Around six months ago, I did some light solder work in my room. I was pretty reckless with the lead solder, and even ate while soldering on several occasions. Should I be worried about the lead exposure? Since soldering in my room, I have vacuumed and wiped down my desk several times. Could small pieces of lead still be present?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Solder tin nowadays doesn't contain lead, but lots of other bad things. It is the solder flux you need to worry about. Many people I know who've worked with professional assembly develop various allergies because of it. Also, when you mess up and burn some connector plastic etc, that's not exactly health food either. And we should not even mention PCB lacquer. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 14 '19 at 13:12

Well, yes lead is unhealthy, and eating while soldering is not smart, but I doubt if it was not for an extensive period it will be ok.

Afaik the smoke is much worse, but it's not really needed to vacuum your room every time.

What I normally do while soldering (which is about once per month or less): open window (ventilation), and using a fan that blows the smoke away from me. I have a thick jacket so I can do it even in the winter (while window is open), and wash my hands afterwards (and not eating in between). Also the fan has a heater so in the winter that's an advantage too. Also make sure you do not inhale the smoke when you are close to your components to solder. In the few cases I accidentally forgot to switch on the fan and you smell the fume, strongly breath out.

However, there are better solution (a device that sucks the smoke instead of blowing it away).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, the fumes are not dangerous. At the temperatures involved with soldering, the resulting density of lead gas is far below the maximum standards. \$\endgroup\$ – WhatRoughBeast Oct 14 '19 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WhatRoughBeast according to e.g. cmu.edu/ehs/Laboratory-Safety/chemical-safety/documents/… , 3th paragraph in the introduction they are dangerous. \$\endgroup\$ – Michel Keijzers Oct 14 '19 at 15:41

It is not expected that occasional soldering activities that take place within areas that are well ventilated or have additional local exhaust ventilation will pose an occupational hazard.

Wash hands and nails. Avoid inhaling smoke trails.

It is the lead oxide dust that evaporates from the liquid solder that can accumulate and migrate to increase long term risk.

A one time light-soldering is relatively benign. https://www.cmu.edu/ehs/Laboratory-Safety/chemical-safety/documents/Lead%20Soldering%20Safety%20Guidelines.pdf

  • \$\begingroup\$ We've had RoHS since 2007 something though. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 14 '19 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ But one can still buy tin-lead solder in the U.S. for electronic kit assembly. \$\endgroup\$ – hotpaw2 Oct 14 '19 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is easier to learn with Sn-Pb due to lower melting temp and reduced oxidation and surface tension of flux. Brush on flux is generally best. \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Oct 14 '19 at 14:29

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