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Thread: Cost of 'lead-free' (or < 300 ppm) building wire

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  1. #1
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    Cost of 'lead-free' (or < 300 ppm) building wire

    Does anyone have experience with the cost implications of specifying electrical wire and cable with lead content less than 300 parts per million? Very few manufacturers of common building wire like THHN/THWN seem eager to address lead content in their literature so I have no idea how rare or expensive lead-free wire would be.

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    No, and I never will. What a ridiculous concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteamDonkey View Post
    Does anyone have experience with the cost implications of specifying electrical wire and cable with lead content less than 300 parts per million? Very few manufacturers of common building wire like THHN/THWN seem eager to address lead content in their literature so I have no idea how rare or expensive lead-free wire would be.
    Why should I be worried one way or the other?
    Tom
    TBLO

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    All the THHN I see now has "LEAD FREE" prominently displayed on the jacket. Am I missing something here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter d View Post
    All the THHN I see now has "LEAD FREE" prominently displayed on the jacket. Am I missing something here?
    I always thought the lead was in the insulation. I could be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by packersparky View Post
    I always thought the lead was in the insulation. I could be wrong.

    Yes, that's right, lead was used in insulation but is not any longer. There is no lead in the copper. Copper must be 99.9% pure to be electrically conductive. So where else would the lead be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by packersparky View Post
    I always thought the lead was in the insulation. I could be wrong.
    NO. It is about the conductive material. However, it is possible to have lead in the curing component of a vulcanized product but rare.
    *All code responses are based on the 2017 National Electrical Code®[NEC®]

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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterTheNEC View Post
    NO. It is about the conductive material. However, it is possible to have lead in the curing component of a vulcanized product but rare.
    All documentation I've been able to find indicates the opposite. The lead in building wire is found in the lead-based heat stabilizers in PVC insulation.

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    I agree that the lead is not in the wire. This may be outdated but from the Cerrowire website:

    Polyvinyl Chloride Compounds
    Dispose of the THHN insulating material utilizing the correct procedures as required by EPA and DOT due to its Lead and Antimony Trioxide content.

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    Now that you mention it I kind of remember a fuss being made several years ago over the lead compound in CAT5 PVC jackets. You were warned to wash your hands after handling it and before eating or smoking. I would imagine a problem if the stuff burns.

    -Hal

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