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Solder Fumes

Fumes from solder flux containing rosin (sometimes called Colophony) may cause asthma and liquid solder flux may cause dermatitis.

As this type of solder can cause harm to human health, it is regulated under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 1999. There is a legally binding Maximum Exposure Limit (MEL) for the use of solder flux containing rosin which is 0.05 mg m-3 over an eight hour working day or 0.15 mg m-3 over a 15 minute work period. These limits must not be exceeded.

To avoid exceeding the MEL, suitable and sufficient ventilation should be provided and maintained in areas where there is work with rosin based solder fluxes. If it is not reasonably practicable to provide ventilation then appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be used. Guidance on the selection and use of appropriate PPE can be obtained from Environmental, Health and Safety Services.

Note: PPE should only be used as a last resort.

As this type of solder may cause asthma, the Occupational Health Adviser should be notified of all new and regular users of it so that appropriate health surveillance can be carried out. The Occupational Health Adviser can be contacted via telephone (Ext: 2752) or by e-mail (jgm3).

If a worker develops any of the following symptoms while working with rosin based solder flux, they should contact the Occupational Health Adviser (Tel: 2752 or e-mail: jgm3) as soon as reasonably practicable.

  • Itchy Eyes;
  • Sneezing, running or blocked nose;
  • Chest tightness and wheezing;
  • Itchy skin rash;
  • Swelling of lips, sometimes of the tongue as well


Environmental Health and Safety Services contact details

University of St Andrews
Bute Building Queens Terrace
St Andrews
KY16 9TS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462750
Fax:44 (0)1334 462747