Author Topic: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?  (Read 10045 times)

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Offline Cerebus

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #50 on: May 23, 2016, 01:18:03 pm »
If you really run your iron hot (550C) you need to pay attention to ventilation and other hygiene practices as the dose could be achieved in under 20 hours of soldering.

Excellent work that man!

The quantities at higher temperatures really surprise me, as being higher than I'd have imagined. And while this poses no practical risk to us with our puny irons and tiny joints I wonder what it means for plumbers with big hot propane or MAPP torches?
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Offline Jay112

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #51 on: May 23, 2016, 01:25:07 pm »
That's a good point about the plumbers. It's interesting that Wikipedia lists plumbing as one of the risky jobs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en/Lead_poisoning
Quote
In addition, lead miners and smelters, plumbers and fitters, auto mechanics, glass manufacturers, construction workers, battery manufacturers and recyclers, firing range instructors, and plastic manufacturers are at risk for lead exposure.[71]

This is an amazing quote from the same paragraph:
Quote
Parents who are exposed to lead in the workplace can bring lead dust home on clothes or skin and expose their children.[78]
 

Offline Mr.B

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #52 on: May 23, 2016, 02:15:11 pm »
That's a good point about the plumbers. It's interesting that Wikipedia lists plumbing as one of the risky jobs:

Most plumbers these days wouldn't know what copper pipe and solder was.
I think they are more at risk from the solvents used in PVC pipe cement than lead...
Time is the overseer of all things.
 

Offline helius

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #53 on: May 23, 2016, 02:20:08 pm »
At higher temperatures (>550C), lead fumes are not the only concern. Many other metals such as nickel and zinc are a health hazard when heated during casting, brazing, or welding operations.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #54 on: May 24, 2016, 03:40:25 am »
That's a good point about the plumbers. It's interesting that Wikipedia lists plumbing as one of the risky jobs:

Most plumbers these days wouldn't know what copper pipe and solder was.
I think they are more at risk from the solvents used in PVC pipe cement than lead...

At this point I'd pass you over, if she was here, to my ex-wife who once worked in the reproductive toxicology research group at ICI who could tell you all the nasty things paint and glue solvents and adjuvants can do to your 'gentleman parts'. Take home point - don't put paint or solvent rags in your trouser pockets.
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Offline edy

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #55 on: May 24, 2016, 04:17:09 am »
What about washing BEFORE handling electronic equipment? I am worried about oil from the skin causing issues, like when they say to use gloves when changing halogen bulbs. Thoughts?
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Offline Cerebus

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #56 on: May 24, 2016, 04:25:35 am »
What about washing BEFORE handling electronic equipment? I am worried about oil from the skin causing issues, like when they say to use gloves when changing halogen bulbs. Thoughts?

It definitely matters if you're dealing with the sensitive high impedance parts on test equipment, hence the plethora of guard rings in electrometers and the like. Washing your hands won't help with these much though as you'll replace the oils on your skin within a few minutes of washing them - careful handing and gloves are the way to go here.
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Offline 3db

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #57 on: May 24, 2016, 05:18:32 pm »
Somewhat ironically, I wash my hands everytime I pull myself away for a cigarette.


Classic  :-DD
 

Offline csmithdoteu

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #58 on: May 24, 2016, 06:23:51 pm »
I wash all the time, before and after. Firstly, the human body is dirty and greasy. Look at a bit of copper clad after I've been using it for 10 minutes:



Secondly, I noticed something a couple of years ago when watching a video of Jim Williams repairing a scope, that he licked the solder before he used it. I'm wondering if that his Alzheimer's was linked to this habit in some way.
 

Offline hibone

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #59 on: May 25, 2016, 09:45:56 am »
Detective Monk's thread I guess.  :-+

If one is not careful enough may end thinking that birth is a fatal illness. No one has ever survived.
 

Offline N2IXK

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #60 on: June 04, 2016, 12:58:02 pm »
Well, life itself is a 100% fatal, sexually transmitted disease, after all.....
"My favorite programming language is...SOLDER!"--Robert A. Pease
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #61 on: June 05, 2016, 11:09:10 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:

Double this.

