Dangers with hazardous components.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by recklessrog, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Member

    May 23, 2013
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    I have been a little alarmed by some suggestions on this site regarding the opening up of components. Warnings in particular relate to power transistors, oil filled transformers, and oil filled capacitors.
    Many power transistors, especially those manufactured in the 60's-70's and those from ex eastern block countries, contain a material called Beryllium. Either beryllium copper or Beryllium Oxide. This is used because it has very good thermal conductivity, and the Oxide is also a good insulator.

    The danger comes from sawing or grinding open a device containing this material as very small quantities are LETHAL if inhaled. I think it only takes a few micro grams to be fatal.

    The problem with the oil filled transformers and capacitors is P.C.B's. Although now outlawed, a lot of older ex equipment transformers and capacitors used Polychlorinated Biphenyals. This is highly Carcinogenic and and should not come into contact with your skin or the vapour be inhaled. ( The same way that a tissue can soak up water, the skin is able to absorb many liquids.)

    My advise is do not open up ANY component unless you are absolutely sure it doesn't present a hazard by doing so, and if you decide then it's ok, do it in a safe area and dispose of the remnants properly.

    Also remember that if you vacuum up hazardous dust, it can get into the air either by passing though the filter, or when you empty the container.

    If you are not sure, then post a question on here for proper advice. Please take care folks!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    The old farts know this, but it should come up occasionally simply because there is a new crop of beginners every year.

    Caution: The government isn't your baby sitter. There are serious hazards available to the ignorant. Do not stick your fingers in the light socket, breathe anything except (preferably clean) Earth Atmosphere, crack open everything you find, or pour mystery liquids on yourself. You only get one body to live in and it has to last a lifetime.
     
  3. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Member

    May 23, 2013
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    Yes, my comments are aimed at the newer generations, and if they are not made aware of the hazards, their lifetime may end prematurely!
     
  4. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    But let us not go nuts and go to far the other direction.

    I speak of standard old school solder with lead in it.
    I grew up from about the age of eight using the stuff. I have even on occasion held a 5 or 6 inch long piece in my mouth for situations that needed that elusive third hand.
    Nary a trace of any lead poisoning or related symptoms.
    So the occasional use of a currently frowned upon substance shold remain ok. I do understand the build up in the environment from large amounts of consumer electronics that got us almost pure tin solders, so no need to preach about that. I'd ignore ya anyway. :)
     
  5. shortbus

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    Sep 30, 2009
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    And while I don't recommend it beryllium copper is over rated as deadly. About 20 years ago many plastic injection mold cores were made of beryllium copper. I ran an EDM machine making those cores. An EDM basically vaporizes the material being machined by controlled electrical sparks. And unless some one can prove differently I'm still alive.
     
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  6. Hypatia's Protege

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    Mar 1, 2015
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    While I'm in favour of 'erring on the side of caution' -- I'm bound to say that the above quoted statement remains to be proven -- While it is safe to assume that all 'organic chlorides' exert some degree of carcinogenicity - it is unclear whether PCBs are more hazardous than, for instance, sucralose:eek: --- Of course two wrongs don't make a right (where health is concerned anyway)...

    Best regards
    HP
     
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  7. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    I still crunch lead sinkers with my teeth when I fish.

    [​IMG]

    Edit: Errr...I mean, tooth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
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  8. jpanhalt

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    Jan 18, 2008
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    Many people are worried about the effect of lead bullets. It has been shown clearly that a lead bullet in soft tissue and not in bone, does not cause any elevation of the subject's blood lead levels. Nor, does a lead bullet still in your gun. Young children are far more susceptible to metallic lead than older children and adults. Of course, that begs the question of why anyone would let their baby suck on solder or eat bullets? As they say, common sense is not common.

    John
     
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  9. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    Metallic lead if you say swallow a bullet would pass through you practically unchanged
    A very small amount would be digested.
    Where as a lead OXIDE (not yelling, sorry)
    Would be almost 100 percent absorbed. Think pigments in old paint.
     
  10. Hypatia's Protege

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    >>>:D<<<
     
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  11. jpanhalt

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    I once had a rabid anti-lead colleague. She was rightfully concerned about lead toxicity in young children, particularly in impoverished areas where lead batteries were recycled and in areas of the US (maybe elsewhere) where local culture believed that mud pies made from river mud (literally) were healthy. That is not the norm is most of the US or industrialized nations.

    Her opening argument was that lead has no known biological function. My rejoinder was the obvious, no "known" function? More seriously, I think that fact, which applies to most if not all heavy metals, is evidence that life evolved long before those elements were formed in super nova. From a chemist's standpoint, it is almost unbelievable that had early organisms had heavy metals available, evolution would not have used them.

    John
     
  12. shortbus

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    Sep 30, 2009
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    And another of the "deadly" things that was done by me. When cutting pipe threads with a die or tap, we used 'white lead' or lead oxide mixed with "black strap" type cutting oil. Still have a small can of it somewhere in the shop.
    And at another work place they used MEK to wash plastic injection molds. Big molds for making car parts, so big we used a siphon type spray wand to do it. Found out years later the MEK gets stored in your liver and never leaves the body.
     
  13. nigelwright7557

    Senior Member

    May 10, 2008
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    You also need to be aware when trouble shooting of components frying.
    They can give off obnoxious gases which can be harmful.
    Especially transistors.
     
  14. nigelwright7557

    Senior Member

    May 10, 2008
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    Water pipes used to lead when I was a child.
     
  15. dl324

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    Mar 30, 2015
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    Older homes still have pipes containing lead. Read it in an article about the Flint water crisis. They used river water and didn't add chemicals to minimize leaching lead from pipes.
     
  16. jpanhalt

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    Jan 18, 2008
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    Where did you learn that wives' tale? It's wrong.

    John
     
  17. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Member

    May 23, 2013
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    Methyl Ethly Ketone was used as a degreaser/solvent in preference to Trichloroethelyne as it was less hazardous and does not need a condensing tank to keep it in.
    It is considered more of an irritant than a hazard, but I believe it is regulated now because it it used in the preparation of illegal drugs.
     
  18. shortbus

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    From an ex-family doctor. So your saying it does leave the body?
     
  19. Hypatia's Protege

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    Respectfully, I feel you may be confusing MEK with CCl4? -- The latter of which does, indeed, exert marked hepatotoxicity...

    Best regards
    HP:)
     
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  20. shortbus

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    No it was MEK. All of this happened in the time before MSDS were mandated. Doctor said my liver test results were due to the MEK, and I believed him.
     
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