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Metal finishing Q&As since 1989

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Toxicity of stainless and nickel silver flatware

Q. I've been trying to find information on the possible toxicity of stainless steel and hadn't had much success - came across your [Sarah Murray's] comment here and would like to know more.
Do you have any articles you can send me?
Also would like to find out about potential toxicity of titanium cookware - any info on that?

Ezra Billings
- Crandon, Wisconsin
April 9, 2024


Titanium Cookware
cookware_titanium
on eBay or

Amazon

(affil links)

A. Hi Ezra.

Sarah's posting was from 15 years ago, but we'll try to email her and see whether a response comes.

Camp cookware can be made of solid titanium. Kitchen cookware is more likely clad, with titanium on the surface and aluminum or stainless steel on the inside. A small amount of titanium may be used in 18/10 or 18/8 (Type 316) stainless steel as an alternative to the small amount of molybdenum usually used in it, and people then call it "Titanium Stainless Steel". So it can be tricky to know exactly what you're getting.

Titanium is quite expensive so if the cookware isn't expensive it may not actually be titanium. Titanium is very light, very inert, and safe.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey







⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩



Q. I am concerned about the toxicity in using my SOLID NICKEL SILVER Flatware set? Are there chemical reactions to particular foods? Can I use it safely, or should I dispose of this beautiful set? Thanks!

Nancy C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Terrebonne, Oregon
2003


Q. I see Nancy, in Terrebonne, OR, had the exact same question as me. In my case, I have 2 nickel silver forks I use for cooking as they are well balanced and long tined. Sometimes I can taste the copper. Is there any danger of toxicity from nickel silver?

Julia H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Seattle, Washington
2005


A. Hello, ladies. Nickel silver (also called German Silver) actually does not contain any silver -- it is a copper-nickel alloy. German Silver may also contain zinc. Copper and zinc are not considered "food-safe" materials. This doesn't mean that the flatware presents a serious hazard (as Paracelsus tells us, the difference between a medicine and a poison lies in the dose) -- but at best it may mean an unpleasant metallic taste as you have already noticed. These days nickel-silver is mostly used as the base for silverplate rather than as a final finish; and as a base it is a strong, attractive, all around great material. If you have old and very worn silverplated flatware, you may well be seeing and tasting the underlying nickel-silver.

I would suggest that you either retire them to a place where they can be shown off but not used or -- much better -- that you send them to a silver plating shop and have them silver plated. Then they will retain their beautiful shape and balance, and you will keep your memories, but they will now be food-safe and free of any taste.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. I'm in the process of designing cutlery right now and I was reading science journals, studies, on the toxicity of different metals. And it seemed that silver is quite dangerous, and I would have thought not safe for using as cutlery? Furthermore, the chances of zinc excess is very slim, given that it's only plating, and if anything, if you were to take any of the zinc in, it wouldn't do any harm, because a majority of people, in particular in America, have some degree of zinc deficiency. Surely zinc plating would be good to combat zinc deficiency if anything? It's not like the people would be taking in the amounts that would be contained in a single zinc tablets. Yes? No?

Michael Hood
- Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
April 22, 2008


A. Hi, Michael. Although you would not want to eat or drink soluble silver salts, silver metal is something different entirely. I don't believe that there is any danger whatsoever in solid silver flatware or silver plated flatware. People have been safely using it for centuries (make that millennia).

Zinc plating will prove highly unsatisfactory. The appearance will be terrible after exposure to foods, and the zinc will dissolve into strongly alkaline or strongly acidic foods. Whether enough zinc would dissolve to be a dietary issue is a subject for a dietitian, but getting your zinc from a dissolving finish on flatware sounds like a very poor dosing strategy :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 23, 2008


A. Concerning potential benefits of zinc-plating to increase zinc consumption in generally zinc-deficient populations: Zinc is the mineral with the lowest toxicity level, about 4 times the RDA (around 10 mg for an adult). Fortunately, it also has the mildest symptoms--vomiting etc. It usually occurs when one imbibes a great quantity of an acidic beverage in zinc-treated containers...think Planter's Punch made in a zinc-metal trash can at a college party. Of course, God only knows just what quantity zinc is leaching into the acidic beverage from our zinc-plated container. The best way to increase zinc consumption is through the diet, where dosage is naturally more predictable and toxicity highly unlikely. Good food sources of zinc are nearly always high protein foods--meats (particularly oysters) and to a lesser extent, legumes--and fortified cereals.

