modern solder. The default lead free solder is SAC305, so called because it contains 3% silver and 0.5% copper, the rest is tin. There are enhanced versions such as "Innolot" which are optimised for high temperature operation with extra thermal cycling - I've used this on turbocharger actuators that have to withstand continuous operation at 180C with operation down to -40C, including validation testing alongside std SAC305 parts. No problem with it at all.

AFAIK it's actually illegal to use leaded solder on potable water joints in the UK and has been for some years. That doesn't stop you using it on central heating pipework where it's easier to get a sound joint on large diameter pipes. Illegal if you are a tradesman that is. They won't come and march you away if you are dumb enough to continue using leaded solder in your own house plumbing when there are good alternatives.

Murray

David Jupp08/11/2018 17:33:16
691 forum posts
17 photos

Article 67 of REACH places a general restriction on substances listed in Annex XVII - looking at that annex I can see a specific restriction relating to Lead in jewellery and in articles that might be reasonably expected to be placed in the mouths of children. There is quite extensive guidance available

Lead is restricted under RoHS, for Electrical & Electronic Equipment - which is most likely where the restriction on solder comes from.

Like many EU regulations, there tends to be a lot of panic, with very little checking what the regs actually say.

Can anyone point me to the specific part of the directive or annexes that puts this ban in place?

Bazyle08/11/2018 17:41:45
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4687 forum posts
186 photos

Russell, what is the French name for Yorkshire fittings?

If they ban copper plumbing the alternative is plastic - can't have that, so back to the old Roman hypocaust. Can't use clay pipes as that would produce too much CO2 in firing the clay so maybe I can set up a wooden pipe boring factory, water powered of course.

Muzzer08/11/2018 17:50:14
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2904 forum posts
448 photos
Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 08/11/2018 17:14:45:

I can assure you thet REACH and COSHH DO apply to tradesman and companies. actually to a greater extent. The Aerospace industries are facing a potiential crisis over hexavalent chromium. This is banned but aerospace have been working under a wavier that was not ratified and could be cancelled It expires soon anyway. Hexavalent chromium includes chromic acid which is used in many anti-corrosion surface treatments for light alloys (Alochrom etc). There is no approved alternative for many application and some non-european aircraft manufactures seem to have little interest in approving any alternative.

Robert.

Hexavalent chrome has been banned from automotive products for some time now and there are plenty of adequate alternatives for the various applications. I suspect you are right that there is no (or insufficient) interest in (finding) an alternative. Perhaps that is why legislation is often required and not just implemented willy nilly.

Murray

Robert Atkinson 208/11/2018 17:57:33
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344 forum posts
21 photos
Posted by Muzzer on 08/11/2018 17:32:43:

Pretty much 100% of automotive and consumer electronics are built using lead free solder today. There are no issues with it unless you would have had problems with leaded solder anyway due to poor process control. If there were issues still, you'd be able to look out of the window right now and see thousands of cars careering to a stop, your phones and computers wouldn't work and you'd have no telly to watch. You probably won't believe me when I tell you that a typical car these days has over 50 microcontrollers in it - and something like an S Class will have "quite a few" more. Think of how many solder joints there will be, all of them lead free....

Thermal cycling certainly isn't an issue with modern solder. The default lead free solder is SAC305, so called because it contains 3% silver and 0.5% copper, the rest is tin. There are enhanced versions such as "Innolot" which are optimised for high temperature operation with extra thermal cycling - I've used this on turbocharger actuators that have to withstand continuous operation at 180C with operation down to -40C, including validation testing alongside std SAC305 parts. No problem with it at all.

AFAIK it's actually illegal to use leaded solder on potable water joints in the UK and has been for some years. That doesn't stop you using it on central heating pipework where it's easier to get a sound joint on large diameter pipes. Illegal if you are a tradesman that is. They won't come and march you away if you are dumb enough to continue using leaded solder in your own house plumbing when there are good alternatives.

Murray

The problem with lead free solder is tin whisker (crystal) growth that causes short circuits. Google it if you want to know more. There are exemptions for the use of leaded solder on high reliability applicatioons these include aerospace some network equipment and automotive. The automotive exemption is good until 2023 but Ive no information of who is or isn't taking advantage of it.

http://www.indium.com/blog/elv-2014-high-lead-pb-in-automotive-electronics-is-good-until-at-least-2023.php

The cynic in me says consumer equipment makers love tin whiskers because they take longer than the warranty period to grow.

Robert.

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