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Also, thoughts on playing bare brass or bare bronze mouthpieces? I know a few makers sell them as such.
 

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yes, discussed before, not a real problem California is the only place in the world that has banned brass in some appliances because of infinitesimal lead contents. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/21/...nias-lead-protect-consumers-sovern/index.html

these are some of the many threads which periodically bring this up


https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?62057-Poison-Mouthpieces

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?172505-Brass-Mpc-health-hazard

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?93837-Bare-BRASS-on-mouthpiece-a-health-hazard

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?998-Brass-poisoning

and more...


I think a qualified opinion says a lot


Much as I respect Paul Coats for his saxophonic contributions, I was dismayed to read this. Does Paul give any scientific basis (or references) for his statement?

I have investigated this issue myself in the past and have found no reason to worry. You may do similar searches yourself - look for MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for brass. The greatest hazard, as I interpret the data, is from free-maching brass - brass that contains lead to make chips release more easily when turned or drilled. Even for that instance, if one performs diffusivity calculations for lead diffusing to the surface, it is very difficult to generate detectable amounts of lead in anything less than a geological period of time.

That said, some people are sensitive to brass. You'll know if you are one because you will probably have already suffered blisters or similar outbreaks on your skin from casual contact with bare brass on a hardward fitting or musical instrument.

Please let us know if you find anyone with hard facts to the contrary. I've been watching this issue with interest for a great many years because I am both a saxophone player and a materials scientist.
 

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And to add to Dr Gs debunking, generally brass pieces get plated, which places another barrier layer between you and the brass,

Besides, I dont know about you but I try to blow through the mouthpiece and not suck, so hopefully Im not ingesting too much of anything anyway. ( I do suck, but not in that way!)

As as side note many of the people who react to "brass" are possibly having an allergic reaction to the Nickel underplating.

I am also a sax player with a background in materials science.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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And to add to Dr Gs debunking, generally brass plated peices get plated, which places another barrier layer between you and the brass,

Besides, I dont know about you but I try to blow through the mouthpiece and not suck, so hopefully Im not ingesting too much of anything anyway.

As as side note many of the people who react to "brass" are possibly having an allergic reaction to the Nickel underplating.

I am also a sax player with a background in materials science.
I used to play a gold plated copper mouthpiece in the 90's. Never used a tooth patch and over the 7 years I wore right though the gold and into a good chunk of the copper. I always wondered where that copper went and if it was bad for me.......
 

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I used to play a gold plated copper mouthpiece in the 90's. Never used a tooth patch and over the 7 years I wore right though the gold and into a good chunk of the copper. I always wondered where that copper went and if it was bad for me.......
In general, copper is beneficial. In the absence of other health issues once you reach a threshold you liver takes care of any excess and its excreted through your bile system.
 

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Thanks. Theo and Jody may want to sue these people then, if that's the case.
 

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Thanks. Theo and Jody may want to sue these people then, if that's the case.
While it was well meaning, Prop 65 is a regulatory pain in the arse for all kinds of businesses Im afraid. You can test your product and prove that there is no free lead leaching out, but its still safer (according to corporate legal advice) to set up the labelling in order to head of speculative law suits filed by unscrupulous lawyers looking for a settlement. At present there are over 900 chemicals listed under the prop 65 legislation. Its even more of a pain when your product is sold through distribution channels and you dont ultimately know who it goes to or where they are located!

You'll notice that the incriminating mouthpiece list linked to in the link above gives no indication of actual lead levels found, or how much of the lead in the material might be expected to make it out into the end user environment... Thats the stupidity of setting an absolute "zero" threshold with no thought for real world conditions.
 

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I can't play brass pieces. I get reactions ranging from a swollen face to just a tingling mouth.

My problems began when I got a bare brass Dukoff short shank. Up until that point I had mainly played metal mouthpieces. But shortly after getting that Dukoff, my face completely swelled up. I then got it gold plated and all was fine for a couple of years. Then that plating started to wear away and I started to to get a numbing reaction. I got the piece replated again, but since then I can't play brass pieces at all, plated or not.
 

