Soldering fumes (also known as soldering smoke) are hazardous fumes that are generated from the process of melting down the flux past its boiling point. When the flux is melted down, its state goes from solid - to liquid - to gas (the “Solder Fume”).
Flux is a chemical cleaning agent that is used in conjunction with solder in order to remove oxidation from the base and filler metals involved in soldering. This process improves the overall flow and effectiveness in the merging of the metals.
Colophony, the base product of flux, is translucent, amber-colored rosin that is abstracted when turpentine is distilled from the resin of pine trees. It is composed of roughly 90% resin acid and 10% neutral material. When the flux is heated, colophony generates fumes including, but not limited to, aliphatic aldehydes, hydrochloric acid and other gases containing benzene, toluene, styrene, phenol, chlorophenol, and isopropyl alcohol.
Due to the high risk of worker/operator exposure during soldering, OSHA suggests Ventilation as a key to controlling lead exposures:
"Ventilation, either local or dilution (general), is probably the most important engineering control available to the safety and health professional to maintain airborne concentrations of lead at acceptable levels. Local exhaust ventilation, which includes both portable ventilation systems and shrouded tools supplied with ventilation, is generally the preferred method. If a local exhaust system is properly designed, it will capture and control lead particles at or near the source of generation and transport these particles to a collection system before they can be dispersed into the work environment."
The ESD-Safe solder fume extraction unit is constructed for stationary, benchtop, and portable soldering applications that require the capture and filtration of airborne contaminants at the work surface level. This stainless steel solder sentry offers an effective, quiet & economical solution for many soldering operations which require ESD-safe fume extraction. This system is equipped with an energy-efficient fan and high-quality filtration media: typically HEPA or ASHRAE filtration. These filters are unique in that the primary materials have been constructed from fire-retardant products. HEPA filtration is up to 99.97% efficient on particles 0.3 microns and larger, while ASHRAE filtration is up to 95% on particles 0.5 microns and larger.
The Solder Pot Fume Extractor is designed to capture and purify airborne smoke and particulate emitted during slightly elevated soldering applications, such as solder pot use. This benchtop unit is an effective, quiet, and economical solution for many soldering operations that require a small, energy-efficient footprint.
This recirculating fume extraction system utilizes high-quality filtration media that typically consists of either HEPA or ASHRAE filtration. Sentry Air’s HEPA filters are up to 99.97% efficient on particles 0.3 microns and larger, while ASHRAE filters are up to 95% efficient on particles 0.5 microns and larger. Both filters are uniquely constructed from flame-retardant materials.
Ductless fume hoods, or filtered fume hoods, are self-contained, filtered enclosures that remove hazardous fumes, vapors and particulates from the immediate environment. Typically used in locations where outside ventilation cannot suffice, a ductless fume hood is a necessity to eliminate high percentages of harmful contaminants to protect users, applications and the atmosphere.
There are a few key characteristics that distinguish Ductless Fume Hoods from Conventional Ducted Fume Hoods (that typically vent outdoors):
A ducted fume hood, or ducted exhaust hood, is typically a piece of equipment that encloses five sides of a work area to protect the user from inhaling or being exposed to high volumes of toxic fumes, gases and particulate where typical air filtration and recirculation is not feasible. These hooded systems employ the combination of a powerful fan and multiple pre-filters, HEPA filters and activated carbon filtration to effectively contain harmful over spray particulates and fumes.
The Portable Floor Sentry fume extractor is a safety engineering control used for the capture and filtration of airborne contaminants. This source-capture fume extractor features heavy-duty casters for easy mobility, a flame-retardant and self-supportive flex arm, a small footprint, and high-quality filtration media.
Several filter media options are available for this unit and include: HEPA filtration [up to 99.97% efficient on particles 0.3 microns and larger, ASHRAE filtration [up to 95% efficient on particles 0.5 microns and larger], Activated Carbon, and specialty-blended filter media [i.e. Acid Gas, Mercury, Aldehyde, Ammonia]. The Portable Floor Sentry Fume Extractor allows multiple filter media to be housed inside the filter chamber for applications that emit both particulates and fumes.
Yes. These hazardous fumes often contain many chemicals that can cause immediate and long-term respiratory and skin irritation, including, but not limited to, eye, throat and lung irritation, nose bleeds and headaches.
Weller, a manufacturer of soldering products (among other items), explains that "at least 20% of the employees working in the soldering area show clinical symptoms of asthma caused by the work environment" in studies that have been done on workers mostly in the United States and England in the electronics industry.
WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS LEAD AND MAY CONTAIN OTHER TOXIC METALS OR CHEMICALS. Ingestion or inhalation of fumes or particles released through processing could cause lead poisoning or cancer. Absorption of lead is known to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm and may result for example in damage to the blood and neurological systems. Use only with adequate ventilation. Use NIOSH approved respiratory protection when necessary. Wash thoroughly before eating, drinking or smoking. Not for use in portable water service systems...
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 states that "employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees."  It is the employee’s right to inform the employer of workplace health hazards like poor ventilation during soldering. (The Whistleblower Protection Program protects employees who raise health and safety issues to their employers).
Sentry Air Systems, Inc. provides this information as customer service, but cannot be responsible for its accuracy or completeness. It is recommended that competent legal authorities as well as safety and hygiene professionals be consulted.