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#2993320 06/20/20 09:59 AM
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So at this point everyone has seen Dark Waters (2019 film). Dupont basically lied/covered up about how toxic Teflon is, birth defects, cancer etc etc. Settled with $671 Million dollar class action payout.

Teflon goes under other names, PTFE, fluropolymer, tetrafluoroethylene, many many others.

It seems, in pianos, teflon products, especially the powder is widely used. Now, the gels and greases are probably fine because they stay in place. But with the powder, inevitably the vibrational characteristics of the piano box would aerosolize some of the fine particles.

What are the alternatives to teflon powder ?

Last edited by jeffcat; 06/20/20 10:01 AM.
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The toxicity is in the manufacture of teflon. Once created, Teflon is inert in your body. If you do burn it, the gases are bad.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The toxicity is in the manufacture of teflon. Once created, Teflon is inert in your body. If you do burn it, the gases are bad.

Yes. It is used in medical devices implanted into the body. There has been no evidence of toxicity.

Also, the evidence I have observed is that pianos collect dust -- not releasing it -- and don't emanate dust into the environment.


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Here in the old hang town area of the California foothills, Teflon occurs naturally and can be found everywhere easily in the stuff we call “greenstone”.
The problem is that asbestos also occurs on the same greenstone mixed in with the Teflon.
Also easily observable and abundant.
I believe that separating the two efficiently is what causes people to run around with their hair on fire.

As for alternate lube for the moving parts in the piano how about starting with correct fit and friction before considering seeing any lube?


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The toxicity is in the manufacture of teflon. Once created, Teflon is inert in your body. If you do burn it, the gases are bad.

That is not true, Many of these chemicals are now listed under Group 2B carcinogens, as possibly carcinogenic to humans (testicular/kidney in this case). Based on <currently> limited evidence. In time, it may be elevated to a higher group.

But my point is, why play politics/ industry propoganda, There must be other slippery things we can use.

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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Yes. It is used in medical devices implanted into the body. There has been no evidence of toxicity.

Also, the evidence I have observed is that pianos collect dust -- not releasing it -- and don't emanate dust into the environment.

Again, Completely untrue.

" Exposure to C8 in drinking water is linked to six different diseases: kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, preeclampsia and high cholesterol "

It's not inert, and Dupont knew it.

https://www.organicconsumers.org/blog/devil-we-know-how-dupont-poisoned-world-teflon

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Originally Posted by jeffcat
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The toxicity is in the manufacture of teflon. Once created, Teflon is inert in your body. If you do burn it, the gases are bad.

That is not true, Many of these chemicals are now listed under Group 2B carcinogens, as possibly carcinogenic to humans (testicular/kidney in this case). Based on <currently> limited evidence. In time, it may be elevated to a higher group.

But my point is, why play politics/ industry propoganda, There must be other slippery things we can use.

You are again talking about the manufacture process. As Ed wrote, teflon powder is inert. So yes, danger exists during the making, but no danger using or leaving in a piano. By the article you quote, you seem to be the one bringing politics and propaganda into the discussion.

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Originally Posted by RonTuner
Teflon powder is inert. So yes, danger exists during the making, but no danger using or leaving in a piano. By the article you quote, you seem to be the one bringing politics and propaganda into the discussion.

Just read this quick synopsis to the movie, Dark waters

It's clearly not safe to ASSUME anything. You don't trust a the guy that's clearly lied about their product.

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C8 is a chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon. It is not Teflon.

Hydrogen and Oxygen are used in the making of dihydrogen oxide, with the formula H2O, also known as water. Hydrogen is a gas. Hydrogen burns explosively. Oxygen is a gas. It favours combustion. Too much in your lungs is poisonous, and in its O3 form, Ozone, it is very poisonous. The properties of water are completely different from those of its two components. Water too, of course, can kill. Its deadly, and its hard to avoid, since 79 percent of the planet is covered in it.

Talc is an alternative dry lubricant to Teflon powder, but its not as effective and its not good to inhale or otherwise ingest it.

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Talc often carries with it asbestos, inhaling it is a known cause of lung disorders.

Again, once teflon is made, it is inert to seemingly all biological processes. Not to say a nasty biofilm couldn't take root on it in the "proper/wrong" conditions. Probably could get barnacles to stick to it.


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Regardless if Teflon is toxic or not, it's an ancient technology as far as i'm concern. Other industries need far slippery products that last longer too. I use a product that removes 5-7 grams of friction on the average and makes the keyframe slide in and out like its on air.
Unbelievable what they got out there these days. Sorry, can't reveal at this time.

