Colophony (Solder)

Super Categories

Subcategories

None

Known Synonyms

Abietic Acid
colcophony
Colophony
Pine Resin
Rosin
Solder
Solder Flux
solder fume
solder paste
Tall Oil

Authors

Sherwood Burge, Oasys Sherwood Burge

Colophony (or rosin as it is sometimes called) is a common cause of occupational sensitization. In the UK it ranks in the top five causes of occupational asthma and the top 10 causes of contact dermatitis. It is also a cause of rhinitis and eye irritation, and perhaps of headache and allergic alveolitis. It is an ‘old fashioned’ small molecular weight chemical used in the early days of the plastics industry as a basis for semisynthetic resins. It is derived from the resin of pine trees, either by direct tapping of the sap, by extraction from dead stumps (wood rosin), or from tall oil left over after paper manufacture (tall oil rosin); the latter two products tending to have more oxidised resin acids than native colophony. Colophony consists of a variable mixture of resin acids, some of which are relatively unstable, and a neutral fraction. Occupational asthma usually results from inhalation of the fume from heated colophony in soft soldering fluxes, or occasionally in hot melt glues or depilatory mixtures. However, cases have occurred in a chemical worker with colophony heated to 90º C and from unheated colophony dust. Colophony or colophony derivatives have caused occupational asthma when added as a deodorant to coolant oils and floor cleaning products. 

Nearly all of the workers who have asthma from colophony are exposed to solder flux fumes. Other workers at risk are beauticians, poulterers, welders and people working in the adhesives, paper and tyre industries. The introduction of non-colophony solder flux is an improvement but is not considered to be suitable for all jobs. Even where colophony free solder is used there is often de-soldering of old circuit boards, which still contain colophony. We have also seen a couple of workers with problems with the acid fluxes in the colophony free solder. Between 4 and 20% of exposed workers develop occupational asthma from colophony (depending on the literature).

Preventative measures include tip and local exhaust extraction and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Workers not directly exposed can be protected by enclosing areas where the colophony fume is produced.

Agent Colophony
Other Names
Rosin, Pine Resin, Abietic Acid, Solder Flux
Sources of Exposure
Electronic solderig fluxes, hot melt glues, surface coatings, metal working fluids, tackifiers for violin strings, tug of war ropes, boxers shoes and suchlike.
Jobs Solderers, bystanders in the electronic industry, gluers.
Epidemiological Studies
20% of shop floor workers have work related asthmatic symptoms in a factory manufacturing consumer electronics in the 1970's where individual soldering irons were not extracted. A study in a different factory where symptomatic workers were relocated away from exposure showed a much lower prevalence. Links to papers at bottom of page.
Air Measurements Resin acids in air by gas chromatography and flame ionisation, UK Work Exposure Limit (WEL) (valid when writen in 2009), 0.05 mg / m3. 15 minute time weighted average 0.15mg / m3. Previous exposure standards based on the aldehyde content of the fume are unreliable. Pengelly, Annals of Occupational Hygiene 1994; 38:765, link at bottom of page.
Specific IgE/ Skin prick test Generally not available but a method has been described where serum was tested for specific IgE antibodies against a protein extract produced following in vitro challenge of mono-mac-6 cells with colophony extract.Elms J, Occupational Medicine, 2005; 55: 234, link at bottom of page.
Biological Monitoring Possible but generally not available. Baldwin, Occupational Medicine, 2007; 57:362, link at bottom of page. Analysis requires hydrolising aliquots of urine at 90oc for one hour with concentrated hydrocholoric acid, followed by extraction into di-ethly ether and evaporated under nitrogen. The residue is then derived using methlylformamide dimethylacetal and analysed by gas chromatography and mass spectometry using positive electron impact ionisation and selective ion monitoring. An 8 hour exposure at 0.05mg/m3 equates to a post shift urinary dihydro abietic acid level of 2.8umol per mol of creatinine. A level below 3 umol per mol of creatinine has been suggested as a possible biological standard.
Specific Challenge Methods based on heating flux cored solder or colophony alone are well described. Burge PS, Harries MG, O'Brien IM, Pepys J, Bronchial provocation studies in workers exposed to the fumes of electronic soldering fluxes, Clin Allergy, 1980; 10 : 137-149. Link at bottom of page.
Early References
Pliny , Naturalis historica , pub Heineman London , 1952 ; XIV, ch XX : 77.
Fawcett IW, Newman Taylor AJ, Pepys J , Asthma due to inhaled chemical agents- fumes from Multicore soldering flux and colophony resin , Clin Allergy , 1976 ; 6 : 577-585.
Ozhiganova VN, Ivanova IS, Dueva LA , Bronchial asthma in radio equiptment assemblers , Sovetskaja Med Moscow , 1977 ; 4 : 139-141.
Substitutes Several have been tried. There are isolated case reports of occupational asthma with many but no large outbreaks.
Dodecanedoic acid
Adipic acid


References for: Colophony (Solder) See published papers on "Colophony (Solder)" from this website.
Haz-Map information on: Colophony (Solder) See information on "Colophony (Solder)" from the HazMap (Information on Hazardous Chemicals and Occupational Diseases) website.
Asmanet information on: Colophony (Solder) See information on "Colophony (Solder)" from the AsmaPro website (database of occupational asthma cases).

