Is Brass Safe?

duh

Well-Known Member
I have set this thread up in response for a request to move discussion of brass outside of a single vendor's vaporizer. So here it is. Please, anyone, defend using brass in a vaporizer in any of it's parts.

Here is a new kickoff: I have had 10 coffee makers in the last 20 years. All of them have been made of stainless steel, food safe plastic and ceramic. True there are traditional Turkish coffee pots made of copper or brass but from 300 years ago, not at Starbucks in 2009.

Is brass safe in and around the human body, especially at the high temps of vaping?
 

Beezleb

Well-Known Member
It certainly is an issue of concern but to what degree is my main question to myself. I originally thought little of it but then I noticed warnings saying lead in brass keys is unsafe and to use plastic coverings. Also when you look at the direction and requirements to limit and remove lead from brass the government has taken it shows it is a valid concern.

I think there are merits to several perspectives and as such if it was a vape manufacturer I would rather remove the issue rather than leave the issue questionable, especially in sue happy America. At the very least I would do a business plan/research the issue and determine what it would take to use lead free brass instead of leaded brass. My understanding is they add lead to brass to make it easier for machining and if this is the case its likely more expensive and harder to obtain among many other issues I am sure.

So perhaps this is an issue and perhaps it is not, it easy to be a back seat driver and say what one should or should not do and typically what seem like easy changes really are not so easy or overall feasible.

At the end of the day its up to each person to decide, is it really not an issue or is it?
 

Purple-Days

Well-Known Member
Preface: I am not a metallurgist. I have done a bit of reading, from what I believe are reliable and scientific sources. I manufacture the Purple-Days vape and use 304 and 316 Stainless Steel from American suppliers. And use RoHS compliant electronic components also from US suppliers.


Commercially available metals (alloys) all have alloy numbers signifying the contents and amount of their component materials. I would estimate that most mfgs know exactly the alloys they are using.

One mfg claims brass is copper and zinc and nothing more. Either they are un-informed about the lead content of some brass alloys, or are using a lead free alloy. If they were using a lead free alloy it would make sense to publish such data and have no doubt of the products lead free status.

Another mfg, a very honest one, admits that the brass he uses contains lead, a very small amount, according to him. Again we have alloy numbers to define 'a very small amount'. Giving these numbers would define the lead content and type of brass used.

As Beezleb says, "as such if it was a vape manufacturer I would rather remove the issue rather than leave the issue questionable".

I would agree. And that's why we went the way we did. I did not want to question the materials used in the vape I breathed through everyday. I didn't know if the vape we had been using was safe or not. I wasn't sure. That bothered me.

Now for a little on my understanding of Lead and Brass:

Brass is an alloy of Copper and Zinc. That is the classic definition of Brass. The copper and zinc atoms form a tightly bound crystalline structure with a cubic latticework. Think of the eight points of a box as the starting shape, these are the 8 atoms of copper and zinc. It is neat and pretty.

For machinability purposes Lead is added in 'small amounts' to the Brass alloy. Lead is a slick substance and adds lubricating qualities.

Where does the Lead go? It is trapped randomly inside the little latticework boxes. It is not tightly bound into the structure as the other two elements are.

As the surface of the brass is machined or drawn these tiny atomic boxes are opened and the lead atom is revealed providing the desired lubrication as it is 'smeared along the surface'.

This is the part about leaded brass that bothers me. The lead is not tightly bound to start with and then is further exposed in the mfg process.

I make no claim that Leaded Brass is unsafe for use in a vape.

