Author Topic: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?  (Read 10054 times)

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Offline Jay112

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Do you only wash your hands after handling parts that you know contain lead?

Do you always wash your hands after handling parts that you know contain lead?

Do you wash your hands after handling a lot of equipment, because most likely there was lead in there somewhere?

Do you wash your hands even if the equipment is RoHS certified?

Do you think some of the (cheaper) products labeled as RoHS certified aren't actually certified?

Is there a history of electrical engineers suffering from lead poisoning, similar to how the hat makers in the past were known to suffer from side effects of mercury poisoning (like the "Mad Hatter")?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 01:21:34 am by Jay112 »
 

Offline Monadnock

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yes, yes, no, no, don't know, not that I've heard.

 I did go for lead testing a few years back and my levels were elevated, although not enough to be a problem.
 

Offline gnavigator1007

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Somewhat ironically, I wash my hands everytime I pull myself away for a cigarette. 
 

Offline bson

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Lead doesn't turn unto vapor until over 1600C, temperatures never reached soldering.
 

Offline made2hack

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Usually when I am done for the day OR, I break for lunch, OR I break for coffee / snacks, OR, I break for the bathroom.

Unless I have used some other type of solution like adhesives, epoxy or am working on a really dusty / dirty equipment. But I also have nitrile gloves handy.

To answer your questions, none of the reasons is that I come in contact with lead solder.
 
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Offline helius

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I wash my hands after handling parts at hamfests because a lot of them are just plain grimy.

Is there a history of electrical engineers suffering from lead poisoning, similar to how the hat makers in the past were known to suffer from side effects of mercury poisoning (like the "Mad Hatter")?
No, absolutely not. Lead metal is poorly absorbed by the body and very unlikely to poison anyone.
What is common with all cases of lead poisoning (from eating paint, leaching from old pipes, etc) is that they are ingesting oxides of lead, which are far more toxic.
 

Online Zero999

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Lead doesn't turn unto vapor until over 1600C, temperatures never reached soldering.
Yes, that is true. Lead doesn't get hot enough during soldering to evaporate. I'd suspect more led is absorbed though the skin when handling lead solder.
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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About the same amount as after any other activities.  You are far more at risk from bacteria, greases, resins, and any number of other things than from the lead.

Lead fear, like radioactivity fear is promulgated by folks who have no idea what numbers are, or how to use them.  Since they don't have this tool the choices become binary.  It is either good, or bad.  Lead which is bad when put into the air by the ton as a byproduct of combusting leaded gasoline, or in paint which might be a problem for anyone who actually eats the paint gets translated into "Lead is bad".
 
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Offline helius

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Lead doesn't turn unto vapor until over 1600C, temperatures never reached soldering.
Yes, that is true. Lead doesn't get hot enough during soldering to evaporate. I'd suspect more led is absorbed though the skin when handling lead solder.
1750C is the boiling point, but what you actually care about is vapor pressure. Over 550C the vapor pressure of lead is substantial. If you use a 750C iron and dwell on joints for a long time it could be a problem, but you will know something is wrong when all your components stop working from overheating.
Lead metal is not absorbed through the skin. Even mercury is very poorly absorbed this way.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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I tend to wash my hands after handling electronics before eating - but it's nothing to do with lead, and more to do with flux residue from soldering.
 

Offline thisguy

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2016, 04:19:28 am »
What is common with all cases of lead poisoning (from eating paint, leaching from old pipes, etc) is that they are ingesting oxides of lead, which are far more toxic.

My hands can be darkened from handling solder to the point that when I wash my hands, the runoff water is slightly discolored. I wonder how much of this is lead oxide. I also wonder how much could be absorbed by inadvertently rubbing my eyes or by eating snacks without washing first. I have no idea if it's a risk, or if it is, how much unwashed eye-rubbing/snack-eating I'd have to do to for it to be a significant risk.

I try to remember to wash my hands after soldering.
 