Same boat here. I used to chew on sinkers and always used my teeth to tighten them into the line.

Not saying I'm not brain damaged, but I don't feel brain damaged. :-)
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2016, 11:12:41 am »
I know a guy that holds solderwire in his mouth while working.

BTDT. Sometimes you need a third hand!
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #63 on: June 05, 2016, 04:32:40 pm »
I would be just a bit careful with solder or solder dust,  while lead is pretty insoluble at room temperature,  the stomach (pH approx 1) I suspect may be quite good at converting it to a lead salt, which may then be soluble (i don't know for sure).
The only study I know has looked at keen builder type Hams and not found elevated blood lead in a semi-random sample.  Erich Heinzle VK5HSE wrote this up in the September quarter of QEX.
The state where I live has a town that smelts (Port Pirie) a significant proportion of the world's lead,  the soil in that town is contaminated and good studies have shown the drop in IQ related to blood lead levels. While the smelter has given many work it has also indirectly maimed many generations.
Lead in soil levels is also raised next to busy roads (residual lead from leaded petrol).
I think a bit of common sense is all that is needed. 
Interesting re the flux vapours,  I have a sneaking suspicion re plasticisers from cable insulation (but no evidence).
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline chris_leyson

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #64 on: June 06, 2016, 09:25:44 am »
To be honest, I would be more worried about Lithiun than Lead. Batteries going into landfill, water table etc.
 

Offline Whales

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #65 on: June 06, 2016, 11:22:23 am »
Hmm.  So far we know:
  • Lead (atleast on its own) is toxic
  • Flux smoke can cause respiratory issues
  • Lead does not evaporate at normal soldering temperatures
  • Electronics & soldering involves hazards other than lead and flux.

We have also found investigations into:

  • Lead exposure from non-soldering professions
  • Hazards other than lead from soldering
  • Effects of lead on people
  • Lists of professions where lead contact is likely

Does anyone know of any investigations into "exposure to lead through soldering" or "exposure to lead through electronics work"?  I'm beginning to believe this has not been investigated/results have not been published.

This source linked by Jay112 has some second-hand information about an investigation in a workplace RE lead exposure in workers due to soldering, concluding they had negligible lead exposure.  Does anyone know where this investigation was done/if there are any more details available?''

Something I have heard IRL and online is that "lead-tin solders are not absorbable in the body".  Does anyone know of evidence relating to this?
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 11:25:39 am by Whales »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #66 on: June 06, 2016, 01:27:28 pm »
The only evidence I have contradicts the statement that solder is not absorbed.  See the following.

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002822.htm

The article suggests that solder will poison you if you do something really stupid - eating large amounts of solder.  This is consistent with the reports of waterfowl being poisoned by eating lead shot, and also consistent with the reports here of biting (but not swallowing) lead sinkers without bad outcomes.

As for specific exposure to lead during soldering you might consider the following - a health examination of an manufacturing operation that runs both wave soldering lines and solder paste heat reflow lines.

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2007-0201-3086.pdf

You can compare it to your own soldering to see if you are concerned, but the CDC did not find anything particularly worrisome in the evaluation.   It is worthy of note that they found lead on the workers hands even after hand washing.  But it is also worth thinking about how lead that can't be removed by handwashing will somehow wipe off onto food and get into your mouth where it might be harmful.

There should be lots more information of this type at the following location

https://www.osha.gov/opengov/healthsamples.html#download




 

Offline Whales

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #67 on: June 06, 2016, 02:29:44 pm »
It is worthy of note that they found lead on the workers hands even after hand washing.  But it is also worth thinking about how lead that can't be removed by handwashing will somehow wipe off onto food and get into your mouth where it might be harmful.

You have a couple of interesting points here.

(1) Do soaps actually remove heavy metals?  I guess if they are embedded in the oily layer of your skin they should, but what if you wash your hands, return to work and wash your hands again?

