Exposure to solder fumes

01 November 2017

In industries that involve the soldering of electronic components, exposure to solder fumes can be inevitable. Solder fumes usually come from burned rosin-based flux materials that are invariably used to create electrical connections – causing hazards that can be detrimental to employee health.

A naturally occurring material obtained from pine trees, rosin or colophony is an adhesive used in soldering processes. As the flux material, it is commonly used to prevent oxidation, as it cleans the surface and improves the effectiveness of the solder or the metal – to assure a permanently bonded connection.

Solder fumes occur as a result of heated rosin-based fluxes – this contains a range of resin acid particulates which can cause long-term discomfort and ill health.

As solder fumes rise vertically during hand soldering pratices, they can enter the human body through the breathing zone. Failure to manage the spread of solder fumes can lead to a significant reduction in employee productivity, potentially causing further downtime.

Exposure to solder fumes from resin or colophony-based solder flux can lead to a multitude of health hazards including occupational asthma, allergic hypersensitivity, and irritation –with symptoms ranging from simple eye or nose irritation to more severe airborne contact skin diseases. Solder fume can also cause other illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, chemical hypersensitivity, chest pain, headaches and dizziness.

Fume extraction systems are essential in industries where soldering is fundamental to the overall production process, as they minimise solder fume exposure and reduce the risk of fire or explosions in the workplace. They also help to manage health hazards, while allowing companies to comply with local and national requirements at minimal cost.

With over 100 years’ experience in the industry, AirBench provides high quality fume extraction solutions that can assure safer working environments.