I think the removal of Lead from paint, gasoline, plumbing etc, points to some legitimate scientific concerns about the use of lead in a breathing device. It bothered me, I decided it wasn't for me or my family.
 

owin

Well-Known Member
Why use brass in the first place? If there are safer materials out there why not use them?
 

digglover

Well-Known Member
This document/experiment looks at leaded brass and heats it from room temperature to 526 degrees Celsius.
Out of the 3 samples, the highest % of lead was 0.05 and the lowest was 0.001

They don't specify any of the types of brass or anything so take it for what its worth but it is food for thought.

http://pubs.acs.org/appl/literatum/...967.12.issue-1/je60032a030/je60032a030.fp.png

So I guess one way you could look at this is... Let's say the myrtlezap has 2 oz of brass in it... At most 0.1 oz of lead could become loosened. Lead's boiling point is 1749 C. So I doubt it could actually be inhaled in vapor because it is heavy and because it won't have even reached boiling temps. Maybe? I'm just sort of mucking around so if someone smarter has input that'd be great :)...


I'm personally in the camp that would be fine with a brass vape but that is just me being carefree :lol:
 

duh

Well-Known Member
Purple-Days said:
For machinability purposes Lead is added
See, we can stop right there. I am not a machine. In other words, I couldn't care less about how well equipment can shape brass. Just pour whatever metal I am going to be using in my vape into a mold please.

digglover said:
I doubt it could actually be inhaled in vapor
I don't. Haven't you inhaled hot vapor? It's hot! I mean there is a quasi-state going on there, where we have 'liberated' some goodies and left the badies. We hope the whole vape pathway will be inert and it won't interact w/the vapor till it reaches us.

So what vaporizers are 'safe'? What aren't? And am I going to have to buy some new vapes to research this? :p
 

stickstones

Vapor concierge
^^^I like the mold idea, although this usually is reserved for large production runs due to its expense. I would imagine smaller operations, such as most vape companies and certainly mom and pop shops wouldn't be able to afford this.
 

Purple-Days

Well-Known Member
Sticks you may not be old enough to remember lead soldiers. Boys would melt lead and pour it into molds to form dozens or thousands of toy soldiers to play with. The temps for melting brass would not be difficult to achieve in a small scale 'back-yard' foundry. Probably cost under $200 to set up. Problem is finding suitable brass alloy with zero lead content.

This whole thing about lead, is about like riding a motorcycle without a helmet. It's certainly your choice. But the more you know the better informed a choice you can make. Watch amellon smack the roadway and you think twice. See the Feds or State EPAs reducing or calling for the elimination of lead in many products, and you can start to make a choice. Ride without a helmet, or breathe through a Chinese or American vape with unknown substances in it, your choice. Caveat Emptor.

What is striking, after a year of following this forum? Every time a Chinese made vape is mentioned folks condemn unknown materials and possible lead in the vape. What happens when an American mfg is using 'unknown' materials (no alloy numbers) and admits that they contain lead? Folks start running to defend lead in a vape. WTF is wrong here? :rolleyes:

ps note to mods: Shouldn't this subject be in the
General Vaporization Discussion
Vapor related but not model specific
area? not exactly off topic, Lounge material is it? :2c:
 

spyder

Well-Known Member
Purple-Days said:
What is striking, after a year of following this forum? Every time a Chinese made vape is mentioned folks condemn unknown materials and possible lead in the vape. What happens when an American mfg is using 'unknown' materials (no alloy numbers) and admits that they contain lead? Folks start running to defend lead in a vape. WTF is wrong here? :rolleyes:
Good Point



Purple-Days said:
ps note to mods: Shouldn't this subject be in the
General Vaporization Discussion
Vapor related but not model specific
area? not exactly off topic, Lounge material is it? :2c:
I think so
 

max

Out to lunch
Purple-Days said:
ps note to mods: Shouldn't this subject be in the
General Vaporization Discussion
Vapor related but not model specific
Yes it should (and now is), but sometimes, especially Sat. night at 10 PM, the forum may be unmoderated. :o :brow: ;)
 

lwien

Well-Known Member
Man, I smoked out of a brass ProtoPipe for years. Kinda scary now that I think about it.
 

duh

Well-Known Member
Glad this was moved. Brass isn't safe for cooking - we know that (my intro up top). The only real question is it safe for vaping.

