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My house has Lead Solder on One of the Pipes

  1. Sep 22, 2006 #1
    Some time in the past my father took it upon himself to due a little plumbing. He decided that it was okay to use solder that contained lead to connect two pipes right near the output of the water heater. His reasoning was that we would not get lead poisoning because we could always use cold water for cooking and drinking and also because one joint would not cause all that much lead in the first place.

    My parents say they only use cold water for cooking, but they are careless and regularly use warm water by mistake. My other concern was showering. Shower steam would appear to be another route of possible ingestion.

    Does this solder pose a hazard?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2006 #2

    Moonbear

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    In theory, lead solder shouldn't be used for pipes, but in reality, and especially if it's only the two ends of one pipe, little to none of that lead is even coming into contact with the water, let alone going to be leaching into it to pose a hazard. Lead in water pipes was a problem when it was what the pipes themselves were made of, so lots of contact with the water for some to get picked up along the way.

    Also, the worst effects of lead are in developing children. It's not as much of a risk for adults.

    Of course, it really wouldn't take long to just replace that section of pipe with lead-free solder to avoid any chance of a risk.
     
  4. Sep 22, 2006 #3

    Astronuc

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    There is probably not a lot of let in just those few connections to cause a problem. Lead-tin solder is fairly common AFAIK. And there is lead-free solder as Moonbear suggested.
     
  5. Sep 22, 2006 #4
    The only hazard it poses is from breaking, and flooding your house o:)
     
  6. Sep 23, 2006 #5

    NoTime

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    If your house is more than 20 years old then all the joints have lead solder.
    IIRC it was sometime around 1990 that they came up with the idea of lead free solder.
    If the house is old enough the entire pipe could be made of lead.
     
  7. Sep 23, 2006 #6
    Or if your hot water is supplied by the Roman aquaduct.
     
  8. Sep 24, 2006 #7

    DaveC426913

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    My teenager showed up with a lump of lead he'd been carting around for a few weeks. How much do I need to worry?
     
  9. Sep 24, 2006 #8

    NoTime

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    If he washes his hands before sucking on his fingers not at all.
    Generally you have to ingest it.

    Oh right - teenager. I've had those.
    That lump of lead will start functioning as a brain again once he gets into his 20's.:biggrin:
     
  10. Sep 24, 2006 #9

    Moonbear

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    :rofl:

    But, yeah, as long as he isn't turning it into a lollipop, it'll be fine.
     
  11. Sep 24, 2006 #10

    DaveC426913

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    I think it's pretty good bet that hands end up in mouths.

    WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
     
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