Roman Emperors and Empire

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  • #26
Ouabache
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Here is a good article on lead usage in ancient Rome.
http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/perspect/lead.htm [Broken]
If they had only learned about chelation. :frown:
 
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  • #27
Integral
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However, in the US and industrial world, lead was used in plumbing solders and packing segment wasted lines. I know this personally from having replaced plumbing and waste/sewage lines. I had to use a chisel to remove the lead from waste drain lines.

...
I recall watching my father install sewer lines, he had a kerosene blow torch and a large pot of lead. After packing the joint with a fibrous material he would pour in the molten lead. I am trying to remember just how he got it to flow uniformly into the joints, just can't come up with it. (Dad passed away nearly 40yrs ago so there is no asking!) If i remember I ask my older brother what he remembers of the process.
 
  • #28
Astronuc
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I recall watching my father install sewer lines, he had a kerosene blow torch and a large pot of lead. After packing the joint with a fibrous material he would pour in the molten lead. I am trying to remember just how he got it to flow uniformly into the joints, just can't come up with it. (Dad passed away nearly 40yrs ago so there is no asking!) If i remember I ask my older brother what he remembers of the process.
I did that too - briefly. I had to drill out the lead, chisel out the oakum, pull apart the pipe, replace with a new section, and place new oakum. I didn't do the new lead, which was left to a master plumber.

I used to work around lead and asbestos all the time - usually without protection, i.e. gloves and face mask. If the dust got too bad, I'd hold my breath or go get a paint mask, but since I was working in a steam-condensate environment, I'd avoid the mask as much as possible, and just breath through my nose and avoid deep breaths. I used to sneeze black stuff - metal dust from the grinding or cutting.
 
  • #29
Ouabache
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Astronuc said:
I read the higher usage rate as a indicating a higher potential for ingestion, not the amount ingested.

Certainly the Roman used lead (plumbum) to make pipes, and that would likely have resulted in lead-contaminated water.
Years ago, Dad used Pb pipes that were cast aside after plumbers replaced them, bring the scrap lead to a metal shop where they used a mold to pour/caste fishing sinkers. He typically had a can full of them for salt-water fishing. I inherited the mold and several sections of Pb pipe. I had the notion of dedicating a cast iron sauce pot, melt the Pb on an outdoor gas stove or grill and caste some sinkers in the mold. (this notion has been tabled for a few of years now, since I didn't need any sinkers).

I am aware of the harmful effects of heavy metals on human & marine life. Reading about how fish and water fowl are ingesting bits of Pb that have accumulated in heavily fished areas, has given me second thoughts about recycling this lead to make sinkers.
 
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