pB-Free: The Craze Has Begun
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
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by reports of lead leaching into ground water from landfills, some manufacturers
of electronic equipment have begun using lead-free solder processes.
Japan is at the forefront with a year 2003 target for 100% lead-free
soldering. Europe is targeting 2006, and N. America has a voluntary
compliance date of 2004. Studies in N. America show no increase in ground
water lead content after 50 years, but Japan claims increases. The most
common lead-free solder in use today is Sn-3Ag-0.5Cu, which melts at
219°C. 63Sn-37Pb melts at 183°C. Paradoxically, net environmental impact
could be worse for lead-free due to the increased fuel-fired energy
required to run oven soldering equipment! Some analysts predict the
industry will abandon lead-free solder by 2008, due to minimal environmental
impact and much more difficult processes and costs. Storage batteries
use 79.0% of all lead mined, while electronics solder uses only 0.6%