Cindy Walker
- Houston, Texas
June 3, 2008




!! Actually cutlery made from zinc-copper bronze would be the safest alternative to steel cutlery but nobody seems to make it. I work with a Doctor of Toxicology (Dr. Raymond Peat from Eugene Oregon) and he has been advising people avoid stainless steel with nickel in the form of pots, pans and cutlery for decades. To test your stainless ware for safety all you need to do is see whether a magnet sticks to it or not. If a magnet sticks then it is 'nickel free' stainless steel and therefore safer. Companies should list their stainless steel as either 18/10 / 18/8 or 18/0 (the 18 refers to the chromium content and the 10 or 8 or 0 refers to the nickel content) so if correctly labeled then 18/0 would be nickel-free and a magnet will stick. The reason companies use nickel is because it helps the stainless to retain the shine longer than without but this is at the cost of our health. Silver is toxic as a previous writer noted but does not present as much of a problem as nickel stainless steel in the form of cutlery.

Sarah Murray
- Whitethorn, California
December 16, 2009


A. Hi, Sarah. Thanks for the very interesting perspective on safety/toxicity, but that is not the reason that high quality stainless steel contains nickel. It contains nickel because this makes it far more rust resistant and corrosion resistant and almost non-magnetic. These pages are overflowing with complaints of rusty stainless flatware and stainless steel refrigerators as manufacturers switch from 18/10 or 18/8 to 18/0 for cost savings because of the high cost of nickel.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


"Nickel allergy"
by Jordan Taylor
nickel_allergy
on AbeBooks

or eBay or

Amazon

(affil links)

"Nickel in the Human Environment"
by International Agency for Research on Cancer
nickel_in_environment
on AbeBooks

or eBay or

Amazon

(affil links)

thumbs up sign Thank you for your reply, Ted. Well, that is one of the reasons they use nickel in stainless steel cutlery because it helps it to retain the shine longer...but if they want to use nickel in stainless steel appliances that are not touching our food then our health will not be compromised. It is a good thing for our health that the price of nickel is rising as companies are switching to nickel free stainless steel and so what if we eat a little rust, this is far less dangerous than the unseen toxic nickel...besides, if one cares for their cutlery then it shouldn't rust especially since it would be "stainless" steel, the key word is "less" stain...My grandmother always hand washed and dried her stainless steel cutlery thinking it would rust if she didn't, thus her cutlery is in perfect condition with shine even today (and it was nickel free=magnetic stainless steel).

And I think we need to avoid labeling things as "high" quality when that quality may be based on appearance but not long term health effects...Beware of "high quality" stainless steel as it most certainly will contain nickel, a toxic element not meant to be ingested. It may not be advertised or publicly taught but in time hopefully the medical research that our tax dollars pay for will influence the industry, or if people educate themselves enough then they can insist the market provide them with safer alternatives, i.e. nickel free magnetic stainless steel cutlery and cookery or even better a new type of cutlery made from zinc-copper bronze.

Sarah Murray [returning]
- Whitethorn, California


A. Hi again, Sarah. Surely you should eat with whatever cutlery you wish and lobby for whatever changes you want.

I'm no epidemiologist and certainly don't challenge your employer's research. I just personally don't find the issue compelling considering that there seems to be worries about steel, aluminum, teflon coated, copper, zinc, silver, chrome, bronze, wood, plastic, and ceramic food surfaces too.

With frequent listeria, e coli, and salmonella outbreaks ... persistent pesticides on our fruits .... genetic engineering of our corn and vegetables .... antibiotics in our meat ... bST in our milk ... forever chemicals in the water ... and non-inspected food imported from every hovel in the third world, I just choose to focus on what is on my fork rather than in it :-)

But thanks again! I'm not here to argue ... and perhaps your answers are better than mine.

