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I solder about once or twice a week, and I use leaded, rosin-core solder from RadioShack(bought it before they went under). I do notice that their are flux fumes rising from the board when I solder something on, and I am aware that they can cause some short-term and long-term health effects determined by the frequency of inhalation.

My Question: Is a simple fan enough to blow the fumes away from my nose or should I invest money in a soldering fume extractor?

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The fan will blow the fumes away , but where to? .Open window is good but otherwise the Volatile organic compounds Adsorb into fabrics only to be released later when the sun comes out .Fume extraction is of course best.

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Go with a fume extractor. A fan will just blow around the fumes, but they are still in the air and you can still breathe them in. The fume extractor sucks the smoke and fumes in while you are soldering and runs it through a filter, removing the fumes and harmful chemicals from the air itself. Since there are so many health concerns with inhaling fumes and smoke from soldering, it really is in your best interest to invest in a fume extractor or smoke absorber of some sort. I searched and found some very affordable smoke absorbers and fume extractors here that start at $60 or so. Not bad when you think of how much it is helping your health.

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