October 22, 2018

UK training provider promotes use of lead-based solder

BPEC, ‘an industry-leading provider of qualifications, assessments and learning materials’, appear to condone the use of lead solder in their training materials.

In a their publication ‘Essential Plumbing Skills Development for Copper Pipe Installation’ (page 7), which can be seen by clicking the link or the excerpt below, BPEC state that “leaded solder is beneficial to achieve early success in soldering until you get used to controlling heat and flame”. 

BPEC, ‘an industry-leading provider of qualifications, assessments and learning materials’.

They do mention that it shouldn’t be used for drinking-water supplies, but this is still insufficient for the following reasons:

First of all, the use of lead should never be condoned – especially not in a training environment. This sets a terrible example to students, as they will never respect the danger of using lead in plumbing systems if it is seen as accepted practice in a college setting. The use of lead-based solder is illegal and highly dangerous, as pointed out by almost every public health body in the world, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Second, BPEC appear to tout the benefits of using lead-based solder, implying that it is easier to use, which certainly gives off the wrong impression.

It begs the questions: which colleges are still using lead solder in the UK and is this accepted? We look forward to responses.

This case shows the vital need for proper training in plumbing. And it is testament to the fact that the dangers of lead are often massively understated in training contexts in the UK and worldwide.

We are registered with the WHO lead prevention week. But there needs to be more action to promote a lead-free future.

5 Comments on “UK training provider promotes use of lead-based solder

Simon Reddy
October 23, 2018 at 10:46 am

The comment section on this post is open.

Michael Walton
October 24, 2018 at 8:38 am

There is no valid reason for using lead solder in plumbing of any description. The sooner it is taken off sale the better.

October 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Very informative and surprising results!

Mr Paul Daley
October 24, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Having experienced 1st hand good and bad FE, things tend not to surprise me. However this SHOCKS ME. No one is exempt from The Water Supply (water fittings) Regulations 1999, absolutely know one. Over the years I’ve seen plenty of breaches, some of these in buildings that are only a couple of years old. I’ve had tutors challenge me saying they are exempt because they are a training establishment. You are not exempt, you can not put the public water supply at risk of contamination. You must have appropriate backflow protection installed which is equal to or greater than the risk you wish to demonstrate. It’s as simple as that. Finally LEAD Solder has no place in a UK training establishment, with the exception of being put on display accompanied by a huge sign saying “Banded for use on potable water” along with a few example so the apprentices can see what it looks like.

June 3, 2019 at 8:46 am

Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks


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