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Inland waterways being another interest of mine (because of their connection with the Industrial Revolution and influence on railway construction) and I don't think anglers have used genuine lead weights for some time. These weights were discouraged because of the poisoning of swans and other water birds who scooped up lost/discarded lead weights from the beds of streams/rivers/canals and consequently suffered.

The main reason I believe that lead is being removed from solder is because of the culmative buildup of lead when people work full-time with it; there is a degree of lead vapour produced every time a joint is made. I spent two years in the electronics industry and then twenty-eight years in scientific research, much of which I spent soldering up wiring connections, fortunately mostly in well-ventilated large laboratories, so I don't think I've suffered.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Lead vapour won't hang around for long. And if you only work for relatively short periods there should be no problem. If you are not working in a well-ventilated space it is possible to get bench-mounting filters which will move the air away from your work area and pass it through a filter to remove harmful vapours. Sorry, but I don't have any contact details to hand. Maplin, RS Components and the like are possible sources.

Regards,
John Webb
 
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