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Years ago I tuned for a couple with two young girls (now grown up and left home) who were learning piano. The husband worked for IBM (they had a huge manufacturing and design facility here). He had expertise in plastics and synthetic materials, and had previously been tasked with finding a way to recycle old plastic materials and re-use them, which he did. I asked him about Teflon powder and its safety, showing him the tub, and he said "That'll not do you any harm". He emphasised the word "you". I think this probably reflected the knowledge that some had been harmed by careless manufacturing controls, but that the finished product was safe.

If a person is so repelled by past irresponsibility of a company that they do not want to use any of the company's products, that is a personal choice. But it would not be fair to claim that because the manufacturing process had harmed some, all the finished products are dangerous.

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Jeff,

Soapstone is an excellent alternative for you and is readily available in stick form at the hardware store. Has been used for centuries. I know of no associated health risks.

Pwg


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As some have mentioned, PTFE is remarkably inert and used in the body and in medical devices. However, I do wonder about the powder--it is incredibly fine, and can surely be inhaled into the lungs. I wonder if it has the potential to stay in the lungs for a long time, and potentially cause problems not due to toxicity, but rather due to its physical presence. I have not read anything to suggest such problems, so I'm just thinking out loud.

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I would think that it is unwise to inhale substantial quantities of ANY powdered substance. The lungs are not meant to have particles of powder in them.

I think Teflon powder might be safer in that respect than talcum powder. The quantities of Teflon powder likely to be inhaled in piano work must surely be absolutely tiny. Whereas some people slap on talcum powder all over, after a shower or bath.

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I don't worry about inhaling the slightest of dusting of Teflon microfine powder that might get airborne with enough velocity to be inhaled. It would get stuck in the mucous quite easily. I wouldn't start snorting it like cocaine though. (I don't snort cocaine either.)


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The two lowest dry coefficient of friction materials known are aluminum magnesium boride and tungsten disulfide. Better than Teflon, better than diamond like carbon, better than molybdenum disulfide.

Tungsten disulfide can be easily found for a reasonable price online smile

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Perhaps this would be a good thread in which to discuss other lubricants that may not be all that familiar to the piano-tech community, but have be real merit. I'd like to nominate two. First, McLube Sailkote. This is a spray-on lube that works really well and can be used on felts and knuckles without fear of gumming them up. It is more lubricious than McLube 444, and its MSDS is less scary. I have used it on knuckles instead of powdered Teflon, and it has provided lower friction, FWIW. The second item isn't a lube per se, but a material--UHMW PE, which stands for ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. It is a remarkable material. It's almost as lubricious as PTFE, but, in addition, has astonishing wear and abrasion resistance. The auto industry uses it in various ways, and it is available in tapes of various thickness that have acrylic adhesives. Cross linked UHMW PE is used in artificial knees and hips. Capstans with a head made of this stuff would never wear and would have lubricity well beyond the most highly polished brass. If manufacturers would embed strips of this stuff where the keyframe sits on the keybed, lubrication would never be needed, and the key frame would slide so easily. There are surely a number of places in the action and perhaps case parts where this material could potentially be used profitably.

Somewhat off topic, but the piano industry seems not to have taken advantage of plastic/metal bearing technology. For example, see https://www.igus.com/info/plain-bearings-replace-metal-bearings-ca. Such bearings would be a natural for the main damper-rail pivots, and also in the pedal assembly. These bearing are often configured with zero clearance, and therefore won't rattle or vibrate.

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UMHWPE exhibits creep, that's why it's not used in bushings. Teflon pads have a great coefficient of friction, but they have very poor wear resistance. I think WNG bushings are supposed to be some kind of nylon based formulation.

The metal capstan on felt is actually not that bad for what it is. Some MoS2, WS2, Teflon, or silicone will reduce friction, felt wear, and brass corrosion (this is not a problem with WNG aluminum capstans).

Traditionally for sliding surfaces, you want two hard surfaces (so asperities don't catch each other) and then something slippery on the surface layer to lower the coefficient of friction. As far as natural fibers go, the keratin in wool is reasonably tough stuff.

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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Jeff,

Soapstone is an excellent alternative for you and is readily available in stick form at the hardware store. Has been used for centuries. I know of no associated health risks.

Pwg

I'm not sure how you would use soapstone as a lubricant but do you mean powdered soapstone or solid soapstone that you grind or carve etc?

I ask because the part of soapstone that provides lubrication is it's talc content. Because it is soft it is easily carved but there are warnings among carvers that some soapstone also contains silica which *is* dangerous and can cause silicosis when inhaled. That would suggest it is likely much safer to use talcum powder rather than grind up soapstone.

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