I don't want to get back on topic until there is actual news from Hyperkin.
You can get Silicosis (silica crystals in your lungs) from clay, or is that different from ceramics?
I like my silicon doing electronic things.
Certainly Lead is dangerous for children's developing brains, and in large amounts dangerous for adults.
I don't think an adult soldering with leaded solder is harmful enough to be a concern. Alcohol drinking is probably more brain damaging.
Yeah, in college we wore loose fitting dust masks, used an air hose on shelves, and dry swept the studio. It is now recommended that only wet cleaning is performed. IE mop floors and use a damp rag to wipe tables. Wet clay is non-toxic and poses zero occupational health hazard. Lead free / cadmium / barium free glazes pose little hazard when wet, but care must be taken when mixing dry glaze or powdered slip clay. Likewise if you are carving greenware with tools to provide relief texture, best to do it when leatherhard as opposed to bone dry.
As for the old leaded glazes, the lead was rarely used as a pigment but fritted PbO improved flow characteristics and yielded a high gloss. Fritted lead posed less occupational hazard to ceramicists than raw PbO, however lead could still leech from improperly formulated glazes on dinnerware vases. Distilled vinegar is used to test for leeching. The pot or vessel is glazed internally then stored filled with vinegar inside a sealed container for a month. The vinegar is then tested for presence of lead acetate. Sodium hydroxide is added to neutralize the ph of the acetic acid. Lead hydroxide and other heavy metal hydroxides precipitates out of solution and are collected for analysis. If the occurance of lead is greater than xxx parts per million in solution, then the pot is not food safe.
A bigger issue is that when low fire lead glazes are improperly fired to high fire temperatures (cone 6 to cone 10), the PbO volatizes and fuses into kiln brick, also escapes through the kiln vent and can settle on any surface in the vicinity of the studio. Said kiln is now contaminated, and even firing ware with food safe glazes, lead volatizes in the kiln atmosphere and settles on the surface of the glazed ware, where it is most easily leachable. Used kilns may be contaminated with lead and need to be fired completely empty to cone 6 or higher, outside the studio with all vent holes open. This will allow most of the contaminantion to volatize and escape into the atmosphere.
Lead oxide has almost been phased out completely in commercial formuations by substituting other glass forming oxides. Borate forms Borosillicate (pyrex) which have excellent flow characteristics with high gloss (though not quite as glossy as lead due to lower refractive index) good fit for most clay bodies, and superior resistance to thermal shock or crazing. Leaded ceramics will not be missed.
Leaded solder on the other hand, has no good substitute for hand soldering. The rohs compliant stuff is shit. It won't flow onto the component leads at all, no matter how much flux I use. I get cold joints all day long with that crap. Another food for though is lead really doesn't volatize at all at the 375 degrees F needed to melt solder. This is a far cry from the 2000+ F temps a kiln endures.
Sorry for the ot discussion. Cheers...