The A-Z Guide to Soldering Fumes’ Health Effects (Updated %currentyear%)

Generally, you need to use soldering for joining metals with each other, for electrical connection, and much more work. While you are soldering a metal, it can produce fumes. Now the question is, are soldering fumes dangerous?

Yes, these fumes can cause harm to your health. Soldering fumes can cause serious health problems like digestion, unbearable pain in joints and muscles, and breathing complications. To protect yourself from these dangers, you must be aware of your health issues.

In this article, I am going to inform you about soldering fume’s health effects and their poisoning symptoms. On the other hand, from this article, you will know how to protect yourself from the danger of fumes.

So, let’s start.

What is soldering fumes?

Soldering fumes are the combination of gases from solder flux, metal vapors, and the fragment of metals produced by the burning and influence of soldering. It can cause problems by releasing fume extraction in the air for those who have occupational asthma.

Are soldering fumes dangerous?

Unquestionably it is dangerous for health. It can cause various health issues, including irritation, occupational asthma, memory and concentration problems. Besides these problems, it also results in indigestion problems and many more chronic health effects.

Metal vapors are toxic to human beings. An operator may face significant occupational health hazards.

So you have to keep yourself safe from these dangers. Now, let’s explore more health issues caused by soldering fumes.

What health effects can you face?

We have already mentioned some health effects. But health effects indeed depend on the types of metal you are using. Heavy metals that are used in the work of soldering affect the operator.

Here are some common problems that you can face.

  • You can face the problem of inhaling your breath. When you inhale the smoke produced by the soldering metal, then it can affect you enormously. After a time, you will face a severe problem inhaling your breath.
  • Your nervous system can be anxious. Your neurons will face difficulties in transmitting the signal to different parts of your body.
  • Sometimes the workers feel nausea. And vomiting can happen. After the situation, the worker may face a depressing moment. 
  • Most of the operators seriously face asthma trouble. According to a survey, the major problem faced by a soldering operator is occupational asthma.
  • Irritation of eyes and nose is an ordinary matter. Irritation of the eyes and nose can lead to painful reactions.
  • In some cases, operators face skin diseases.
  • Headache is another common problem. Most of the operators face this problem. It is a harrowing and disgusting matter.
  • After working withheavy metal vapors, you may feel chest pain. You can’t ignore this problem as a soldering operator.
  • Chronic bronchitis is another common issue.
  • Ingestion problems are an everyday matter in soldering work. You will not be able to take food in familiar ways. You must face difficulties.
  • Metal fume fever is another toxic effect. There are many fume fever symptoms including coughing, vomiting, headache, etc. 

Besides the problems mentioned above, you may face other difficulties depending on your soldering metal and produced gases. However, it is time to explore solder fumes poisoning symptoms.


More about solder fumes poisoning symptoms

When an operator inhales smoke produced by soldering work, he may feel various poisoning symptoms. Here are the common signs listed.

  1. Cough with wheezing
  2. The operator may face unbearable pain and tightness in the chest.
  3. Dizziness
  4. Chills congestion
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Aches and pain in the joints of the body.
  7. Nausea
  8. Headache
  9. Nervousness
  10. Insomnia

However, we suggest you take the necessary steps when you face such kinds of symptoms.

More about solder fumes poisoning symptoms

Can soldering cause cancer?

Soldering smoke causes various types of difficulties. But here is a question, “Can soldering cause cancer?” The answer is yes, it can.

According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, soldering can cause cancer! It can occur when an operator works on a dusted surface.

Soldering without proper protection can be a cause of cancer. But you can prevent it very quickly by taking the necessary steps you need.

Is soldering indoors safe?

The question is easy to raise: is soldering indoors safe? But the answer is not easy at all because we can’t explain it in a sentence. However, If you have the power supply in your industry, it is easy to do indoors.

Hence, never forget to take necessary safety pieces of equipment while soldering indoors. Most interestingly, the majority of people do this job indoors.

For your protection, you can make additional safety regulations. Keep your window open so that the fumes can blow out. Pull the air away when you want to use a fan indoors.

The actual matter is if you are aware, then you can use it indoors, in-home, in the factory, in the shop, almost everywhere. But if you do not maintain safety tips, then it will create danger anywhere.

