Lead in 50 year-old plumbing solder?

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In removing a gate value for the hose in my garage this morning I had to heat one of the copper joints to remove it and I noticed how easily the solder melted and flowed. So I wonder if there is some amount of lead in it.
My house was built in 1953 and my guess is that this pipe joint is original, so...
1) Did plumbing solder in 1953 contain lead? 2) Can I test some of the solder blobs easily? 3) Should I consider replacing all of the pipes in my house? (Note: I have a small ranch house with easy access to all of the plumbing; this would not be a difficult job for me.)
Mike
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Plumbing solder was 50% lead 50% tin I wouldn't repalce anything that wasn't broken, but as you make repairs use the new lead free solder, it's a bit different but it works.
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On 14 Apr 2006 06:32:41 -0700, upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote (with possible editing):

Yes.
Not certain if there is a simple test.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn't bother for two reasons:
    1. The likelihood of significant exposure to lead is tiny. Lead was used in solder for years and it didn't appear to have any significant effect on life span.
    2. The exposure to lead via plumbing is tiny - it can be only at the joints and if those were done by a professional, there is damn little lead in contact with the water.
--
Larry
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The problem with lead is solder joints is that the EPA changed disinfectant chemicals for city utilities a few years ago and the new chemical is more corrosive and now people are drinking plenty of lead in their old pipes.

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You can send a vial of water out for testing, or use a testing kit with a Q-tip rubbed on the solder.
But, rather than changing all your pipes, you can just install a water filter in your kitchen which will trap up to 99% of it Just running your tap for 2 minutes in the morning will clear out any lead that leached overnight, too.
I grew up in a house with lead solder. Just think, I'd probably be a genius right now were it not for the lead that I consumed ;)
http://www.omnifilter.com/
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Thanks guys.
Mike
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Yes, usually 50% lead solder. Good stuff.

Sure, but why bother. l It has lead.

Of course not. My last house had a lead pipe as the main water line from the street. Tens of thousands of houses built in the 1940's had lead pipes. We all survived. If you are paranoid about it, it is the water sitting for a time over lead that potentially contaminates it. Flush a toilet or two and the water sitting in the pipes overnight is gone and you have good water again.
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.... snip, snip ... .... response

My thought here is to just run enough water so that the pipe between the faucet and the water supply entrance to the house is emptied out. In my kitchen, I figure this to be about 2 quarts. At least the way my house is plumbed, and I suspect others as well, I would think that flushing the toilet would not help bring a fresh water supply to my kitchen faucet. Now, there is one other issue: As a plumber friend of mine once suggested, in some places the old city supply lines expose the water supply to your house to lead, in which case my perhaps superstitious practice of running out 2 qt. of water in the morning wouldn't much matter :-}
--
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=
Mike Lacy, Ft Collins CO 80523
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On 14 Apr 2006 09:03:57 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@colostate.edu wrote:

I wouldn't call it superstitious. There is a valid basis for it.
And your disagreement doesn't seem well based either.
Even if the city pipes contain lead, the water in them is rushing by because of the other people using water, even when we are sleeping. Someone is up earlier than we are, or going to bed much later than we do, and is showering or washing something.
of running out 2 qt. of water in the morning

It's only the water to our own house and in our own house that gets no use at all when we are asleep. That's what sits there, in some cases picking up lead.
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upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

My house built in 1983 had lead in the plumbing, subjecting us to being a bunch of "lab rats " for the local water district and health department.
Very very well-versed in the subject. Essentially, what most everyone has told you is true.
You test the water, not the solder. You test first "flush" -- meaning the first dribbles of water out of the pipe and then let it run (forget how long) and collect a second sample.
Over time, if you have hard water, the deposits USUALLY seal off the lead and very little, if any, escapes into the actual water. Soft water, well another story. If I remember correctly, hot water taps pose more of a problem.
Finally, another poster was close, but, sort of deadly wrong when they said flush a couple of toilets....Basically let the water run out of any pipe -- the protocol says up to 10 minutes -- that you are going to consume water from. Flushing a toilet is not going to drain the water that has been sitting in that cold water line...
Hey, how about this, take a look at what the experts say :>)
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/housing/pubs/fcs395.html
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On 14 Apr 2006 07:49:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

I figured the toilet thing was dependant on how the house is built.
Many people go to the toilet first thing in the morning and flush anyhow. Sometimes 2, 3, 4 people get up at the same time.
My bathroom sink is fed from the same pipe and only has 6 feet that are different.
My kitchen sink is fed from teh same pipe as the two upstairs toilets, and only has about 3 feet that are diffferent.
So if the toilet flushing is enough to put new water in the house pipes, I'd only have to run the kitchen sink for 3 feet worth to have fresh water there.

