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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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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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« 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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« 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)

Cheers

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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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #20 on: Jul 13, 2017, 08:30PM »

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)

Cheers

Stewbones

We've improved it a lot. It's "aluminum", not "aluminium"; it's a flashlight, not a "torch" (a torch is what 18th century mobs carry in movies); and it's pronounced "zee", not "zed". That way, when you sing the ABC song, it rhymes.
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« Reply #21 on: Jul 13, 2017, 08:39PM »

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.

There are many brass alloys and most of them do not contain lead.  342 alloy is commonly used in applications where machining is done since the lead acts as a lubricant of sorts.

Most doorknobs, lighting fixtures, etc. are molded and can use an alloy without any lead.

This table lists a number of common brass alloys:

https://www.thebalance.com/composition-of-common-brass-alloys-2340109
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« Reply #22 on: Jul 14, 2017, 06:10AM »

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.
Silicon is often used to reduce lead for a machining agent.  The alloy can be called silicon brass or silicon bronze depending on composition.  They still usually contain some lead, but at about 1/100 to 1/10 that of regular leaded brass.

It's very difficult to keep all lead out of brass as most copper has some lead content as well as other metals.

A good alloy is C65500 which is specified to have a maximum lead content of .05%.  It is considered "lead-free".  One issue with this alloy and other brasses/bronzes with silicon added is there are very few re-cycling companies that will accept the scrap.  This inhibits their use somewhat.
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« Reply #23 on: Jul 14, 2017, 01:02PM »

I'd be curious to know why silicon brass is less recyclable than more conventional brasses.  Wouldn't the silicon form a slag when melted that will be easy to skim off?
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« Reply #24 on: Jul 14, 2017, 02:20PM »

If anyone is truly worried about lead mouthpieces just move a chair over and you can convert your existing lead mouthpiece to a 2nd chair mouthpiece. A 3rd chair mouthpiece if you feel  like it, but that's getting pretty close to a bass mouthpiece. Those are a bit fishy.
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« Reply #25 on: Jul 14, 2017, 03:17PM »

I'd be curious to know why silicon brass is less recyclable than more conventional brasses.  Wouldn't the silicon form a slag when melted that will be easy to skim off?

Recyclers of copper alloys do seem to frown on silicon contamination. It forms a solid solution in copper alloys; googling tells me that lead forms nodules at grain boundaries, not being very soluble in copper. There may be methods of selectively oxidizing elements such as silicon, analogous to the Bessemer process in steel production, but it may be tricky to get rid of those last few fractions in a way that makes economical sense.
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« Reply #26 on: Jul 14, 2017, 08:30PM »

We used to reclaim copper by dissolving it in an ammoniated solution and plating it out.  The silicon won't dissolve and is disposed pretty easily.  Zinc won't co-plate with copper easily so it can easily be separated as well.
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« Reply #27 on: Jul 14, 2017, 09:03PM »

I'd be curious to know why silicon brass is less recyclable than more conventional brasses.
It's probably not Bruce, and I'll gladly allow your greater experience to prevail here.  However, the scuttle butt is that the recycling mavens are just not set up for it, and are resisting the added cost to move forward.  From what I have read, it's the metal companies that are trying to get the recyclers to make the move forward.
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« Reply #28 on: Jul 15, 2017, 02:01AM »

We've improved it a lot. It's "aluminum", not "aluminium"; it's a flashlight, not a "torch" (a torch is what 18th century mobs carry in movies); and it's pronounced "zee", not "zed". That way, when you sing the ABC song, it rhymes.

Thanks Brad, all I need to do now is find out what you Americans mean by "improving". Confused Evil Perhaps if I watch you new leader I will soon find out :/

Cheers

Stewbones

PS Just checked your website-love your work.
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« Reply #29 on: Jul 15, 2017, 05:24AM »

We've improved it a lot. It's "aluminum", not "aluminium"; it's a flashlight, not a "torch" (a torch is what 18th century mobs carry in movies); and it's pronounced "zee", not "zed". That way, when you sing the ABC song, it rhymes.

Stewbones....do you think that when a person from across the pond visits here and sees a fish and chip shop then they think it's fish and crisps??

Totally off topic but couldn't resist!

Ross
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« Reply #30 on: Jul 15, 2017, 08:51AM »

Stewbones....do you think that when a person from across the pond visits here and sees a fish and chip shop then they think it's fish and crisps??

Totally off topic but couldn't resist!