Oasys Notifications for Colophony (Solder)

The Oasys Audit scheme started midway through 2010 and collects agents typed in through the Oasys program. The years before 2010 show old data entered during 2010 or later and are likely to have many fewer notifications. We expect Oasys to become more widely adopted as time goes by so increasing notifications does not necessarily mean an increasing problem.

Occupational asthma notifications to the Oasys Audit Scheme for Colophony (Solder)

Selected References for Colophony (Solder)

Full Text Available for Specific IgE to colophony? Elms J, Fishwick D, Robinson E, Burge S, Huggins V, Barber C, Williams N, Curran A, Specific IgE to colophony?, Occup Med, 2005;55:234-237,
Joanne Harris-Roberts (nee Elms), HSL, Buxton, UK, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' Andrew Curran, HSL, Sheffield, UK, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' David Fishwick, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' Vicky Moore, Oasys, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' Nerys Williams, Department of Work and Pensions, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' Chris Barber, Health and Safety Laboratories, Buxton, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?' Ed Robinson, Health and Safety Laboratories, Buxton, UK, an author of 'Specific IgE to colophony?'

Abstract Available for Colophony hypersensitivity revisited Burge PS, Colophony hypersensitivity revisited, Clin Exp Allergy, 2000;30:158-9,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Colophony hypersensitivity revisited'

Abstract Available for Development of a method for measuring exposure to resin acids in solder fume Pengelly MI, Groves JA, Foster RD, Ellwood PA, Wagg RM, Development of a method for measuring exposure to resin acids in solder fume, Ann Occup Hyg, 1994;38:765-776,

No Abstract Available for Respiratory symptoms and lung function in a group of solderers Courtney D, Merrett JD, Respiratory symptoms and lung function in a group of solderers, Brit J Industr Med, 1984;41:346-351,

Full Text Available for Occupational asthma in a factory making flux-cored solder containing colophony Burge PS, Edge G, Hawkins R, White V, Newman Taylor AJ, Occupational asthma in a factory making flux-cored solder containing colophony, Thorax, 1981;36:828-834,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Occupational asthma in a factory making flux-cored solder containing colophony' Tony Newman Taylor, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, an author of 'Occupational asthma in a factory making flux-cored solder containing colophony'

Abstract Available for Bronchial provocation studies in workers exposed to the fumes of electronic soldering fluxes Burge PS, Harries MG, O'Brien IM, Pepys J, Bronchial provocation studies in workers exposed to the fumes of electronic soldering fluxes, Clin Allergy, 1980;10:137-149,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Bronchial provocation studies in workers exposed to the fumes of electronic soldering fluxes' Jack Pepys, Royal Brompton Hospital, an author of 'Bronchial provocation studies in workers exposed to the fumes of electronic soldering fluxes' Mark Harries, Brompton Hospital and Northwick Park, an author of 'Bronchial provocation studies in workers exposed to the fumes of electronic soldering fluxes'

Full Text Available for Occupational asthma in an electronics factory Burge PS, Perks W, O'Brien IM, Hawkins R, Green M, Occupational asthma in an electronics factory, Thorax, 1979;34:13-18,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Occupational asthma in an electronics factory' Warren Perks, Shrewsbury Hospital, an author of 'Occupational asthma in an electronics factory'

Abstract Available for Work-related respiratory disease in employees leaving an electronics factory Perks WH, Burge PS, Rehahn M, Green M, Work-related respiratory disease in employees leaving an electronics factory, Thorax, 1979;34:19-22,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Work-related respiratory disease in employees leaving an electronics factory' Warren Perks, Shrewsbury Hospital, an author of 'Work-related respiratory disease in employees leaving an electronics factory'

No Abstract Available for Bronchial asthma in radio equiptment assemblers Ozhiganova VN, Ivanova IS, Dueva LA, Bronchial asthma in radio equiptment assemblers, Sovetskaja Med Moscow, 1977;4:139-141,

No Abstract Available for Asthma due to inhaled chemical agents- fumes from Multicore soldering flux and colophony resin Fawcett IW, Newman Taylor AJ, Pepys J, Asthma due to inhaled chemical agents- fumes from Multicore soldering flux and colophony resin, Clin Allergy, 1976;6:577-585,
Jack Pepys, Royal Brompton Hospital, an author of 'Asthma due to inhaled chemical agents- fumes from Multicore soldering flux and colophony resin' Tony Newman Taylor, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, an author of 'Asthma due to inhaled chemical agents- fumes from Multicore soldering flux and colophony resin'

No Abstract Available for Naturalis historica Pliny, Naturalis historica, pub Heineman London, 1952;XIV, ch XX:77-7*,

Related pages for Colophony (Solder)

Occupational asthma: Case History: An electronics worker identified at health surveillance at work Case History: An electronics worker identified at health surveillance at work

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