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1- Almost all homes with copper pipes used solder containing a 50/50 mix of tin and lead that have been built up to the last few years.
2- why worry about the solder blobs. YOu can be sure they are the lead type the same as the other joints in your house.
3- replace all the pipes in the house. Go with the plastic pipes . Then someone will decide something will come out of the plastic and you will have to replace those pipes.
If the lead in the pipes had been very bad for us, most anyone that lived in a house built in the last 50 years would have been affected. I doubt that anyone can prove the lead has caused any problems.
Too many people worry about too many small things. They do not seem to worry about the 40,000 or so killed in the US by cars each year.
If you do replace the valve use some of the BAD old 50/50 mix and not the newer no stick junk.
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I largely agree with most of the previous, with one caveat- lead is a serious matter. The EPA considers it the no. 1 environmental health threat. Especially, of course, in the case of pregnant women/ young children. It is cumulative, causes mental deficits in very small amounts, organ problems in larger amounts. That said, you are probably fine with the advice given, but go ahead and have water tested if you like. In many older cities, there really is a problem- with lead pipe being the connection from street to house. Not everyone knows to filter/ or simply flush out line in AM- which can take several minutes(in the case above, less if just flushing out lead-soldered domestic copper pipes). Depending on your plumbing setup, you can use the water to fill your washer, if you don't want to waste it. You'd still have run some out the kitchen faucet, of course. Lead levels can be much higher in hot water- I'd say don't use it for cooking or drinking.
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Yes, thanks Sev.
I appreciate everyone's input on this, but the "hey, I didn't die because of it" argument is bad. Lots of things that may not affect your lifespan at all can seriously affect your brain, muscles, nerves, reproduction, etc.
So we should go with what we know. I am going to test my water as was suggested (which is a good idea whether I have leaded solder or not) and if the lead level is considered safe then I'll have no worries.
Thanks everyone.
Mike
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On 14-Apr-2006, upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The first couple of decades of my life I spent living in an environment that had lead in the water pipes, mercury in the antibiotics, asbestos in almost everything (I lived in Quebec where asbestos was a major export) etc, etc.
Now kids are raised in clean houses protected from diseases, toxins, heavy metals etc. These same kids are suffering from epidemic levels of asthma, autism, allergies etc.
Mike
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On Fri, 14 Apr 2006 22:23:00 +0000, Michael Daly wrote:

Oh, *NO*! You must be demented! Yes, so did I for more than a couple of decades.

Still there, though now they're blaming mercury and antibiotics for autism and whatever ails the masses think they have.

...even the gound! *horrors!*

Northern NY too, until they closed all the mines and turned it into a wasteland.

Go figure. What happens when a spider bites one of the wussies?
--
Keith

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Not quite. Mercury, in thiomerisol, is a preservative in vaccines (or it used to be) and the autism rate increased considerably since it was used. There have not been scientific test, but anecdotal evidence points to it as one in 162 children is autistic to some extent. China had virtually no autism until they started using US made vaccines with it.
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On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 03:11:22 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Correlation <> causation. There are *thousands* of differences between the Chinese and Americans. To blame mercury from vaccines without cause is silly. There are far more plausable reasons for the rise in autism, including self-selection of mates with autistic traits (geeks on geeks)and our economy making this possible.
--
Keith



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As I stated, there is not scientific proof and studies have not been done. It may or may not be, but you don't offer a solution either. As the thiomerisol is eliminated, it may show causation. We'll see.
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On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 16:36:20 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

So why bring it up? No proof is no proof.

I offered one alternative explanation (unfortunately, solutions are not always possible). The "solution" is *not* to stop vaccination. The "solution" may be the "media" getting a clue about science, but that won't happen because scares sell ink. They've obviously scared you since you bought the line right down to the hook.

Likely the claimed "causation" will be the rates of autism to increase in China. ;-/
--
Keith

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