Purple-Days said:
What is striking, after a year of following this forum? Every time a Chinese made vape is mentioned folks condemn unknown materials and possible lead in the vape. What happens when an American mfg is using 'unknown' materials (no alloy numbers) and admits that they contain lead? Folks start running to defend lead in a vape. WTF is wrong here? :rolleyes:
I suppose you don't watch American Idol either. :) Besides willful ignorance and buyer's remorse, we have an over-sensitivity to criticism. Granted, it didn't help a few slights and snubs are added (tho well deserved :lol:).

I don't suppose this thread will be closed as there is no definitive answer either way to "Is Brass Safe?" but there don't seem to be any brass apologists round' either.
 

tuttle

Well-Known Member
My point wasn't to say that brass is known to be 100% safe. I am also in no way defending lead in a vape. The issue I had was people tend to jump on a bandwagon with minimal information, in this case the presumption that brass is more of a hazard than other materials, and this precursory judgment may both falsely condemn one material while promoting another with no evidence of its superiority in regards to heath.

Brass is used extensively in both breathing and in potable water systems. Open almost any faucet in your house, guess what metal both the body and most likely the valve is made of. All of these are now made from one of the SeBiLOY types of brass, which has no lead intentionally added, and all are highly machinable (as a side note, you can't substitute molding for machining, the tolerances achievable by molding are no where close to those achievable by machining). As was previously pointed out, there are maximum allowable amounts due to the highly recyclable nature of the metal (0.1% in the case of SeBiLOY III), all of which surpass NSF Standard 61.

Is this less safe than say stainless steel? I don't think any of us can say with any authority what so ever (my applogies is someone here is in fact a metallurgist who is familiar with the chemical properties of cannabis vapor and its specific interactions with various metals). Stainless contains a high amount of hexavalent chromium (of "Erin Brockovich" fame). Is that chromium likely to be liberated in the vaporizing process? Probably not, but I don't know.

Risk aversion is good, but you also have to be realistic as to what is a risk and what isn't. It is easy to avoid brass in vaporizers, so it isn't hard to make that choice. My point is don't feel a false sense of security because you gave up one material for another with the same unknown health risks when used in a vapor path, because to the best of my knowledge no studies exists for any of these metals for this application.
 

lwien

Well-Known Member
tuttle said:
Is this less safe than say stainless steel? I don't think any of us can say with any authority what so ever (my applogies is someone here is in fact a metallurgist who is familiar with the chemical properties of cannabis vapor and its specific interactions with various metals). Stainless contains a high amount of hexavalent chromium (of "Erin Brockovich" fame). Is that chromium likely to be liberated in the vaporizing process? Probably not, but I don't know.

.......My point is don't feel a false sense of security because you gave up one material for another with the same unknown health risks when used in a vapor path, because to the best of my knowledge no studies exists for any of these metals for this application.
But stainless steel is used in cooking appliances and cooking utensils in just about every high-end restaurant in the world and is exposed to much higher temps than we experience in vaping. If there was as issue with stainless steel, wouldn't it have already come to light ?

I know. New discoveries come to light all the time, but the problem in using that as an argument is that we shouldn't believe anything about anything......ever.
 

tuttle

Well-Known Member
lwien said:
But stainless steel is used in cooking appliances and cooking utensils in just about every high-end restaurant in the world and is exposed to much higher temps than we experience in vaping. If there was as issue with stainless steel, wouldn't it have already come to light ?

I know. New discoveries come to light all the time, but the problem in using that as an argument is that we shouldn't believe anything about anything......ever.
And brass is used in commercial applications, home water supplies, and even hospitals around the world in items such as oxygen regulators. :)

I guess what bugs me about this discussion on this particular board is that what originally drew me to this place is that for the most part people were highly objective in the advice that they gave. When a subjective opinion was given, it was clearly labeled as such. Saying emphatically that brass is clearly more harmful than other metals with out any research or data to substantiate that claim for me doesn't uphold the high standards for objectivity that have been set and self regulated by the fine members of this forum. I think it is great to have a discussion about the safety or lack thereof when using brass for vapes, I just don't want people to automatically jump into the "it's bad" camp without thinking about both sides of the issue. People here are holding brass to an extremely high standard, higher than the US government, and heath care professionals. Is the same being done for the other materials suggested as a substitute?