Best regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


thumbs down signThere is a zinc-copper alloy, it's common, it's called brass. It doesn't taste good and reacts with food, no thank you. I'll take bronze ware and 18/10 stainless any day.

A Zeleny
- San Francisco, California, USA




Q. I've been researching stainless steel flatware and silverplate in preparation to buying a new set and came across your letters. Coincidentally, breaking news about arsenic, chrome and nickel in apple and grape juice is now hitting. Now I'm running around the house with my magnet checking my metal utensils and wondering how much chrome and nickel my grandkids are and have been ingesting and if this 'secret' ingredient has anything to do with ADD and ADHD type problems. Can/will you make an updated statement regarding this situation? Thanks much.

Mary Ann Bleich
Retired, at home - Northfield Center, Ohio, USA
December 14, 2011


A. Hi, Mary Ann. I run a metal finishing website. I am not an epidemiologist specializing in nickel and chrome, nor ADD and ADHD, and I cannot offer the authoritative research information you seek. If you feel that Ray Peat is authoritative, you can certainly try his site. But nickel is an expensive metal, so sellers proudly emphasize how much is in their flatware, not how little -- so I don't call them 'secret' ingredients.

If convenient, please provide a reference for the 'arsenic, chrome and nickel in apple and grape juice' that you allude to as I'm not familiar with it. Thanks!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


I think the secret ingredients that the previous poster was referring to, are the ones that companies don't list or refuse to share, when a person or organization specifically requests it.

Companies will oftentimes hide behind clauses like: "Well it's trade secret we don't want our competition to know."

There could be other additives added to get the bonding of different ingredients to bond better, give a particular look, durability, etc.

Companies may use chemicals or metals banned or shunned for possible health problems. They will often use "trade secret"/ "ingredient secrets" clause to hide this fact.

Why would there be secret ingredients in first place other than obvious trade secret? Companies know if their product contains "KNOWN ISSUES" and the consumer is informed and educated to these facts before hand, the consumer would NOT BUY said goods or services. That is why MOST companies want their consumers completely in the dark till after the consumer forks over their meager $$.

In today's mostly unregulated economy with marginal returns, companies ARE and WILL do anything to keep the consumer in the dark and PREVENT the consumer from making an educated decision.

By the way, I like the article in that I was considering getting nickel plated cast iron skillet for induction cooking. Any thoughts as to the safety of this option, since it is a relatively new company that makes this product (they say they been doing it since 2005).

The point of "FDA approved nickel impregnated cast iron" is heat retention with the corrosion resistance of nickel and the lack of seasoning and flavor memory that can be used in a induction cooking. And it is 3 times harder than stainless steel. Not to mention heavy, 13 inch skillet is 7 lb.
Here is a quote about not all nickel is created equal as follows from the site which is owned by the said company:

" Q: Is the Nickel pure Nickel?
A: No. This is an FDA recommended nickel composite which passes Military Spec. # C-26074, and all required tests. The application is non-electrolytic." ...
Q: Is the Nickel NSF approved?
A: Yes. It has been used for years in the manufacture of food processing equipment. Machines that make pancakes, pizzas, pre-made frozen eatables, etc. have to be cleaned with strong detergents to prevent bacterial growth and rust. Nickel has been used to maintain the integrity of these components. "


Problem with nickel fear is people are "NOT BEING SPECIFIC ENOUGH" about which is which.

Corey

Corey Jacob
- Rochester, Minnesota, USA
February 22, 2012


Hi, Corey.

Companies can't hide their ingredients from the regulatory agents, but yes, sales & marketing people sell "benefits" rather than "features/details".

Rarely are they hiding dangers (which can result in huge product liability payouts), but they do try to sell fancy words rather than facts. If you follow the link to the MIL-C-26074 [on DLA] spec you mentioned, you'll see that both military & industry professionals call that very common finish "electroless nickel plating"; in a whole lifetime of living & breathing nickel electroplating and electroless plating, I have never once heard their flowery phrase "nickel composite ... non-electrolytic nickel impregnated" :-)

