I am a hobbyist and a crafter working with cast models. These modles are up to 80% lead, with the rest being tin or similar soft metals. They are made in a mould, so they often have mould lines that need to be scraped off with a knife. But doing this can create lead dust which will pollute the immediate working environment. I had the idea of doing any scraping while the model was completely submerged in water. The theory is that small particles will be caught in suspension in the water, and the water can then be filtered or otherwise safely disposed of. (In case this needs illustrating, I have made a video of my method: link). My question is essentially, "will this method successfully control the spread of lead dust into my working environment, or am I missing something important?"

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    $\begingroup$ Certainly this must be an estabished art. Have you consulted your peers in this field as to how they deal with potential metallic dust generation issues. With this scraping process, do you think you generate micron sized particles that can fly and remain suspended in air? Romans used to drink wine in lead glasses and all their water plumbing (lead symbol: Pb from plumbum) was based on lead. For a century, tetraethyl lead was added to cars. Lead is everywhere. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Aug 5 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ You might consider switching to bismuth. It is low melting, dense, far less toxic than lead and relatively inexpensive. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Aug 5 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ AChem: TEL was a chemical success and environmental disaster; not something to be proud of. Wonder why the Roman Empire declined? $\endgroup$
    – jimchmst
    Aug 5 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ @jimchmst: I agree about TEL. Empires fall because of human follies. The lead story is a hypothesis, see this Science report science.org/content/article/…. The conclusion was "While the lead contamination was measureable, the team says the levels were unlikely high enough to be harmful, ruling out tap water as a major culprit in Rome's demise. " $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Aug 6 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ @AChem there is very little discussion of this in my hobby to be honest. Most people seem to ignore it as a risk, or trust to a dust mask (which might protect them but not their environment). This is why I was moved to ask here. My fear is precisely that I am creating airborne microns by filing and scraping, and my theory is that by doing it with the model submerged in water I will catch all such particles in suspension in the water. I am just wondering if it's a good theory or not. $\endgroup$ 17 hours ago


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