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Dangerous Material for our saxes and mouthpieces?

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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1,731
Not really. I mean, how much credence d'you give to a guy who wonders whether brass is even safe to 'handle with our hands'.
 

Hipparion

Member
Messages
215
The message Sirvalorsax is trying to pass is more a message of caution rather than anything else.
Caution that is not really backed up by solid information. He actually says it himself: he is not presenting concrete facts.

When in doubt, keep safe... and he has found reasons to doubt.
Whether it is justified or not, that remains to be proved. But keeping safe is actually a hard-to-beat policy, when one doesn't know. ;)

As for me, the defrauding of serious brands is actually enough for not even wanting to try any of these pieces.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
Subscriber
Messages
3,531
Concrete facts...they making saxes and mouthpieces out of concrete? ;)
Did you at least try them?

You seem to be a 'feet on the ground' kind of guy, so being concrete should suit you! Not? ;)

PS: Being a sailor, I've always been amazed that could make concrete (ferrocement) boats! Ok I have a racing background so it's obviously not the material of choice there, but still! o_O
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
13,265
I couldn't watch the whole thing, but heard the concerns about bakelite.

I had always assumed in these ads when bakelite is mentioned , they don't actually mean Bakelite or at least not the old type of mottled brittle brown stuff from which they made radios, phones and light switches in the 20s/30s. I seriously doubt that same stuff is still made for mass production, and if it is then it's unlikely to be the same formula with asbestos and other hazardous stuff.


Especially given that modern plastics are probably a lot cheaper to make and market.

Those things are now more often than not collectors items, so I bet the word is bandied about due to its connection with antiques, when all they mean is plastic.
 
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Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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1,731
The message Sirvalorsax is trying to pass is more a message of caution rather than anything else.
Caution that is not really backed up by solid information. He actually says it himself: he is not presenting concrete facts.
Then it's just scaremongering.
The thing is, it really isn't all that hard to dig up the relevant science - and rather than confuse the issue with dubious claims, it's so much better to present people with facts and details.
For example, I have no doubt that the comment about brass perhaps not being safe to handle is to do with the presumed lead content. Fair enough - but it's not like the data on lead in brass and how it does or doesn't leach out under certain circumstances is all that hard to find. It's also not very hard to work out what your likely exposure levels might be in relation to the percentage of lead in the brass (in short, it's nothing to worry about for our purposes).

And as Pete mentions - the Chinese are sometimes wont to use the wrong word to describe various materials...thus Ebonite (and its derivatives) often get labelled Bakelite.
There are also many, many materials that involve hazardous methods and materials in the manufacturing process - and yet the end result is practically inert.
An excellent example would be the process of decaffeinating coffee with methylene chloride.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
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13,265
It's true that brass can contain lead, but I've read (can't find it now) that concerns over "leeching" are not so justified in that the lead molecules would lie under the exterior coating. I'm not a scientist or metallurgist so I'll leave it there as a bit of hearsay to be corrected if appropriate.

However there is no strict control over the laed in brass, it was there originally to make it easier to machine. So most brass is probably unleaded, if you want lead in it I'm sure you'd be paying extra (1) for the more expensive metal itself and (2) for the less readily avaliable and stocked alloy.

So why would "the Chinese" use that for mouthpieces? Surely not to further their reputation as purveyors of toxic products.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,731
It's true that brass can contain lead, but I've read (can't find it now) that concerns over "leeching" are not so justified in that the lead molecules would lie under the exterior coating. I'm not a scientist or metallurgist so I'll leave it there as a bit of hearsay to be corrected if appropriate.

However there is no strict control over the laed in brass, it was there originally to make it easier to machine. So most brass is probably unleaded, if you want lead in it I'm sure you'd be paying extra (1) for the more expensive metal itself and (2) for the less readily avaliable and stocked alloy.

So why would "the Chinese" use that for mouthpieces? Surely not to further their reputation as purveyors of toxic products.
Brass readily oxidises (aka tarnishes), and it's this thin layer that limits how much lead is available.
I did some figures on it a good few years ago and worked out that in order to reach anywhere near a risky level of ingestion you'd have to stick a heavily-leaded brass mouthpiece in your gob all day every day...and polish the brass regularly to expose the lead.
In short, it ain't gonna happen.

And leaded brass is pricey, and completely unnecessary for modern manufacturing techniques (typically CNC lathes/mills).
You're more likely to encounter heavily-leaded brass (4%+) on vintage pieces.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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7,073
You're more likely to encounter heavily-leaded brass (4%+) on vintage pieces.
Is it lead that went into artillery casings, which were in turn recycled into the musical instruments which are supposed to be made from superior brass?
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,731
Is it lead that went into artillery casings, which were in turn recycled into the musical instruments which are supposed to be made from superior brass?
I believe so - and you can hear one such instrument being played by Bob Holness on the famous Baker Street solo.
 
OP
ProSaxTips

ProSaxTips

Member
Subscriber
Messages
50
Now my eyes are opened again. Thanks for all the replies. The main reason I posted is 2 fold: 1. Incase he was right 2. incase he was misleading, or ill-informed.
Thanks everyone.
 

s.mundi

Member
Messages
519
This video reminds me of the comment made by my guests...
People on the Texas Gulf Coast put many types of toxic materials in our mouths, so mouthpiece material hazard is a very low priority.
 

Phil

Member
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
652
This whole lead thing omitts the fact that if you have inexpensive faucets or older faucets in your home the brass can easily contain up to 20 percent lead. 4 percent is pretty dang low. I chose not to worry about it. Threats elsewhere are so much higher....like the epa that is allowing more rather than less raw sewage into waterways as well as clearly toxic chemicals.

Life is terminal, I recall my grandfather telling me "Sooner or later something is gonna get you".
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
13,265
This whole lead thing omitts the fact that if you have inexpensive faucets or older faucets in your home the brass can easily contain up to 20 percent lead. 4 percent is pretty dang low. I chose not to worry about it. Threats elsewhere are so much higher....like the epa that is allowing more rather than less raw sewage into waterways as well as clearly toxic chemicals.

Life is terminal, I recall my grandfather telling me "Sooner or later something is gonna get you".
Faucets! Faucets!

That's nothing, when we moved into our house the entire water pipe system was solid lead.

But of course it was internally lined with plenty of calcium deposit after 100 years or so.
 
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