Regarding "known issues", the media knows that people will stay up for the 11 o'clock news if the teaser is "Toxic time bomb in your kitchen?", but not for "Pots and pans are safe". Similarly, as H L Mencken observed long ago, the aim of politicians is to conjure up hobgoblins they can then propose to protect you from. So we never hear reassurance or balance, only fear mongering. There are such "Issues" with every possible material, so sure, salespeople won't often mention what something is made out of, because no matter what it is, there are always "Issues" :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. Hi folks and thanks very much for this forum. Hope someone can answer my question. I have a set of six broad-bladed cutlery knives stamped "Wear-Wite Stainless Nickel Silver Sheffield". These look like very broad-bladed butter knives/fish knives. The blade (unlike a standard butter knife) is symmetrical and begins narrow (slightly large then the width of the handle, expands out and tapers to a tip near the end. Each piece is slightly rounded on the bottom of the blade, quite heavy and measures 20.5 cm (or for you Americans 8 inches) long. Any help appreciated. Thanks.

Cheers from New Zealand.

Peter

Peter Wells
- Wellington, New Zealand
March 2, 2012


A. Hi, Peter.

From the stamping, they sound like they are made of nickel silver. This is a nickel alloy with no actual silver in it, that is usually silver plated. If it is not silver plated, it sounds like it would give you an "off" metallic taste. But as long as you are not eating off of them, that's no problem.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. This is a time sensitive question --

I am cooking a soup and without thinking I positioned a Christofle small spoon on the side of the pot to leave some room between the pot and its cover. The Christofle spoon I believe is made of some silver alloy and was made in France. No idea of how old this spoon is, but I enjoy it and have no problem using it occasionally because it is just lovely.
Back to the question, the spoon basically cooked along with the soup for about two hours and now I am concerned that too much silver or other metal leaked in the soup and pose a danger. The pot was on high heat for at least 1 hour. By the time I retrieved it, the spoon had turned dark color like oxidized silver but it was not as hot as I would have expected it. Do I throw the soup out or eat it?
Thanks for the help and hi to all from beautiful St.Croix in the Virgin Islands

Valeria Gasperi
- Christiansted, St.Croix V.I. USA
October 21, 2012


A. Hi Valeria. I visited St. Croix and Christiansted about 3 years ago and agree that you are writing from an absolutely beautiful place. Sorry that a public forum isn't a great place for time-sensitive questions, since people may not weigh in for a week or a month or even more.

The boiling point of water is a mere 100 °C (212 °F); the boiling point of soup might be a couple of degrees higher, but you can't get it hotter than its boiling point. So the part of the spoon that was in the soup was at most boiling temperature, and the rest of the spoon simply can't get much hotter when most of it is held to boiling temperature. This isn't even close to halfway towards the melting point of any metal. Yes, the silver tarnished, from eggs or other sulfur-ish food, but the silver tarnish is still on the spoon, not in the soup, and it wouldn't be dangerous even if it was. Bon Appetit.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




thumbs up signThank you, Ted, for the service provided by this website and thanks especially to the contributor who worked for the Eugene Toxicologist for the specifics about the nickel content of stainless steel. Now I know which kind of stainless flatware to search for for my personal use and to recommend to my family and friends [18/0 of course].

Ken Scott
Mind/Body Health Center - Bend, Oregon
November 4, 2012




Q. I am into flatware business. Base metal used at my workshop is cast brass. Which is the most food safe plating for my flatwares. My preferences are chrome and nickel plating.

Tejas Soni
- Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
January 11, 2013


A. Hi Tejas. Silver is surely the most appropriate plating for flatware. I suppose electroless nickel is a possibility; but I don't like the idea of getting involved with a skin allergen like nickel. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Q. Good day Ted,
Thank you for all your responses and information. It is very true that every medium you use has "issues" and it's really about which is the best for it's purpose rather than which is safe and which isn't.
Cutlery handles made from a Zinc alloy and nickel plated are quite common in South Africa. One of the reasons for not making it EPNS is that the layer of silver is so thin that it tarnishes quite easily. Is this finish acceptable in the USA and elsewhere?

Thank you.

Tina Cartwright
Andy C - Durban, South Africa
May 9, 2013


A. Hi Tina. I don't know of any reason to think this finish would be unacceptable in the USA or anywhere. But regulations are complicated, so I apologize but I can't guarantee that there are no rules anywhere that discourage or preclude it. And whatever you make it out of, somebody somewhere will accuse you of trying to poison them :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. Very informative site: thank you for your maintenance of it!

