Lead-Free Solder - friend or foe?
In 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a report
(pdf), in which it assessed the environmental impact of tin-lead vs lead-free solder.
In July 2006, RoHS
legislation banned the use of lead in electronic products destined for sale throughout Europe with a few exceptions.
But not everyone thinks this was a good idea
- Lead-free assembly is not better for the environment, it is worse. The additional tin mining required to produce high-purity tin alloys, plus the mining of other precious metals required to alloy with tin in substitution for lead is a poor trade for the use of existing lead, much of which comes from recycled products.
Lead-free assembly is less reliable than lead-based assembly. The E.U. environmental commission admits this point. That's why they grant exceptions for military and high-reliability applications that still use SnPb solder.
While lead may pose a greater
public health problem than SAC solder (Tin–silver–copper), the latter uses noticeably more energy to produce than lead–tin solder. Tin Whiskers
have also been identified as the cause of many military, health, industrial and satellite failures
posted by Lanark
on May 8, 2014 -
Conflicting roles for old lead
The use of old lead for shielding increases the sensitivity of our most delicate experiments by orders of magnitude, an increase that is crucial when looking for a reaction that sheds light on new physics. Lead recovered from roofs, old plumbing, and even stained glass windows has been used, but Roman lead from a shipwreck is the best you can find.
posted by Jpfed
on Dec 23, 2013 -
The Lead Masks Case
is the name given to a bizarre incident in August of 1966 in which two Brazilian television repairmen were found dead of unknown causes, wearing radiation-proof lead eye masks and raincoats, on a hilltop just outside the city of of Niterói in Rio de Janeiro. Along with a bizarre note
left by one of the men which reads (in English), "16:30 (04:30 PM) be at the agreed place. 18:30 (06:30 PM) swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal," the unusual circumstances have prompted decades of speculation. [more inside]
posted by kewb
on Dec 13, 2013 -
Hey, remember when archaeologists discovered
the remains of Richard III under a car park in Leicester? Well, apparently they also unearthed a stone coffin dated to at least a century before Richard. When it was opened, it was revealed to contain... another coffin
, sealed and made of lead. None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before
, says one of the archaeologists. Oh sure, it's probably just the remains of one of the founders of the monastery that used to be there, but if the movies have taught us anything, it's that if something is mysterious, it must also be evil, right?
posted by Cash4Lead
on Jul 30, 2013 -
Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jan 3, 2013 -
"Places like Picher are why Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980—better known as the Superfund bill
." - Wired Magazine on the most toxic town in America, Picher, OK
, and the people who still live there
posted by The Whelk
on Sep 5, 2010 -
"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction."
(pdf) released Thursday by Ocean Alliance
noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. Concentrations of chromium found in some whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish. Mercury in some whales was 16 times higher than a typical shark or swordfish, both known for their high mercury levels. Beyond whales
, "You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species."
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 24, 2010 -
Roman ingots to shield particle detector.
"Around four tonnes of ancient Roman lead was yesterday transferred from a museum on the Italian island of Sardinia to the country's national particle physics laboratory
at Gran Sasso on the mainland. Once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers' slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Apr 16, 2010 -
was part of a major lead mining area
in the central US until the middle of the last century, when the mines closed down
. It is now the epicenter
of the Tar Creek Superfund site
. Residents live among mountains of mine tailings known
. Heavy metal poisoning is endemic in the area. With fits and starts, things do begin to get done about it, but only very slowly.
To add insult to injury, Picher was struck
by an EF-4 tornado
on May 10th, 2008. The residents are finally suing
over the long in
plan. Shockingly, the buyout plan was put into place with urgency not because of the lead, zinc, and cadmium poisoning,
but because the mines are in danger of caving in
. There is still word on when the mountains of debris
will be removed, or the acid mine drainage stopped. Despite attempts to prevent further contamination in the 1980s and 90s, the waste is still poisoning local creeks
posted by wierdo
on Apr 9, 2009 -
Book Burning: For Your Health!
"...under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute." (via Neil Gaiman's twitter stream)
posted by Lentrohamsanin
on Mar 15, 2009 -
...Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning. The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives. What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries... Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Research Links Childhood Lead Exposure to Changes in Violent Crime Rates Throughout the 20th Century
posted by y2karl
on Jul 8, 2007 -
Meet the man who "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in earth history" - Thomas Midgley, Jr
. Midgley invented leaded gasoline in 1921 to stop cars from knocking
. In the process, he created a huge new industry, increased by 500 times the atmospheric lead levels, and was part of a multi-decade coverup of lead's effects that put the tobacco industry to shame [note: article is both terrific and very long]
and still continues today
. Just a few years later, he invented chlorofluorocarbons, and, with a dramatic demonstration of their safety
, usured in an era of cheap air conditioning and social change
, as well as ozone depletion
. In the end, he was killed by one of his inventions
, though it was neither lead nor CFCs that were responsible. He is sometimes remembered fondly
, he is more often vilified
posted by blahblahblah
on Oct 19, 2006 -