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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentMouthpieces(Moderators: BGuttman, Doug Elliott) DANGER?? Mouthpieces contain dangerous amounts of LEAD?
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Author Topic: DANGER?? Mouthpieces contain dangerous amounts of LEAD?  (Read 2745 times)
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FlamingRain
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« on: Jul 12, 2017, 10:45PM »

So here's something I found on the wonderful world of Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/LeadSafeMama/photos/a.195917330526679.42695.195674253884320/1202717436513325/?type=3

I'm going to ride right past the fact that there is no good scientific data collected here with no controlled variables and no real description of the testing parameters other than (a 40,000 machine) that the thousands and thousands of brass players that have never had issues with mouthpieces I feel like this would have been thought of LONG ago... I feel like this is just a fear mongering tactic to raise publicity even if it isn't factual, and to promote a specific company (Monette)...

I figured I'd share this here because we have a handful of brass technicians and mouthpiece makers (I feel Doug incoming...   :D) and this could spark an interesting discussion.

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 12, 2017, 11:05PM »

My favorite quote in the comments "Just personally tested these Keith. The epidemic is millions of sick children." Haha what?

Note how out of the five mouthpieces the one she likes most is the gold plated one! Sounds like she has a nickel allergy and she's blaming it on lead Pant

Either that or this is Monette propaganda to get you to buy their mouthpieces Evil
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 12, 2017, 11:05PM »

I suggest that anyone who actually believes that to be a problem get a blood test for lead levels.  That's the real proof.
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 13, 2017, 02:15AM »

I coudl potentially see it with the 100% BAND DIRECTORY APPROVED PURE COPPERRUNICKELISH SUPER TENOR TROMBONE horns from India perhaps... but that's as far as I can see it going.
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BillO
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 13, 2017, 06:20AM »

Lead is commonly used in brass to make it more machinable.  However, the silver plating should be free of any lead.  We don't know how she tested these.  Did she just test the surface, or did cut into them to get to the brass as well?
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 13, 2017, 06:34AM »

I suggest that anyone who actually believes that to be a problem get a blood test for lead levels.  That's the real proof.
Doug, you could use this as an opportunity to advertise your mouthpieces are 'lead free'.  You can use brass with silicon added for machining purposes.
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 13, 2017, 06:35AM »

Almost everyone in modern society has had substantial environmental lead exposure from numerous sources and would test positive for an undesirable level of lead. (there is no good level)

I don't know if a blood test would be much proof of contamination from just the mouthpiece. Maybe a substantial study of thousands of people might tease out some differences.
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 13, 2017, 06:58AM »

The risk here is negligible.

First, the sliver/gold plating would have to be worn off.

Second, since lead poisoning does not occur through skin, you would have to be putting the brass into your mouth and either chewing bits of brass off, or leaving it in there long enough to leach the lead out.  If you doing either of those, lead poisoning is likely not going to make matter much worse.
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 13, 2017, 07:14AM »

Almost everyone in modern society has had substantial environmental lead exposure from numerous sources and would test positive for an undesirable level of lead. (there is no good level)

Lead levels in blood went down drastically when we phased out lead as octane booster in gasoline. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 13, 2017, 07:25AM »

Guys, just face it - the woman is right.  Brass mouthpieces are very dangerous... to eat. 
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 13, 2017, 08:29AM »

So, I contacted Ms. Tamara Rubin to clarify how she tested the mouthpieces.  She removed the silver plating to expose the brass underneath.  Then she used a Niton XL3t GOLDD XRF analyzer to do the test.  She said she paid $40,000 for it, but I think she over paid a bit.

http://analisisinstruments.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=151

I've also asked for a use scenario wherein she believes a brass player could actually ingest enough brass to give themselves lead poisoning.  Will post if she replies.

I don't think she's promoting Monnette.  I think she's just another loose canon do-goodder trying to eliminate lead.
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 13, 2017, 08:46AM »

I checked the page.

She's using a handheld XRF.

We used to have one, when my department was responsible for a housing area, and I played with it some.  It's a good instrument, probably much more advanced now, but you had to be careful about calibrating it and knowing where you'd get false readings.

