The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby P3T3rPan » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:03 pm

I say it again, like a stuck record
Lead. ITS A FUCKEN ACCUMULATIVE POISON
It builds up inside you. Little by little.
Just like DDT and mercury and strontium 90
Over here there was a tv campaign to encourage people to discard the first few mls of water from their tap for drinking because Some places in the world only pay lip service to expected standards of lead level in tapware
So you can quote me all the New Legislation you like
(I am told that you can drink a little foreshots as well but I don't see many trying it)

And I am a plumber so somewhat informed (latin = plumbum = worker of lead)
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby garouda » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:36 pm

P3T3rPan wrote:I say it again, like a stuck record
Lead. ITS A FUCKEN ACCUMULATIVE POISON
It builds up inside you. Little by little.
Just like DDT and mercury and strontium 90
Over here there was a tv campaign to encourage people to discard the first few mls of water from their tap for drinking because Some places in the world only pay lip service to expected standards of lead level in tapware
So you can quote me all the New Legislation you like
(I am told that you can drink a little foreshots as well but I don't see many trying it)

And I am a plumber so somewhat informed (latin = plumbum = worker of lead)


Sorry to rekindle the debate. In the past, the water inlet in each house in my country was made of lead (plomb in French, from Latin Plumbum, plumber= Plumbarius), indeed, that's the reason why craftmen are still called plumbers nowadays. This was "acceptable" because water was hard and a calcium carbonate shield quicly isolated the lead. However, this was 100% lead.
Now pure copper TP2 whose main composition is Cu and Ag (total >=99.85%), still has Pb in it but less than 0.005%.
Someone above didn't want to go into calculations and rejected any lead as a matter of principle, so also copper???
I do not want to argue with any one, but my problem is the following; I could hardly find copper fittings around my place (needed mainly for my parrot, only one 28.6x1.0mm 45 Degree Elbow goes to the vapour line). On the other hand, pipes are made of 100% copper, the column itself being SS. So I looked on Ebay and found a supplier... In China... But when the parts arrived, it was obvious they were made of red brass, not pure copper.
"It should also be understood that all brass “lead-free” parts may still contain trace amounts of lead, but no more than the 0.25% mandated by the law, so the parts should be labeled clearly to avoid confusion." from https://www.directmaterial.com/lead-free-brass-what-is-it-why-buy-it.
According to Wikipedia, red brass is also an alternative name for copper alloy C23000, which is composed of 14–16% zinc, a minimum 0.05% iron and minimum 0.07% lead content, and the remainder copper. Pb obviously remaining below the 0.25% limit. I'm attaching pictures I sent to the supplier in order to complain about their fake product description, no news so far...
Does someone have ever tried that kind of "fake" copper (red brass)? :text-thankyoublue:
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Last edited by garouda on Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby Sam. » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:46 pm

One of the main points here is when you run water through something it doesn’t leech as much as putting a solvent (alcohol) through it :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby garouda » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:48 pm

Sam. wrote:One of the main points here is when you run water through something it doesn’t leech as much as putting a solvent (alcohol) through it :handgestures-thumbupleft:


Thanks, but this wasn't my question.
I asked whether someone got some experience with those red brass fittings made in China.
How to identify red brass at first sight, the colour is brighter, shiny. Hit a reducer, it rings like a bell while copper will give a round, melower sound.
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby Sam. » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:28 pm

garouda wrote:
Sam. wrote:One of the main points here is when you run water through something it doesn’t leech as much as putting a solvent (alcohol) through it :handgestures-thumbupleft:


Thanks, but this wasn't my question.
I asked whether someone got some experience with those red brass fittings made in China.
How to identify red brass at first sight, the colour is brighter, shiny. Hit a reducer, it rings like a bell while copper will give a round, melower sound.


No idea mate but best bet would be not to buy cheap shit brass from China :teasing-tease:
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby garouda » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:21 pm

Sam. wrote:No idea mate but best bet would be not to buy cheap shit brass from China :teasing-tease:

Thanks Sam, I wish I could from here in the middle of nowhere :crying-yellow:
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby Sam. » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:28 pm

garouda wrote:
Sam. wrote:No idea mate but best bet would be not to buy cheap shit brass from China :teasing-tease:

Thanks Sam, I wish I could from here in the middle of nowhere :crying-yellow:


The best bet is if you have to use it tin the inside with lead free solder so you have a barrier from the brass :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby coffe addict » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:29 am

Hi mate, as I'm sure you've worked out some people are very passionate about lead... For good reason.
We are quite lucky with suppliers in Australia and its easy and convenient to source copper or stainless and avoid brass.

