Possible Work Place Allergy


May I please start a new thread “Work Place Allergies”?

I had three commissions with very close deadlines and have been in my studio
three and four hours a day non stop recently. All of the work has been
necklaces or bracelets requiring soldering of six or more “charms” and,
several hours in my large vibratory tumbler.

The past seven days my eyes have been swollen, red and weepy. I always wear
eye protection. My hands are in Handy Flux often. I use citric acid and
water for pickle. My torch is oxy-ac. I have a “24” fan vented to the
outside of my basement studio. I have never before experienced an allergy
in my studio. My studio is approximately 8’ x 10’.

I went to the local clinic in our CVS store. The nurse practitioner gave me an
RX for a conjunctivitis-type problem. The nurse checked her computer and said
she shows no reports of conjunctivitis in southern NH. She said my condition
appears an allergy even though I have not had a problem before.

Anyone know of allergies from several hours per day using Handy Flux and
citric acid? Many thanks.


1 Like

It’s not often that an allergy crops up without something new introduced to
your environment. New soap or moisturizer might do this. That said…
Go buy a bottle of Baby Shampoo. The No More Tears Kind. With your eyes
closed, gently wth warm water and the Baby Shampoo wash your eyelashes and
rinse thoroughly. Do that twice a day in addition to the meds she gave you.
Boil or wash in hot water and a little bleach your bath and hand towels.
Throw out any mascara, eye make, bar soap, or eye drops up you have and buy
Trust me on this. I’m not a doctor but I do play one on TV:-)
Actually my sweetie Timothy Green fought acute chronic conjunctivitis for
decades until our optometrist told us the Baby Shampoo trick. Works a
charm. Really
Hope you get better.

1 Like

certainly you can, and you did :slight_smile: An interesting topic I think!

THANK YOU !, Jo. I will try this as soon as I get back from
Art Basel, Miami.

Any other Orchidians going?

Best, MA

Sounds exactly like seasonal allergies (from trees and other plants). Especially if you have had winds like here–you could be getting pollen from something blooming even far away. No reason to assume it’s from work. You should see an allergist. Or at least a doctor!

Janet in Jerusalem

Have you eaten anything new lately? Or has the recipe/formulation of the food you eat changed? Many other types of allergies. If you have a pet, they could be exposed to some new allergen outside and bring it in. With a pet, you may have stroked them, then inadvertently touched your face. Like one poster said, got to an allergy specialist.

I have made jewelry for 40 years, I do not understand why your hands are in Handy flux?
Traditional use is application on the joint to be soldered with a natural bristle flux brush.
Good luck on resolution.


I buy 1 lb jars of Handy Flux. When I solder, I use a different plastic cup for each session of
soldering which may be one hour for a multi piece charm bracelet. I dilute the flux with small
amounts of distilled water to the desired consistency in a small plastic cup.

I am soldering several 7” charm bracelets with charms very close to each other. I flux the
join to solder, dip the remainder of the bracelet in a thin diluted flux. Each end of the bracelet
is held by a third hand. I squeeze, with my fingers, any extra flux back into the cup, not the jar,
for the remainder of the piece. After soldering each join, I quench with water and dip into citric
acid pickle for clean up. I am currently working on several charm bracelets. This is something I
was taught years ago to keep the jar of flux clean and separate, when soldering several small
pieces close together.

Other than using one of the new spot welders, which I do not own, do you know a better way for
close together soldering of multiple pieces?

Best, MA

It’s probably from soldering, you need more active ventilation. Please see http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/eis31.pdf
for info on cadmium which is an ingredient in solders. The flux burning off is also an eye irritant. Your ventilation fan needs to pull fumes away from you and not past your face. Look into getting a 4" ‘equipment fan’, it can sit right on the back of your soldering area on the bench… don’t point it toward a wall. Hope that helps!