Safely Handling Solder

Solders may be used by the artist for many different applications, such as jewelry and stained glass operations.  Solders may be used by the multi-media artist in electronic installations.   Certain solders may contain heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, tin, and antimony.  Additionally, rosin core solders are manufactured out of pine sap. 
Solders may present inhalation and ingestion hazards to the artists.  The use of solders made out of heavy metals may cause the artist to be exposed to metal solder fumes, in particular, lead oxide.  The use of rosin core solder may produce colyphony, which may be a lung irritant.  The artist should strive to perform any soldering activities in well ventilated areas.  Additionally, when using metal solders, the artist should be sure to thoroughly wash their hands when finished with the activity to prevent accidental ingestion of any metals.  Finally, because of the high temperatures required to make the solder melt, the artist should be careful to avoid physical handling any of the heated elements of the soldering iron. 

Heavy metal solders, most notably lead based solders, may be considered hazardous wastes and must be properly disposed of.  This includes any scrap or unused solder.  An SDS must be kept for each different type of solder used in the studio.  The material must be placed in a properly labeled container with the name of the material clearly written on a hazardous waste label.  Waste material will need to be disposed of properly through EH&S through the chemical/hazardous waste pickup form.  Please refer to our hazardous waste guidelines, the 5Ls, for further guidance.   If you have specific questions as to how to dispose of your dye materials, please consult your Safety Coordinator or Environmental Health & Safety at x4-8749.