I would like to suggest also "pickling brass" before tinning it with lead free solder.
The pickling process draws the surface lead out of the brass. This should lower the amount of exposure.
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Re: Black discolouration, rum

Postby OzDistilling » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:36 am

lets look at the facts.
water is water.
ethanol is a solvent that leaches chemicals
0.015g of lead in brass in a water supply system is much safer than in a high % alcohol solution.
alcohol strips while water doesnt.
any lead is bad lead.
stay lead free
those brass taps are made for water systems not stills and alcohol storage devices ;-)


I agree that any form of lead is bad, but, stating that lead is safer in water than ethanol, or that ethanol 'strips' lead more, is incorrect.

Metallic lead is insoluble in Water and Ethanol.Its the oxides/salts of lead that are soluble.

The various oxides/salts of lead (Lead Oxide, Lead Acetate, Lead Chloride etc) are mostly very soluble in water, and generally soluble in ethanol, but usually to a lesser degree, it depends on the salt. Some lead salts (ie Lead Acetate) are very soluble in glycerine, and as glycerine is naturally produced during fermentation, stands to transport Lead Acetate through a still.

Lead does not leach from brass per se'. As the surface exposed lead oxidises, it can be washed away, but it goes no deeper generally. So its the lead that is surface exposed that is the concern, not all the lead in the brass.

A simple soak in Hydrogen Peroxide will normally strip all surface lead from brass.

Industry tests show that the water used for the wash and spirit dilution, octen contain higher levels of lead than a spirit that has been in contact with brass.

Whilst I agree with the overall argument that lead is bad, the lead in brass contributes a very small percentage to the overall problem. The lead in your feedwater, lead/tin solders, the cadmium in silver solders, the plasticisers in PVC and the potential presence of carbamates in your wash (due to poor/wrong yeast nutrition) present a far greater health risk.
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby wynnum1 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:54 am

What about lead in copper if they recycle old copper pipe then there is going to be a small quantity of solder which being old copper is going to contain lead. and a lot of manufacturing is from China
Brass does not need to have lead so not all brass has lead.
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby OzDistilling » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:41 pm

Some facts people;
Most brasses contain some lead.
Casting brass contains the least
Machining brass contains the highest
99% of domestic taps and metallic plumbing fittings are made of CAST brass. You have been drinking dreaded lead water for years :-)
Lead is only mutable (toxic) as an oxide or salt. Generally only the salts and oxides of lead are water soluble. Most lead salts and oxides are generally INSOLUBLE in ethanol.
The chance of a health risk presenting from lead leaching from a few brass fitting into your product, is insignificant. Most lead poisoning cases for distilled spirits comes from the use of car radiators (lead cores) as a product condenser, or the addition of lead acetate (sugar of lead) being used as a sweetener in the early 1900's.

Basic activated carbon filtering will remove 99% of all heavy metal salts from any spirit.

I firmly believe that using brass fittings with a lead free solder does not present a risk to a home distiller.

There is a much higher health risk with using PVC hoses and containers with high proof ethanol, and the plasticizers leaching out.

The two biggest health risks to home distillers (from a 1998 Swedish report) are burns from boiling liquid explosions, and substance abuse.
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby Sam. » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:54 pm

OzDistilling wrote:Some facts people;
Most brasses contain some lead.
Casting brass contains the least
Machining brass contains the highest
99% of domestic taps and metallic plumbing fittings are made of CAST brass. You have been drinking dreaded lead water for years :-)
Lead is only mutable (toxic) as an oxide or salt. Generally only the salts and oxides of lead are water soluble. Most lead salts and oxides are generally INSOLUBLE in ethanol.
The chance of a health risk presenting from lead leaching from a few brass fitting into your product, is insignificant. Most lead poisoning cases for distilled spirits comes from the use of car radiators (lead cores) as a product condenser, or the addition of lead acetate (sugar of lead) being used as a sweetener in the early 1900's.

Basic activated carbon filtering will remove 99% of all heavy metal salts from any spirit.

I firmly believe that using brass fittings with a lead free solder does not present a risk to a home distiller.

There is a much higher health risk with using PVC hoses and containers with high proof ethanol, and the plasticizers leaching out.

