Removing surface lead from brass
According to John Palmer in Appendix B - Brewing Metallurgy, surface lead can be removed from brass by the following technique:
I sorted out the bright and shiny parts, but about 10% of them darkened slightly turning the color of lightly weathered brass. Those parts had some darker tarnished mottling here and there too. So I repeated the procedure, this time leaving the parts for no more than 3 minutes. Again, the solution starting turning a dirty-bluish green color. The only change in appearance is that now some of the parts show a greenish cast; otherwise they are still have the slightly weathered look.
What gives? Will another cleaning be worthwhile, or will it only continue to turn the parts weathered and green?
The insides of these parts will be transporting hot wort or water. Even considering the number of fittings, there will be relatively little of the weathered/darkened/tarnished brass in contact with wort. I'm inclined to just use them as is.
A response on this site recommends re-accomplishing the procedure with fresh solution for any parts that have darkened.
I'm not convinced that any amount of passivation is required for fittings bought these days. AFAIK, anything sold for use with water must be lead free (defined by the EPA as less than 8% by weight).
Thanks Yuri. I've already done the procedure twice on the few parts that had the problem. All of my male quick-disconnect parts had the problem, one of the female parts, and a couple of compression fittings.
The female qd parts say "Made in USA" on them. The male parts don't indicate origin. I got them from More Beer. The compression fittings came from HD and are Taiwanese or Chinese in origin, as I recall from the packaging. Since all of these are routinely used for water connections, I think it is likely there is nothing to worry about, as you say.
I'll try it one more time on the darkened (dull looking) parts.
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