What are the toxic effects of metals used in soldering on human health?

In soldering, the following metals are primarily used.

  • Tin
  • Aluminum
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Iron, etc.

Let’s explore more about these metals’ toxic effects on the human body.

Copper is a metal that is responsible for various unhealthy effects on the human body. Because of ingestion, multiple difficulties may occur in the human body. The tests include headache, metal fume fever, pain in joints, etc.

Lead is another toxic metal for health. It will cause various health crises such as digestion problems, concentration problems, kidneys, and blood.

Iron is essential for the human body. But when you ingest too much iron, it may work as a toxic material. You may face pneumoconiosis and other health effects.

Silver is one of the essential elements in the sector of soldering. But if you do not follow the safety rules while soldering, it may lead you to danger. In most cases, it is going to be the problem of throat irritation.

However, you can’t find a material that hasn’t toxic effects on the human body. Most interestingly, you can prevent these harmful health issues by taking some necessary steps. So, let’s talk about these steps.

Effective strategies to protect yourself against soldering fumes

It is vital to keep yourself protected from any kind of danger produced by the soldering fumes. As a worker or operator, you must have sufficient knowledge of it. If you haven’t, you may face a situation that you never expected.

Here are some crucial rules and regulations which will help you to keep yourself protected.

protecting yourself from soldering fumes

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1. Use a fume extraction system

It is an essential requirement for your safety. The soldering fume evacuator consists of a small fan and carbon paper.

The extraction system will help you to extract the toxic fumes. Moreover, it will help you to prevent inhaling poisonous fumes. So never hesitate to use a fume extraction system.

2. Maintain safe body positioning when soldering

Positioning is another crucial step. You have to position your body in the safe zone. It will help you to make yourself protected from deadly fumes. Try to keep enough distance between the soldering metals and your face. You will do it to avoid inhalation of fumes.

3. Follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions

You have to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturers. Try to read the instructions before starting the soldering work. It will help you to keep yourself protected from any kind of danger.  Besides, you will be able to understand the proper ways of the work.

4. Ensure adequate ventilation in soldering areas

If you do the soldering work indoors, then you have to maintain proper ventilation. In your industry, home, or shop, adequate ventilation is required. It will help you to make sure that you are out of danger.

5. Work on a clean and contaminant-free surface

You have to work on a surface that is clean and free from contaminated materials.  If you become aware of a cleaning surface, then you will get hygienic soldering. For this purpose, you must remove polluted materials from the work surface.

6. Avoid inhaling the fumes

Keep in mind very firmly that you have to avoid ingesting or inhaling any kinds of fumes or gases. When you can do this, it means you are protected from all sorts of hazardous materials.

7. Wear personal protective equipment

You should use personal protective equipment like cotton dresses, safety shoes, protection glasses, goggles, masks, heatproof gloves, etc., to ensure your protection. Proper protection indeed will help you to be safe. So never forget to use protective equipment.

8. Use less toxic soldering materials

You can also remove the toxic sources. I have already mentioned that almost all metals produce poisonous fumes. But if you can compare among the metals and find out the less harmful germs, then use it.

However, You have to maintain safety as mentioned above, if you want to keep yourself protected from danger.


Verdict

Soldering smoke is harmful to human health. So as a worker or operator, you must be aware of this.

I hope you have a clear idea now on the soldering smoke health effects and health hazards of this smoke. Moreover, you got almost all the safety tips by which you can keep yourself protected.

Though this soldering work has various health hazards, proper protection can make it easier for you. So maintain the safety tips and be well being.

Good luck!

Sources

  • https://www.hse.gov.uk/lung-disease/electronics-soldering.html
  • https://www.airbench.com/latest/health-risks-associated-with-exposure-to-solder-fumes/
  • https://blink.ucsd.edu/safety/occupational/hazard-control/lead-soldering.html
  • https://ipsystemsusa.com/the-hazards-health-effects-of-solder-fumes/
  • https://www.sentryair.com/blog/industry-applications/electronics-technology/the-hazards-of-solder-fumes/
  • https://www.vodex.co.uk/blog/the-dangers-of-solder-fume/
  • https://ipsystemsusa.com/ways-to-protect-yourself-from-toxic-fumes/