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Searching on the CEH site I found this in a Oct 2011 report:

“Under California law, consumers must be warned when businesses expose them to excessive levels of any chemical, like lead, that is known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. The state’s safety standard allows no more than 0.5 micrograms (ug) of lead exposure (per day), but we found one item at Disneyland that can expose children to 700 times that much lead.

We notified Disney of our findings in December 2010, hoping that the company would take quick action to protect the millions of children who visit their parks. But nine months later, Disney has yet to act, despite our multiple legal requests to resolve these serious health hazards.”

This really seems over zealous but Califoria’s CEH maintains there is no safe level of lead exposure to children.

Personally, I’m not concerned about the minute levels of lead in some brass mouthpieces. For those that are, there are plenty of alternatives. I will not be surprised if warning labels start to show up on mouthpiece packaging though.
 

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Hence this kind of thing springing up...


A sign that tells you nothing about what might contain any (lead?) so you can avoid it, but which fulfills the legal requirement to warn people. As with all signs, ultimately its likely to just blend into the background and be ignored as the general public will become immune to the message being conveyed.
 

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What I've always been told (by mostly brass players) is that EXPOSED brass is unhealthy and adds up over time to brass poisoning, but you just need to replate a mpc to fix it.

On saxes, I've never heard a whisper of lead or brass poisoning concerns.
 

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What I've always been told (by mostly brass players) is that EXPOSED brass is unhealthy and adds up over time to brass poisoning, but you just need to replate a mpc to fix it.
Next time you hear it, ask why? Don’t accept “I read it on the ‘net” for an answer.

On saxes, I've never heard a whisper of lead or brass poisoning concerns.
It’s been discussed here many times - the concern, that is. So many times that I do appreciate those who take the time to copy and paste the previous answers.
 

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There is a marketing angle that has not been exploited. This mouthpiece is nutritious!
LOL, sure why not:) There are of lead free (in reality <100ppm) machining brasses that have been developed using Bismuth in place of Lead. I'd be surprised if someone isnt out there making mouthpieces from that and using the lead free material as a marketing selling point.

TBH Id be far more worried about lead leaching from brass plumbing fixtures than any exposure from a mouthpiece, and infinitely more worried about being run into by the many many fine South Carolina residents who still insist on texting while driving.
 

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Hence this kind of thing springing up...


A sign that tells you nothing about what might contain any (lead?) so you can avoid it, but which fulfills the legal requirement to warn people. As with all signs, ultimately its likely to just blend into the background and be ignored as the general public will become immune to the message being conveyed.
Now that you mention it, I did get cancer in my 20's and I did go to Disney Land in 8th grade!!
 

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Hence this kind of thing springing up...


A sign that tells you nothing about what might contain any (lead?) so you can avoid it, but which fulfills the legal requirement to warn people. As with all signs, ultimately its likely to just blend into the background and be ignored as the general public will become immune to the message being conveyed.
And you would think that, rather than just put up a sign, Disneyland would care enough about its visitors to actually remove the lead it was exposing people to. But no, it's easier to put up a sign.
 

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Next time you hear it, ask why? Don’t accept “I read it on the ‘net” for an answer.



It’s been discussed here many times - the concern, that is. So many times that I do appreciate those who take the time to copy and paste the previous answers.
Everyone knows a guy who got brass poisoning (apparently). From what I'm told (and read from this article) is long-term exposure causes a build-up. Symptoms *may* appear later, or right away, depends on the person. I have never had a situation where I personally have played on exposed brass, so the validity has never been a direct, immediate need. And if my students' brass mpcs are exposed brass, it's because they're been BEAT TO **** and need new ones anyways.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2506540/

Brass forums (in my quick search) talk about this at length.

Also, no whisper in real-life about saxes and lead poisoning for me.
 
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