(2) Even though the lead does not wash off does not mean it will not end up being consumed.  If has to go somewhere and leave the hands somehow, otherwise you would eventually end up with solid metal hands.  Although you suggest the amount of lead that may enter your food may be low, do we know how this looks over a long time period? 
 

Offline Whales

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #68 on: June 06, 2016, 02:38:58 pm »
Thanks for the links Catalina.

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2007-0201-3086.pdf

You can compare it to your own soldering to see if you are concerned, but the CDC did not find anything particularly worrisome in the evaluation.   It is worthy of note that they found lead on the workers hands even after hand washing.  But it is also worth thinking about how lead that can't be removed by handwashing will somehow wipe off onto food and get into your mouth where it might be harmful.

From the above:
Quote
We collected hand wipe samples for lead from 23 MS and 37
DAS employees at lunch and asked whether they had washed
their hands just prior to providing the wipe sample. Seven of
the 60 wipe samples (3 from MS, 4 from DAS) showed a color
change indicating the presence of lead. Three of the four wipe
samples collected from DAS that tested positive for lead were from
employees who had washed their hands prior to sample collection.

This is pretty crappy on the tester's part.  If I had been handling this stuff for years without washing my hands, I probably wouldn't tell them the truth.  Also hand-washing can be anything: a quick one-hand rinse to a five-minute long scrub.   How is everyone even washing their hands?  What are the concentrations needed to change the colour of the test samples?  I wonder how the wipes collected lead if the hand-washing was ineffective.

(Some of these questions may have been answered, I'm only skim reading through the doc ATM.  Apologies if I miss something)

There is also the possibility the lead came from after they washed their hands:
Quote
[...] We also sampled a larger surface area
inch by 12 inch) of the break room tables to ensure that they
were clean and found detectable levels of lead and tin in one of the
break rooms.  [...] 
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 02:42:29 pm by Whales »
 

Online coppice

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #69 on: June 06, 2016, 03:19:04 pm »
This is pretty crappy on the tester's part.  If I had been handling this stuff for years without washing my hands, I probably wouldn't tell them the truth.  Also hand-washing can be anything: a quick one-hand rinse to a five-minute long scrub.   How is everyone even washing their hands?  What are the concentrations needed to change the colour of the test samples?  I wonder how the wipes collected lead if the hand-washing was ineffective.
Copper on the skin makes your skin feel strange, so you know its there. It takes some vigorous washing to eliminate that feeling. I expect most metals are just as hard to thoroughly remove from your skin, but you need lab tests to detect if most of them are present. People who work with radioactive materials carry tags which monitor their exposure. There is nothing similar for people working with a wide variety of toxic materials that are hard to detect visually.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #70 on: June 06, 2016, 04:04:56 pm »
Contact with lead doesn't influence my hand washing.  Handling anything grungy does.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #71 on: June 07, 2016, 04:49:01 am »
The article suggests that solder will poison you if you do something really stupid - eating large amounts of solder.  This is consistent with the reports of waterfowl being poisoned by eating lead shot, and also consistent with the reports here of biting (but not swallowing) lead sinkers without bad outcomes.


We should be careful of comparisons between species. For a start, toxicity mechanisms may be very different at the biochemical level. Secondly, waterfowl are a particularly dangerous comparison. The physical lead shot may be in the system of waterfowl for much longer as they almost certainly deliberately ate them along with small stones to store in their gizzards where they would be used as, effectively, an abrasive to help break food down. The abrasive action would release more lead and the shot would be present over a longer period than that just passing through the digestive system of a mammal.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline helius

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Re: How often do you wash hands after working with electrical equipment?
« Reply #72 on: June 07, 2016, 05:01:45 am »
The lead shot eaten by wildlife are also frequently laying in a wet brackish environment that oxidizes the lead, making it more bioavailable.

Personally lead is way down my list of toxicity concerns in dealing with electronics, after things like cadmium plating, beryllium dust, glass fibers, and contact cleaners. Rather hazardous electronic cleaners like hexane, trichloroethylene, and bromopropane are still sold for the industry.
 


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