I am very interested in electroless nickel coating of cast iron (or other materials) for cookware. I am a mechanical engineer, not a chemist, but I understand that EN is very different from nickel electroplate because EN deposits a new compound of Ni-Phosphorous which is a glass-like metallic, not a metal. Sounds great, but I've also seen that Ni leaching is a serious issue for WHO (for water) and has been adopted by Community European as a food contact standard, and the limit is VERY low, at 0.07 ppm, but EN coatings leach much more than that limit.

Am I missing something with everyone's comfort levels with EN coated pans? I know the manufacturer of the Olvida pans claims NSF approval, but that would be for corrosion I guess, not for Ni leaching, which it would fail.

So, given that there is no standard for Ni leaching in the USA, do you think US manufacturers should be following the EU directives, at least as a voluntary guide?

More specifically, do you see any problem with EN coating of cookware and the Ni that is inevitably leached?

I hope I'm proven wrong: I love the concept of this coating for cookware, and would adopt it in a heartbeat if someone could really convince me it was food safe.

Thank you in advance: your experience is much appreciated!

Best Regards,

Mark.

Mark HENRY
- Dijon, Bourgignon, France
July 19, 2014


A. Hi Mark. I don't know where you're finding the leach rate for electroless nickel coatings ... I can't easily find it. But I see that the corrosion rate of electroless nickel in hot (180 °F, 82 °C) deionized water is zero, so I find it surprising.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. Thank you for your wonderful insight into silver (and other) plating! Another vintage silverplate question: I know they say not to wash in the dishwasher, and I do anyway as my silverplate is not 'precious' and if it goes, it goes. But is it dangerous to my health to wash in the dishwasher?

Thank you for your time!

Barbara

Barbara Pappas
- Wilmington, Massachusetts USA
October 13, 2014


A. Hi. Silver is one of the longest used flatwares and drink containers, going back many centuries. It's not dangerous. But the plating is thin and it won't last long if repeatedly put in the dishwasher. At least put the flatware in a separate section of the basket. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




How to clean "Stainless Nickel Silver" flatware?

Q. Hello,

I inherited a set of spoon from my mum-in-law few years ago.
It says "SUPERFINE A1 STAINLESS NICKEL SILVER" on the back of the spoon.
They were not in good shape - kind of yellowish tarnished colour and various size of stains on them.
I washed them thoroughly with detergent but those stains are still there.
I asked several so called professionals - antique dealers, sales assistants at department stores etc...
But everyone gave me completely different answer.
Some of them said I can use "Silvo" [on eBay or Amazon (affil link) ] . Then another person said polish with "Brasso" [on eBay or Amazon (affil link) ] .
And the other one told me I need to re-plate spoons.
I went online but I couldn't find the answer.
So I have no idea what is the correct way to clean them and are they still safe to use?

Yu Blumenfeld
- London, UK
December 10, 2014


A1 Nickel Silver on eBay (affil. link)]

A. Hello Yu. Most silverplated flatware is made of nickel silver. As the silver plating wears away, you see this discoloration because the plating and the base metal are not the same material. You can't remove such differences and they are not stains. I think maybe this flatware was silver plated at one time.

They probably have a metallic taste. The correct answer is probably that they should be sent out for silver plating; then they will not have a metallic taste and they will look good.

It is possible that when they were made years ago the intention was to use them without silver plating, but there have been a number of stupid flatware ideas over the years: I even have a piece of "made in Japan" copper-nickel-chrome plated steel flatware from perhaps the same time period and it was simply a bad idea. Maybe people therefore became more concerned with what the flatware was made of than plated with :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. Hi.
I am from India. I would like to gift a silver plate for my brother for his wedding anniversary. Is it safe to use it regularly for eating? Are silver plates hazardous when used on a regular basis? Do they have any chemical reactions when hot food or drinks like coffee are served? Is it safe to eat curd on silver plates? What chemical composition is right for silverware?
The shop has mentioned 92.5 silver purity. Can you please reply as early as possible.

