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Old 12-13-2017, 10:25 AM   #1
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Default Pvc fumes, Solder smoke, lead smoke...

Didnt want to hi jack the primer glasses thread.

After thirty five years in the trade and really not taking any precautions when it came solvent welding,solder etc. anyone have any health issues related to the chemicals we use?

I dont, I think, my wife may say otherwise.

With the amount of members it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation of symptoms. Just curious.

Wait, maybe one. I dont sleep well anymore, who knows.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:45 AM   #2
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Well been in since 1977. I have no doubt I may develop issues. Years without proper respirators. Chemicals all over our hands (flux, glue, primer, sewer gas, etc.). Before that exposure to commercial cleaning solvents in the Auto Mech. field, blowing off brake drums.

I do have some short term memory issues. May be my age also 60. My lungs and general health seem to be OK.

The last 10 years I was in the field, I used respirators in attics, not so much in crawl spaces, but usually a fan running in a crawl. Used cloth gloves while soldering for a little protection against flux.

Knowing all this I feel really lucky. Who knows maybe these will start popping up after I get closer to 70 or so.

I do know a guy I worked with who painted planes in the Air Force. He was our maintenance guy here in the B&Z department. He worked with a lot of chemicals and solvents with no gloves in the air force and here. He suddenly came down with some type of disorder with his balance and memory. Months of testing and being off work. They never could track down what the problem was. He ended up retiring and his health kept getting worse. Spent hi last 3 years or so in a nursing home for Veterans with his condition not getting any better. Finally he was in a wheel chair most of the time. He passed away earlier this year.

Some of us take for granted the stuff we work around and like I say have a "superman syndrome", until we get older & smarter.


I'm sure I have had Asbestos exposure without respirator, once just has a wetted bandana over my face.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:31 PM   #3
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Excellent thread!

Short term memory for sure, I’m only 39, and a customer can tell me their name and by the time I’m done, unless I’ve known them for years, I can’t remember. I use my schedule book big time! I blame it on the glue, huffing is a bad cheap high for teenyboppers, but it’s a daily thing for us. Countless times I head upstairs to grab a fitting and the HO, who’s been upstairs the whole time, asks “How can you stand that smell?!” I don’t notice it unless it’s a freshly opened can.

Flux is acid, and we all know what that feels like on a open wound getting into our blood stream.

I worked with a guy who for some stupid reason opened a high wall clean out and got doused. Went up to tell the HO what happened and that he’d be back in an hour and a half only to be warned she had Hepatitis C. He got tested and was fine.

I’ve been covered with sludge from medical exam room sinks. About a month ago I had my cable catch coming out of a clean out and caught drop off sewage in the eye.

And I get sick from my wife being sick. Go figure.
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Old 12-13-2017, 09:15 PM   #4
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I'm 45 with no issues yet. Doing an attic furnace replacement today, I had all asbestos ducts removed by an abatement company. This old pig of a furnace was so heavy I decided to pull it apart in pieces to remove. It turns out all the gaskets were asbestos and two big chunks of asbestos fell out of the heat exchanger. Of course I wasn't wearing a respirator so I sprayed water on it so the fibers didn't get too airborne.

Who knows what will get me first. Possibly the smoking, the drinking beer, the asbestos, flux, glue, noxious fumes from brazing refrigerant lines, or anything else that's out there.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:02 PM   #5
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I am 66 been doing Plumbing since I was 25 in 1975 only problems not related to any Plumbing work that I have done over the years,

if you Don't count a bad back, two bad knees, and a bad neck,
I broken many bones over the years but never while doing Plumbing,
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MACPLUMB777 View Post
I am 66 been doing Plumbing since I was 25 in 1975 only problems not related to any Plumbing work that I have done over the years,

if you Don't count a bad back, two bad knees, and a bad neck,
I broken many bones over the years but never while doing Plumbing,
Man that is a great point. Construction in general is physically abusive. I have a total of 3 knee surgeries (one a full replacement) One shoulder rebuilt (torn rotator, bone spurs, shredded tendon) last year a reverse shoulder replacement. Could be old motorcycle related stuff.
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:28 PM   #7
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My knees are getting bad, while plumbing is not helping, I know most of the damage was during my time in the Marine Corps, specifically one incident, long story.

Being a drain cleaner in on my knees often, so I try to stay flexible, as I’m typing this I’ve been sitting in my recliner Indian style for the last half hour.
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:33 PM   #8
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Been in the trade for years and just had a full blown physical done in Nov.,blood work,stress test,finger test etc. and it all came back that I passed with flying colors,memory seems pretty good when I want it to be.
Have some structural aches and pains but 30 years of racing motorcycles and stock outboard hydros along with 40 years of snow skiing probably added to that too.
Over all I think I have held up pretty damn good over the years for being a C.I.,PVC,copper plumber.
Backhoes,skid steers,and large Apprentices can be very good friends to have around.
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Old 12-16-2017, 02:02 AM   #9
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My dad lived to be 95 and worked until he was about 91..

he used to pour lead joints in un-ventilated crawl spaces.... He used to
seal the cracks on boiler doors with asbestos rope and some sort of asbestos glue you made up like plaster and smeared on it.... and real men did not wear breathing gear back in the 50s

of course PVC glue came along and it switched to that chemical some time in the mid 60s and they breathed that until his death......

Their are a couple of other old timers around here that have just passed away at about 95 and I believe that all the germs and nasty things that they came in contact with actually made them tougher..

I dont think either of them had any bad work injuries along the way that took their tolls on their bodies

He did not smoke or drink,, so I think clean living had a large hand in keeping him healthy and going for that long....

for whom the bell tolls we cannot say for sure if and when it will happen......

you could do everything 100% right and then get hit by a bus
so I say smoke them if you got them......
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Old 12-19-2017, 10:10 PM   #10
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So far I'm ok. However, I've always used gloves, masks, etc. Bought some leak detection equipment from a plumber that left the trade for health reasons directly related to handling PVC and ABS glue. Apparently, throughout his career he never used gloves or anything and bathed in PVC and ABS glue for years. According to his doctors it caused something called adrenal failure. I guess the chemicals in the glues slowly built up in his body over time. First symptoms for him was constantly feeling weird and confused while working. He became really sick to the point where he couldn't work anymore. Spooked me a little.
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