QUESTION: Obtaining lead-free solder in Australia, 18 May 2004, Western Australia
I am trying to track down a company that supplies lead free solder. I have tried Dick Smith's, Tandy, Altronics but no one seems to be able to help me.
ANSWER: 18 May 2004
Some of the solder manufactured by Consolidated Alloys is lead-free. They have three lead-free solders available in stick or wire form: Aquasafe 100 (a tin copper alloy favoured by plumbers, though all three solders have been used for potable water systems); Aquasafe 965 (favoured for electronics as it contains 96.5% tin and 3.5% silver) and Aquasafe 95A (which contains antimony). The Consolidated Alloys Western Australian Distributor is at Welshpool on 93534818, though they may have to order it in from "the East".
By an amazing coincidence a man rang up today after finding out that the solder he's been using at work for the last 10 days is leaded (his workplace provided no safety equipment or induction training) and he has some classic lead poisoning symptoms - vomiting, memory loss, disorientation and lowered immunity, so it would be really good if, as you say, lead-free solders were more widely available and sold in your local electronics store. I have at least asked (by email today) the London head office of Amalgamated Metal Corporation (of which Consolidated Alloys Australia is a subsidiary) to put information about their lead-free solders on their website [www.amcgroup.com]. If they do so, we will be able to add the link to our Lead-free products page. [Update 2012: http://www.cagroup.com.au/Solders.asp]
Maybe you could go back to your local electronics stores and tell them where to buy the lead-free solders?
The sales guy at the Victorian head office of Consolidated Alloys did warn against some of the lead-free solders that are out there, saying that he'd seen a solder purchased in the USA with a "Lead-free" label on it but when he had it tested, they had replaced the lead with cadmium, which is more toxic than lead. So - be careful out there!
I hope this helps.
Update 2012: AIM Products Australia is a leading Australian manufacturer of Tin-Lead and Lead-Free Solder Assembly Materials for the Electronics Industry
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