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Danger of bronze and brass?

Hello everyone,

I would like to work in bronze and brass but I am concerned about the zinc and tin. I know melting zinc can lead to metal fume fever, is this the same for tin? Is there any other more serious danger associated with melting tin and zinc? Is a respirator enough or is more required? Is any of this even necessary at all? Thanks for any input.

Argentum Moon

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I have worked with brass, nickel-silver, and copper for over 40 years and have not found any serious danger to it. I have not done casting, but for hard soldering and brazing, the usual respirators should be enough. Metal fume fever comes from melting larger volumes of the alloys and not having a fan (or something) to draw the fumes away (+ wearing a respirator). I love making jewelry with these base metals. If you prefer larger pieces, as I do, base metal is both affordable and beautiful.
Judy Bjorkman

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I have worked as a metalsmith for decades, doing much casting and raising. Zinc is unique as an alloy ingredient because it has a low melting point and a low boiling point; hence it vaporises very easily in alloys and can give rise to ‘metal fume fever’ if you don’t have some ventilation (although it has usually oxidised to white zinc oxide fume). Tin is equally unique; it has a low melting point and a very high boiling point, with a low vapour pressure; so you absolutely never have problems from vapour with tin bronzes!