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Lead as an Additive: Consequences and Alternatives

As a highly versatile metal, lead has seen a vast array of uses throughout the ages. Even today, lead is still used in a variety of manufacturing processes to fulfill material requirements. Machine keys, plugs, and pins used for machining operations often feature lead as an instrumental component in their manufacture, for instance. Even in cases where lead is not intentionally added to materials, the heavy metal may still be present, albeit in very small amounts. 

Recycled metals may also contain trace amounts of lead, leading to fasteners and other materials not intended for machining operations to feature lead in very small concentrations. Since most fastener standards are not focused on the end-product’s exact material composition and with other factors affecting material selection, including geometric shape and desired mechanical properties, residual lead content has minimal negative impact given the product requirements.

For fasteners and other components where lead is not added intentionally into the chosen material, the material certificate may not mention the presence of the heavy metal. While there is a low chance of such materials containing lead in concentrations of 0.1 percent or more by weight, only extensive testing can determine for certain the presence of lead in such amounts.

In a recent professional white paper, Bossard’s team of experts led by Peter Witzke explore the usage of lead as an addition to metals. The white paper not only goes in-depth into the history of lead usage but also the types of metals that either incorporate lead as part of the material composition or feature lead in small concentrations. Witzke also discusses the availability and recovery of lead, along with alternatives to lead and how the presence of lead affects Bossard’s line of fasteners and other metallic products.

Download the full white paper now to learn more!

Lead as an Additive: Consequences and Alternatives by
September 04, 2020

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