I recognize that I am pretty much the sole contrarian on this issue. I know I am not changing many (or any) minds, and I am certainly not begrudging anyone for making the personal choice not to use brass. I can understand the uncertainly. I am simply hoping that we don' legitimize the type of argument seen in the "Canos are the best because nothing is better and that is a fact" camp, no matter how it is applied, be it to vaporizers or metals.
 

Beezleb

Well-Known Member
Tuttle, I appreciate your input. l am with you not directly harming other vape models since we do not have a matter of fact finding on the subject and others have felt that way too and as such the initial discussion was changed to its own thread from a specific vaporizer thread.

So I would say the forum has maintained its integrity. While some posters may be more vocal than others it does not mean that they represent anything other than their own view so I would not take too much levity from it.

You spoke your mind, explained your position and that is all you can do and it is apprecriated. The fact that these vaporizers reported an increase in sales since we started discussing the issue of some vaporizers their sales have reportedly increased dramatically so I would say its a fair bet that many people have read the thread and felt like you do in that is not so big a deal.

Its simply a personal choice that each consumer makes for themselves. By your discussion it can help people be more informed about the vaporizer for which they are choosing. Dont get discouraged by opposing views, it is a good thing. People can generally tell the difference between fact and opinion and they can weigh that for themselves based on their own values. I believe it makes a more informed and thus a healthier vaporizer market overall.
 

duh

Well-Known Member
tuttle said:
Saying emphatically that brass is clearly more harmful than other metals with out any research or data to substantiate that claim for me doesn't uphold the high standards for objectivity that have been set and self regulated by the fine members of this forum.
You have got that right: high standards. You have come to a board where people vape plant material that is in the 'dark sciences' ala harry potter - this is not respected - these ppl are trying to get 'effects' :D. This is also why everyone here is an "aromatherapy abuser" a line you hear often as our ;) ;) workaround in speech. Asking this kind of question (is brass safe?) is critical to thoughtful consideration - or should we just fall single file behind the vape line leader?

tuttle said:
People here are holding brass to an extremely high standard, higher than the US government, and heath care professionals.
Tuttle - there are no standards for vaping anywhere, let alone for a material known to have issues w/human internals. So yes, we are trying to be some pioneers and use what little brains have or can borrow or can google to get answers. The closest we have is the 'FC seal-of-approval' aka vapes that are popular on this board.

"New" generally sucks, i.e. is not healthy. The list is long from early romans eating off lead plates to BPA and corn syrup. I am glad the brass vaporizers are selling for those that know the danger but proceed anyway, however, I would never count myself in that particular guinea pig line.
 

vap999

Well-Known Member
Obviously, it is best to avoid brass in vapes, if only because it's lead content causes fear, confusion, etc. Zero tolerance and presence of any toxic substance is always best.

As far as I am aware, inhalation of lead vapor in brass foundry workers (around open vats of molten brass) and even among hobbyists melting lead, e.g., making their own bullets, is not associated with lead toxicity. Lead simply does not vaporize well, even when in molten liquid state; and particularly not as a solid at the standard oven-like (e.g. 400-500?F) degrees encountered in vaporizers. Higher temperatures (much higher) and anything causing particulates for inhalation are toxicity hazards, e.g., lead vaporized and particles from firing bullets; and any oral ingestion of lead-containing compounds.

Many hair dyes used to hide grey hair, e.g. Grecian Formula, use water-soluble lead acetate (or other salts) as their active agents, with lead molecules binding to hair protein and darkening it. In many respects, this could be considered a worse case type exposure. Yet, these products are marketed and generally considered safe (although this has been debated for decades), with lead negligibly or simply not at all diffusing through the skin.

People have been using brass for centuries, and it is still widely used in hookas and smoking apparatus (mostly for tobacco, in a global context), with the brass exposed to much, much higher temperatures than vaping,. And people also have been putting brass in their mouths for centuries, e.g.. horns and other brass musical instruments.