In particular, it will read through a thin coating and report lead behind it, and the thicker the lead containing layer the higher the reported concentration tends to be.

http://www.xrfresearch.com/brass-from-copper-and-zinc/

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« Reply #12 on: Jul 13, 2017, 09:04AM »

I wondered if she found the lead in the lead pipe that the mouthpiece fits in inside the mouthpiece receiver Yeah, RIGHT.

(It is a wonderful language we English invented but I am surprised you Americans haven't managed to improve it yet :D)

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« Reply #13 on: Jul 13, 2017, 09:26AM »

If you check back I did some mouthpiece tests a few years ago to try to determine alloy.  We also had a Niton 3T tester, and a prototype of a more sophisticated "lunchbox" version.

There is enough lead in mouthpiece brass to violate RoHS standards, if they applied to them.  For RoHS standards you consider the overall composition (plating, undermaterial, etc.).  For some testing you have to grind the device up.  Any lead in excess of 1000 ppm (0.1%) is a violation.  The brass used in most mouthpieces is about 3% lead.

Just for comparisons, most solders are anywhere from 30 to 50% lead; or were until RoHS standards went into effect.  So you'd be in more peril from that old electronic device from before 1999 (or your own plumbing) than a mouthpiece.  As BillO has mentioned, there is a plating on the mouthpiece that is a barrier.  And if you use a plastic rim, they have no lead whatsoever.  I think you are in more danger from the copper in an unplated mouthpiece than from the lead in it; there's much more copper and some people have an allergy.

Incidentally, the Niton 3T was developed as a quick way to identify alloys in a machine shop.  There are much more sensitive devices for exacting lead levels.
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« Reply #14 on: Jul 13, 2017, 10:39AM »

In the US, whether you can throw it away or it becomes hazardous waste and needs special disposal is determined by the TCLP.

Let's see, Toxic Chemical Leachate Procedure?  Something like that.  Better google it.  Oops.  Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure.  Had it wrong all these years.

It simulates whether liquids in a landfill could extract enough lead or other problem to contaminate groundwater. 

Just measuring the lead content wasn't enough to call waste hazardous, it had to be extractable, and I think that might apply to a mouthpiece.

(When I demolished a building, I'd segregate the waste and do quick total lead samples, that ran about $15 each.  If the sample passed, the waste went to a landfill.  If it came up hot, I did a TCLP at about $1000 ($3000 if I needed all the analytes).  If that one failed, it was hazwaste.) 

It just seems unlikely to me that the lead in a mouthpiece is very mobile. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 13, 2017, 11:05AM »

TCLP applies to larger volumes.  In fact, hazardous waste applies to amounts of waste in tons.  I had to deal with laboratory quantities of materials but since we were emitting large amounts of waste in other process streams our lab waste got counted.  So we dealt with lab waste by barreling it and sending it to a HazMat site.

One mouthpiece won't make any difference and you shouldn't worry about having one to discard.  Now Doug Elliott may have to deal with a lot of waste brass from his machining operation, but it has scrap value and he doesn't discard it either.

I had wanted to use our Niton hand-held to test toys for chromium ink colorings (the limits for Chromium VI are half that of lead).  Never really was able to do scans at a reasonable cost to set up a toy process.  I thought that would be a good second revenue stream for our lab.  This is probably what that gal does.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #16 on: Jul 13, 2017, 05:11PM »

I took my 5G to play first on a Kenton style gig and found out pretty quickly that it didn't have very much lead in it.
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« Reply #17 on: Jul 13, 2017, 05:13PM »

I took my 5G to play first on a Kenton style gig and found out pretty quickly that it didn't gave very much lead in it.

Nice pun! :)
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« Reply #18 on: Jul 13, 2017, 07:10PM »

So, what alloy is Monette using that doesn't have any lead in it? Are they alloying the materials themselves?

I would like to see if anyone has information regarding the mobility of the lead in brass, seeing as they use it for a lot of things people touch, like doorknobs, shell casings, brass knuckles, etc.
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« Reply #19 on: Jul 13, 2017, 07:34PM »

" So even back in 1959 they were already making and using unleaded brass"


.....


 :(
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