dangers of melting lead

When melting lead in a pot over a propane burner is there any danger of
inhaling lead fumes. Since lead melts at 327 degrees C and doesn't boil
until 1525 degrees C does this mean there is a big safety window and that no
lead will actually vaporize. Am I right in thinking that any smoke coming
off the pot is other materials burning off such as tar on some flashing
etc... and there is no danger of inhaling vaporized lead? Thanks for any
advise.
Reply to
habbi
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Well melting lead is done just about every day by folks making fishing weights, bullets etc etc, so if you just use reasonable care and stay out of any fumes or exhaust gasses from the furnace you should be ok. Heck you can get overcome by most anythng if you don't use prudent practices.
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Reply to
Roy
Depends on what you are melting. If it is clean lead there is really no major danger. Just do it outside with a little breeze. OTOH, If you are stewing down a bunch of wheel weights like I did, be prepared for a Gawd awfull cloud of rubber, oil, break fluid and road grime fumes. :-)
habbi wrote:
Reply to
Glenn Ashmore
You *will* have lead vapors even though you are below the boiling point. Use good ventilation (e.g. work outdoors), avoid breathing the fumes, use common sense, see an MSDS for other info, etc. The visible smoke is likely other substances burning off but does not mean lead is not also present.
Reply to
The Masked Marvel
Yes, but an extremely small amount. The vapor pressure of lead at its boiling point is 4.21E-07Pa @ 327.6°C.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
You mean melting point. The vapor pressure of lead at it's boiling point is 1 atmosphere, this being the definition of "boiling point."
Generally speaking, the vapor pressure of lead is low. The vaporized material reacts rapidly with oxygen in the air (so fast, in fact, that more of it reacts to form dross on the liquid than ever vaporizes) and very little of the lead oxide vapor goes very far.
On the other hand, any of it that you happen to inhale stays with you, permanently.
Al Moore
Reply to
Alan Moore
Duh! Yeah.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
Keep the temperature down and the vapor pressure is rather low. It still need to be done outdoors and in a well-ventilated area. If you're melting plumbing bits and roof flashing, it'll be stinky. If you're casting pure lead, the temperature will have to be raised, for some molds, maybe a lot. A little tin helps with fillout and reduces the melting point. Wash up well after handling or melting the stuff. A face shield, leather welding cape, apron and gauntlets are my preferred costume. No low-top shoes or flip-flops, either.
Stan
Reply to
Stan Schaefer
--Qhat are you trying to make? To avoid the problem altogether one alternative is to "cast" buckshot using polyester resin. It sets up good and hard and is plenty heavy.
Reply to
steamer
Whenever I melt lead I do it outdoors, and I'll light a stick of incense and place it next to the pot as an odiferous tell-tale.
~D
habbi wrote:
Reply to
Dave
How often do you melt lead and for how long? Are you pregnant? under 5 years old?
For you personally, if you are an adult male and only occassionally melt lead, there is absolutely no problem. But it is best to provide good ventilation. And don't eat while you are near the melting pot. If you get leaded (a high concentration of lead in your blood from being around the fumes a lot), you will know; feel very tired and listless, but it won't do much permanently. People that work at smelters often get low levels of lead with virtually no permanent effects. OTOH, there are lead fumes at any temperature, virtually none when solid, but quite a bit at the melting point and it will go floating around in the breeze and deposit on surfaces as an oxide, so don't do the melting where there are children and pregnant females.
Don't go nuts over this, it isn't like mercury.
habbi wrote:
Reply to
George E. Cawthon
And even if it were, it wouldn't be too bad. Consider many famous (and otherwise) scientists played with much mercury and they didn't die of it.
Tim
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Reply to
Tim Williams
Habbi, The danger is not lead vapor, but the lead oxide that forms on the surface of the melt. This can get into the air as a fine powder and be inhaled. Use good ventilation or do it outdoors. That said, I've cast sinkers and bullets for years with no ill effects. Best of luck,
Pragmatist
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Reply to
pragmatist

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