Ross

Trying to imagine an American's reaction to fish and chips! Confused

Cheers

Stewbones
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« Reply #31 on: Jul 15, 2017, 08:59AM »

Lots of places in NA specialize in fish and chips.  They don't call it fish and fries, so in that context at least they are okay with chips meaning fries.
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« Reply #32 on: Jul 15, 2017, 09:01AM »

Trying to imagine an American's reaction to fish and chips! Confused

Cheers

Stewbones

I went in figuring it's the British equivalent to our Burger and Fries shops.  Plus, I had been warned.  Biscuits come in tins and are not a soft roll.  Chips are slices of potato deep fried but stil soft.  A pickle is sold by the foot (Metrecation had just occurred and people still used English units; also pounds/shillings/pence).  And they use a concoction called Vegemite.
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« Reply #33 on: Jul 15, 2017, 09:14AM »

Btw, "Aluminum" is the original. We're the ones who changed it...
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« Reply #34 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:05AM »

I think the reason is since most other elements end in -ium the small change of adding an I was adopted by British chemists for aluminum (aluminium).

Now that becomes a little more difficult with Arsenic, Oxygen, Sulfur, Carbon, Hydrogen, Phosphorus, mercury, and a few otehr names.  Halogens all end in -ine
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« Reply #35 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:14AM »

My guess is that the recyclers would need some heavy capital investment to go from furnaces to aqueous electrolysis, with its particular waste management requirements. (Are they already doing that, and at what scale?)

For some frivolous reason, this reminded me of a movie from the late eighties, The Navigator. A small group of medieval Cumbrian copper miners fearing the plague, prompted by a boy's vision, intend to bring an offering of copper to make a spire for "the greatest church in Christendom." Their tunneling brings them to a modern city looking a lot like Auckland, where they are baffled by the hustling traffic, and nearly bump into a surfacing submarine as they ferry themselves across the harbour.

The relevant bit is where Our Young Hero wrinkles his nose, points upwind, and announces, "foundry!" It seems some things may have stayed constant, or nearly so, over the centuries.
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« Reply #36 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:34AM »

The war for independence started in Boston over who had better Fish and Chips and also who made better trombones.. We know how it turned out.

A Bostonite will get irate if you suggest they don't know what fish and chips is.
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« Reply #37 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:38AM »

A Bostonite will get irate if you suggest they don't know what fish and chips is.

Some say that if you ask a Boston cab driver where might be a good place to get scrod, he will reply, "Many's the time I've been asked that question, but never before in the pluperfect subjunctive!"
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« Reply #38 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:47AM »

Some say that if you ask a Boston cab driver where might be a good place to get scrod, he will reply, "Many's the time I've been asked that question, but never before in the pluperfect subjunctive!"
You mean he never heard:

Sugiero que tengamos algo de scrod, señor.
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« Reply #39 on: Jul 15, 2017, 11:35AM »

You mean he never heard:

Sugiero que tengamos algo de scrod, señor.


Must admit, there is a higher likelihood of that than

Veuillez amène-moi à un bistrot avec scrod, monsieur
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« Reply #40 on: Jul 15, 2017, 01:27PM »

Veuillez amène-moi à un bistrot avec scrod, monsieur
Vous voulez aller à un bistrot avec un poisson?  Monsieur?
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Never look at the conductor. You just encourage them.

Have you noticed, some folk never stick around to help tidy up after practice?
Euphanasia

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« Reply #41 on: Jul 15, 2017, 01:33PM »

I think the reason is since most other elements end in -ium the small change of adding an I was adopted by British chemists for aluminum (aluminium).



So do British chemists also say "Platinium," "Molybdenium," and "Tantalium?"  
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Blowero

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« Reply #42 on: Jul 15, 2017, 03:47PM »

Thanks Brad, all I need to do now is find out what you Americans mean by "improving". Confused Evil Perhaps if I watch you new leader I will soon find out :/

Cheers

Stewbones

PS Just checked your website-love your work.
That's not Americans, that's the 'Muricans (yee haw!). Totally different. We're doing an odd/even thing with the presidents right now. It's alternating "not so bad" with "might be time to move to another country".
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Stewbones43

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« Reply #43 on: Jul 16, 2017, 07:46AM »

That's not Americans, that's the 'Muricans (yee haw!). Totally different. We're doing an odd/even thing with the presidents right now. It's alternating "not so bad" with "might be time to move to another country".