Offline Tandy

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2016, 04:22:31 am »
I don't care about lead and am mad as a box of frogs as a result.
For more info on Tandy try these links Tandy History EEVBlog Thread & Official Tandy Website
 

Offline Ysjoelfir

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2016, 06:07:09 am »
I wash my hands at random occasions, like... when I feel dirty? :P I don`t care if the parts I handle contain lead (which most of them do as I mostly have vintage stuff around), I even hold the leaded solder with my mouth sometimes... Didn't harm me at all for now..
What really makes me feel like washing my hands is when I work with stuff that is realy dusty or sticky. I hate that.
Greetings, Kai \ Ysjoelfir
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Offline roffvald

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2016, 06:07:29 am »
Usually when I take a bathroom break or a food break. Also use alot of moisturizer lotion as I tend to neglect gloves when slathering stuff up with IPA which dries my hands out.
Not too worried about the lead, more of a habit and to get any flux residue off.
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2016, 06:39:27 am »
sometime i chew the lead but i wash my hand at least 5 times a day... having said that, lead.. err or more precisely solder, is not in my taboo regime... reply to this 5 pages i dont care.. because i proved you wrong so far..
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline Jay112

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2016, 08:32:20 am »
There were so many neat and useful comments on this thread! I just wanted to thank everyone for responding!

Usually I would reply more to a thread I start, but I'm out of my league when there are so many replies by experienced folks.
 

Offline Dave

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2016, 09:41:11 am »
I usually wash my hands after soldering, partly because of lead and mostly because of sticky rosin residue that gets on your fingers one way or another.

I don't feel the need to wash my hands after working with other electronic equipment, because even the used equipment (and I have a lot of it) always gets the scrubby treatment before I'm comfortable working with it. I always tear things down, fix things if they need fixing, wash them piece by piece and reassemble when dry. Last weekend I took on a grimy 33120A, now it looks like a new unit. :-+
<fellbuendel> it's arduino, you're not supposed to know anything about what you're doing
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Offline IanB

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2016, 09:46:39 am »
Do you only wash your hands after handling parts that you know contain lead?

Do you always wash your hands after handling parts that you know contain lead?

Do you wash your hands after handling a lot of equipment, because most likely there was lead in there somewhere?

Do you wash your hands even if the equipment is RoHS certified?

Do you think some of the (cheaper) products labeled as RoHS certified aren't actually certified?

Is there a history of electrical engineers suffering from lead poisoning, similar to how the hat makers in the past were known to suffer from side effects of mercury poisoning (like the "Mad Hatter")?

Lead is not an indicator for washing your hands. What is this crap?

You should wash your hands when they are dirty, before eating, after using the bathroom, and so on. Did your mother teach you nothing?

(By the way, I would be quite happy to suck on a lump of lead. Metallic lead is not actually very harmful.)
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2016, 09:51:56 am »
^^^This^^^^

I remember as kid on fishing trips chewing sinkers all day long when nothing else was biting, did me no harm that I am aware of.   :phew:
 

Offline Circlotron

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2016, 09:55:02 am »
I wash my hands after handling parts at hamfests because a lot of them are just plain grimy.
Yeah, those hams should spend less time in the shack and more time in the shower.  ;D
 

Offline IanB

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2016, 09:56:29 am »
I remember as kid on fishing trips chewing sinkers all day long when nothing else was biting, did me no harm that I am aware of.   :phew:

Yes, we used split shot as fishing weights and the easiest way to close a lead weight around the line was to squeeze it shut between your teeth. Quite harmless.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 
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Offline German_EE

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2016, 05:36:06 pm »
If the equipment was dirty then I clean my hands (and the workbench) afterwards. I also wash after using WD40 as it tends to taint whatever I touch afterwards.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Warren Buffett
 

Offline Psi

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2016, 06:09:46 pm »
I'm always careful when using solder paste, especially when stenciling. That stuff gets all over the place.

I once handled some really old RF transistors and a few had some random powder on them.
It gave me a really bad migraine within 10min. Best theory is that the powder was probably beryllium oxide.

Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2016, 06:48:30 pm »
One of my first jobs involved the installation of antenna masts and prior to the advent of silicone sealants we used a bitumen based product called Ormonoid, black as tar it was and nobody instructed me to use a stick when applying it so I used my hands instead, sticks like shit to a blanket.

Similar can as this.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2016, 06:53:10 pm »
I know guys that use lead-free when they aren't required to for fear of lead.

I know a guy that holds solderwire in his mouth while working.

Me, I wash my fingers and equipment quite frequently, simply because I can't stand my own finger oils. I'm not particularly paranoid about lead. I just try to not touch my eyes or mouth while working and to wash before I eat.
 


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