The two biggest health risks to home distillers (from a 1998 Swedish report) are burns from boiling liquid explosions, and substance abuse.


Unless you want to add citations to all them they are not facts

Also never saw 100% safe anywhere.

Our policy on this forum is brass is a bad idea and should be avoided
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby OzDistilling » Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:50 pm

Sam. wrote:
Unless you want to add citations to all them they are not facts

Also never saw 100% safe anywhere.

Our policy on this forum is brass is a bad idea and should be avoided


Sam,

Fair point, and as a Chemist I agree, statements without citations are not facts. Most of what I stated is basic chemical science knowledge, but it was wrong of me to assume that.

Again true, nothing is 100% safe. A careless statement on my behalf.

I am still new to this forum, and I was unaware of your policy on the use of brass. My post was not about promoting or condoning the use of brass, but rather to remove some of the misunderstanding. What I see is a lot of energy being spent on the Brass debate, when on fact there are a number of other issues that present greater risk.

Apologies, I was only placing an alternative view, from an academic perspective.
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby OzDistilling » Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:17 pm

wynnum1 wrote:What about lead in copper if they recycle old copper pipe then there is going to be a small quantity of solder which being old copper is going to contain lead. and a lot of manufacturing is from China
Brass does not need to have lead so not all brass has lead.


Correct as I said, there are many grades of brass, and most casting brasses these days contain little or no lead. As opposed to machining brass which does still contain some lead.

Personally I would never purchase anything from China when the lack of QC could lead to a injury risk to humans. I buy Chinese IT, PC and electronics hardware constantly, as the only risk is that I loose my money on buying crap. I would never purchase any material, chemical or ingredient that is for human consumption.

I recall a recent case with a client that purchased 400kg of DAP (DiAmmonium Phosphate) food grade as a nitrogen source for wine production from China. The DAp was tested before use (thankfully) and had elevated levels of heavy metal residues present. Fortunately as Australia is the worlds largest Copper producer, we are flush with virgin product at a reasonable price. No need for China recycled product.

A geeky technical points. Globally the focus on lead contamination of drinking water (our closest comparison) has shifted from 'Lead' to 'Heavy Metals' (which includes lead cadmium, copper, zinc and nickel). It looks like that a still constructed from 100% un-doped borosilicate glass is the only safe alternative ;-) Who tests their vodka for copper or nickel contamination?
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby OzDistilling » Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:38 pm

coffe addict wrote:Hi mate, as I'm sure you've worked out some people are very passionate about lead... For good reason.
We are quite lucky with suppliers in Australia and its easy and convenient to source copper or stainless and avoid brass.

I would like to suggest also "pickling brass" before tinning it with lead free solder.
The pickling process draws the surface lead out of the brass. This should lower the amount of exposure.


Hydrogen Peroxide pickling of brass to remove the lead is valid, but has limitations.

Let's unpack the process.
[list=]H2O2 pickling works by oxidising the metallic lead into one of a number of lead oxides.
Metallic lead is not soluble in water, most lead oxides are
Hence, the lead oxide created will dissolve in the pickling solution and can be washed from the object being cleaned/pickled
Ironically, aqueous lead oxides solutions are far more toxic to animals than metallic lead, so thorough washing of the object after pickling is essential, and the used pickling solution presents a high toxicity risk
[/list]


The pickling process is limited to the surface nature of the brass, where the H2O2 can reach the metallic lead. Pickling (actually oxidisation) of the lead only occurs when the H2O2 molecules can bind with the lead. This only occurs to the first couple of microns of depth of the brass. The more polished the surface, the less the pickling will have impact. A highly porous surface (ie a rough sand cast finish) will liberate far more lead through pickling. Once pickled, any disturbance of the object surface will expose new, fresh lead containing brass. Hence polishing or even scrubbing a pickled object would in effect negate most of the previous pickling effort. So, after pickling, do not perform any more surface treatments. Acid washing will effectively strip away any lead free brass and expose new lead containing brass.

Due to the range of brass formulations, and the ever present risk of lead contamination, AVOID BRASS FITTINGS AND FIXTURES at all costs. Very little that is essential to a still that is made in BRASS can not be sourced in either copper or Stainless steel.

JUST DONT USE BRASS
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Re: The never ending discussion of lead content of brass

Postby Doubleuj » Mon Dec 28, 2020 6:55 am

Great explanation Oz, cheers
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