We would surely know if there were a hazard from lead inhalation from heated brass or from general handling of brass. If nothing else, anti-smoking activists, both those against tobacco and cannabis, would be continually harping on brass pipes (probably the most popular types of non-wood pipes, especially for cannabis) as being health hazards.
 

duh

Well-Known Member
vap999 said:
We would surely know if there were a hazard from lead inhalation from heated brass or from general handling of brass.
Your evidence to support this claim is where? Quite the opposite, if there were any hazard, however mild, it is much more likely to be unreported - a lot of these vapes are sold as 'novelty/gag items' and/or 'heater parts' - few will admit to breathing through such. No one is saying the safety of the brass in question would result in toxic death - I think we are just trying to split hairs and see is it safe at all?

Women working on bombers in wwii used to paint radium eyebrows and mustaches on each other for fun. Just paint right? Later on, not so fun.
 

dw238

Well-Known Member
I'm on the edge of getting a Myrtlezap. I just don't want to wait 2+ months for a PD!

However, lead is a serious concern...so here are some thoughts from my research.


digglover said:
This document/experiment looks at leaded brass and heats it from room temperature to 526 degrees Celsius.
Out of the 3 samples, the highest % of lead was 0.05 and the lowest was 0.001

They don't specify any of the types of brass or anything so take it for what its worth but it is food for thought.

http://pubs.acs.org/appl/literatum/...967.12.issue-1/je60032a030/je60032a030.fp.png

So I guess one way you could look at this is... Let's say the myrtlezap has 2 oz of brass in it... At most 0.1 oz of lead could become loosened. Lead's boiling point is 1749 C. So I doubt it could actually be inhaled in vapor because it is heavy and because it won't have even reached boiling temps. Maybe? I'm just sort of mucking around so if someone smarter has input that'd be great :)...


I'm personally in the camp that would be fine with a brass vape but that is just me being carefree :lol:
This is an interesting post that got me thinking.

Going with the 2 oz of brass and at most 0.05% yielding 0.1 oz of brass, I wanted to know what level of lead in your blood will give you lead poisoning.

Wiki Lead Poisoning - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning#Exposures_and_demographics

So 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood is what we should stay under to as lead poisoning begins at that point. To get 10 micrograms per deciliter into our blood(we have about 5 Liters of blood) from 0.1 oz of brass...

0.1 oz * 28 grams/oz = 2.8 g of Pb(lead)
2.8 g * 1,000,000 micrograms/g = 2,8000,000 micrograms of Pb
2,800,000 micrograms / 5 Liters of blood = 560,000 micrograms of Pb/Liter of blood
560,000 micrograms/Liter * 10 Deciliter/Liter = 5,600,000 micrograms per deciliter of blood


Of course that would require getting out all of the lead out of the brass....which isn't going to happen.



Another way(and probably more meaningful of a way) to look at it, is how much lead would have to be taken in to increase the Pb concentration in blood over 10 micrograms/deciliter.

10 micrograms/deciliter / 1,000,000 micrograms/g = 0.00001 g/deciliter of blood
0.00001 g/deciliter * 10 deciliter/liter = 0.0001 g/liter of blood
0.0001 g/liter * 5 liters of blood = 0.0005 grams of Pb

0.0005 g / 2.8 g * 100% = 0.0179%


So....if we have 0.1 oz of Pb we need to consume only 0.0179% to increase the lead concentration in our bloodstream to 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood assuming all consumed lead is absorbed by the body.





http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,20174650-2,00.html
Now, according to this article linked above, lead starts to vaporize at 752 degrees F. Lead vaporizes completely at 3180 degrees F according to Wiki. Given that...I don't quite see how we'ld get any lead in a vapor stream if the vaporizer remains below 400 degrees F.



Another thought, according to Wiki...lead is found in nature in either zinc, silver or copper. Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper. When a manuf says the brass has 0.05% lead, I believe that means that they add up to 0.05% lead to the alloy. I don't think that accounts for any lead that may be already present in the brass. At the same time, it is completely plausible that the zinc and copper used to make the brass has had the lead removed.