You would be welcome over here but it might not be such a good move at present. We have a government trying to extricate us from an agreement with lots of other countries, half of which have populations who want to come and live in our country, working for peanuts doing the jobs that our natives don't want to do. It is called a mess! :(

Cheers

Stewbones
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Trombone means big trumpet-does that mean it is louder?
BGuttman
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« Reply #44 on: Jul 16, 2017, 07:51AM »

You would be welcome over here but it might not be such a good move at present. We have a government trying to extricate us from an agreement with lots of other countries, half of which have populations who want to come and live in our country, working for peanuts doing the jobs that our natives don't want to do. It is called a mess! :(

Cheers

Stewbones

Gee.  You have Romanians, we have Mexicans.  Same deal.  I'm sure if the English bosses were required to pay the same wages to the Romanians and Poles that they do to native English, they wouldn't be so quick to hire them.  Except maybe for the back-breaking labo(u)r that natives aren't interested in.
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Bruce Guttman
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BillO
A trombone is not measured by it's name.

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« Reply #45 on: Jul 16, 2017, 08:27AM »

You would be welcome over here but it might not be such a good move at present. We have a government trying to extricate us from an agreement with lots of other countries, half of which have populations who want to come and live in our country, working for peanuts doing the jobs that our natives don't want to do. It is called a mess! :(

Cheers

Stewbones
Not too sure they all want to go to the UK.  Some tiny few might like to go to Germany or France or Sweden or Denmark, or, heck, even Ireland.

To be Quite honest, I'm an EU citizen and probably the last place in the EU I'd like to go is the UK.  The UK seems like -- boiled meat and barley water -- okay, but just a little bland.  No offense intended, just the way I feel.
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Never look at the conductor. You just encourage them.

Have you noticed, some folk never stick around to help tidy up after practice?
Bruce the budgie

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« Reply #46 on: Jul 16, 2017, 08:34AM »

In the early eighties, just before the Reagan years, English engineers came to the US on H-1B visas to work for defense contractors such as Raytheon and GTE. Experienced home-grown talent was scarce and expensive at that time. UK subjects were preferred because they could get security clearances.

In other news, I am an idiot. Large-scale electro-refining of copper is a thing, and has been for quite a while. Should have known better, having handled chunks of the stuff, looking like chopped-up pieces of wire as thick as my thumb, while temping in the labs of a photo-resist manufacturer. That's where I learned that putting one foot up on a low rail could relieve sciatic nerve issues, while spending hours standing around a process tank.

 :/
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Blowero

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« Reply #47 on: Jul 16, 2017, 01:06PM »

You would be welcome over here but it might not be such a good move at present. We have a government trying to extricate us from an agreement with lots of other countries, half of which have populations who want to come and live in our country, working for peanuts doing the jobs that our natives don't want to do. It is called a mess! :(

Cheers

Stewbones

That would be nice, but then I'd have to learn a new language ;-)
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Stewbones43

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« Reply #48 on: Jul 16, 2017, 01:50PM »

That would be nice, but then I'd have to learn a new language ;-)

It's not a NEW language, it's the original OLD one. We made it from bits of Latin, French, German, Dutch, Scandinavian, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Jewish and anyone else who would talk to us. :/

Cheers

Stewbones
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Trombone means big trumpet-does that mean it is louder?
daveyboy37

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« Reply #49 on: Jul 16, 2017, 02:01PM »

I seem to recall some linguists stating that the "English" in parts of New England had changed less over time than the English in the UK. It is a fun thing to talk about, at times.

Anyway, to get BACK ON TOPIC, does anyone have any information on motility of the lead component of brass alloys? Just because there is something toxic in something doesn't mean it is actually able to be absorbed through the skin.
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David Sullivan
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Blowero

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« Reply #50 on: Jul 16, 2017, 02:09PM »

It's not a NEW language, it's the original OLD one
Cheers

Stewbones

Um, I know the winking smily wasn't around in medieval England, but surely you know what it means.
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« Reply #51 on: Jul 16, 2017, 02:48PM »

...

In other news, I am an idiot. Large-scale electro-refining of copper is a thing, and has been for quite a while. Should have known better, having handled chunks of the stuff, looking like chopped-up pieces of wire as thick as my thumb, while temping in the labs of a photo-resist manufacturer. That's where I learned that putting one foot up on a low rail could relieve sciatic nerve issues, while spending hours standing around a process tank.

 :/

And I probably used your photoresist when I worked in a Printed Circuit shop. :)

Those chunks were copper for anodes in a plating tank.  Easy to use copper with any insoluble contaminant for that process.
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Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
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