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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive (TRI)

by Joelie Zak, Scientific Control Labs, Inc.
March, 2002

Sources of Lead in Plating Shops

Q. Many job shops dont use lead content anodes, nor do they treat lead-containing parts. Where should they expect to find any lead content in their operations?

A. Finding lead in job shops is actually quite common. Lead anodes are most commonly used in chromium plating. Many job shops electroplate tin-lead or just even just lead on parts. Lead can expected to be found in brass alloys being processed, either polished or electroplated. Other types of alloys such as certain types of stainless steel that may contain lead (even trace amounts) that are being metal finished need to be considered as the lead may leach during cleaning or acid dipping. Lead in welding and soldering materials must be considered. Lead in batteries may need to be considered for threshold determinations, as well.

The above list not exhaustive. I would recommend that a thorough evaluation of all processes at your facility be conducted, regardless if your facilities does any of the above. I would also look at the concentration of lead in some of your wastestreams as this tends to indicate if any lead is coming from the process.


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