Given all of the above, I don't think brass being used in a vaporizer is an issue. My new paranoia however is getting lead poisoning from my drinking water...until 1988 lead solder was used on water pipes! That's not that long ago at all and I know not all piping has been replaced since then! Maybe it's time to drink only bottle water...
 

rotax

Zaporist
dw238 said:
I'm on the edge of getting a Myrtlezap. I just don't want to wait 2+ months for a PD!
Get one. :) I ordered early in the week, and got it the end of the week. Not bad at all IMO. Its SOOO efficient, both in herb consumption, and the effects given per dosage.

Maybe it's time to drink only bottle water...
People already are, and have been doing this! So, either we *potentially* infect ourselves by the drinking water from pipes. Or we *guarantee* an added pollution by drinking only bottled water.
In a deep enough sense, does it really matter. I know generally all humans tend to care about is damage done to our own person, but its not all that matters...when all matter matters.

Wow, and I'm not even an enviro nazi~ wheres this coming from? haha Could be due to the Mzap I spose. ;)
 

duh

Well-Known Member
I just saw someone posted in this thread and had to come in to see how this 'discussion' could possibly have come back alive! Hello dw238! Welcome to FC! It's always good to see new members post, glad to see you chose to make this thread your very first (and only so far) post!

As to digglover's "ev" - ROFLOL.

A study from the 60's? Are you serious? Any peer-reviewed stuff?

Another weak argument: "anti-smoking activists, both those against tobacco and cannabis, would be continually harping on brass pipes ... as being health hazards." Yeah, because anti-smoking activists are always looking out for the health of smokers? You are buying a novelty item that isn't 'designed' for your purpose. Maybe you should trust the State more as well - they also have your best intentions at heart. :lol:

If this whole discussion is down to waiting for 2 months on a PD - it's a very poor sales pitch for a *Zap and one I trust our lurkers will see past. Go to VapeNow and get on that waiting list and get an MF-LB (also brass-free) while you are waiting to keep you company. Oh, and get some good, clean drinking water while you are at it! :D
 

digglover

Well-Known Member
I just think this brass thing is overblown is all and I was posting some stuff I came across online.

I'm also pretty sure the study I linked to is peer reviewed as it was published in the journal of chemical and engineering data. And yes it is from the 60s, but age does not simply refute facts. Just because we discovered penicillin in 1928 does not all of a sudden make it worthless because its "outdated."

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/je60032a030

What I'm getting at is that just because its a 40 year old study doesn't mean it is not accurate - After all, the second most cited article in their journal is a study from 1967 ( http://pubs.acs.org/action/showMostCitedArticles?journalCode=jceaax&cookieSet=1 ).

Again take the info for what you will, but I don't particularly appreciate having the research I brought forth misrepresnted as inaccurate and out of date when in reality, it seems to be sound from my point of view. I think the burden of proof is on you as I have presented evidence while you have brought none to the table.

I should probably just chill out and vape a bowl, but unfortunately I've got a drug test tomorow and I'm over a month sober :o.
 

duh

Well-Known Member
digglover, you are hurting (no vaping for a month!??). doh! Bet you can't wait to finish that test. :p

I'll cite Tom's evidence from NASA (dated post-space flight era ;)) on brass's ill effects and lack of longitudinal safety. I agree about Penicillin's usefulness but as I said at the top, 300 years of brass coffee makers don't justify using it anymore - we have moved on. I'd rather use only materials that we know are ok in the human body (i.e. stainless 304).

The reason I opened this thread is not because I was confused about the question. I think it is pretty clearly already answered. Still, I understand if some want to persist in believing the world is flat, cigarettes are safe, despite the warning label and that brass is safe - especially if they are an owner or maker. :brow:
 

digglover

Well-Known Member
I am dying to take that test. Plus I was fasting today - Probably put me in a bad mood.

But to each his own - I will concede though that if I had to pick between a brass and a non-brass vape I would definitely choose the non-brass.
 
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