Thanks,

Viji Nagalingam
- Chennai, India
March 19, 2015


A. Hi Viji. The best flatware is sterling silver. Sterling silver and silverplated teapots & tea cups, goblets and chalices have been used for hundreds of years. Silver plated or sterling silver serving trays are a commonplace. I am not an epidemiologist of course but I would have no reason to suspect any problem from frequent use of sterling silver (92.5 purity) or silver plated food service items. Best wishes to your brother.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. How would one test for the level of nickel in silver plated cutlery? I am new to this. Grew up eating on silver plate and recently decided I would like to go back to silver plated cutlery from stainless steel. Someone told me that it may have health risks. I have just started collecting, love doing so, but don't want to poison the grandkids!

Thanks.

Carla Gracey
- Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts USA
April 1, 2015


A. Hi Carla. There is nothing you can make food service items out of that nobody will say has "health risks"; but with tens or hundreds of millions of people using worn silverplate, I think it would be on the news every week if it was a significant problem.

what silverplate looks like when worn out
(this is what silverplate looks like when the plating has worn through)

Nickel Detect /
Nickel Alert

nickel_detect
on eBay or

Amazon

(affil links)

There are nickel test kits you could try ⇨
... but basically you can see the discoloration if the silver plating has worn through, and most people seem to get a "metallic taste" as well if the silver plating is worn out.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. Yesterday I brought what I thought was sterling silver flatware (antique/grape pattern) to a shop with thought that I would sell. The owner told me it was silver plated and due to toxicity it was of no value in terms of financial worth and should not be used for food consumption, or handling. When I asked what could be done with it he suggested throwing it out. I am looking for information to confirm or reject this suggestion. Surely if it isn't fit to eat with I also wouldn't want to pollute the landfill with carcinogens either. This was quite a surprise. My Mom had been an antique dealer in the 60's thru 80's, which is how I acquired the flatware. Appreciate educated feedback. Thank you.

Jean Anderson DeVito
- Southington, Connecticut USA
May 27, 2015


A. Hello Jean. Whether you send your nickel-silver to the landfill or not, I'm not going my dinner from the landfill :-)

The point being that just because something like nickel silver isn't great to eat off of doesn't render it a toxin worse than rotting garbage; so you can certainly dispose of unwanted flatware. But your town's public works yard probably has a metal collection dumpster.

The deeper answer is that:
1. the silver plating on plated silverware is so thin that it's not saleable as precious scrap like sterling silver is.
2. if the silver plating has worn off, you will probably get an "off" taste, a metallic taste. It can be replated with silver, which solves the problem, but this may only be economically feasible if the flatware has sentimental value to you.
3. times change and tastes change and there is little market these days for silverplate of any sort; so worn silverplate has no value. Sorry.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Oneida "Satin Countess"
flatware

flatware_oneida_countess
on eBay or

Amazon

(affil links)

Q. Good Afternoon!

I have been researching flatware for many months. I bought a set 20 years ago from Dillards for $165 and it has lasted until last week when I had to throw them away due to a plumbing issue. The flatware set was high quality, comfortable, and didn't rust. I loved this set!

After researching, I realized that the best quality is 18/10. I searched to find an economical price set. I found Oneida "Satin Countess" ⇨
45-piece set of 18/10 quality for $90. The pieces are quite heavy.

I don't use a dishwasher. I hand-washed the set three times before use. For breakfast I used the spoon in a bowl of cereal this morning. I was left with a metal taste in my mouth. I have never had this happen before. The taste is still here 4 hours later. Can you please help me determine if I need to take the set back? Or is this normal for an 18/10 flatware until the set is broken in?

I care about my health and the health of my two boys. I don't know if I have a nickel allergy. I tend to buy high quality jewelry so I haven't used a nickel product exclusively.

Thanks for you help!

Take care,

D. Scott
- Mesa, Arizona
June 7, 2015


A. Hi D. This thread unfortunately conflates silver-plated nickel-silver flatware with stainless steel flatware, which can be a bit confusing.

But as far as I know there would not ever be a metallic taste from stainless steel flatware of any sort. I've certainly never encountered it, although I taste the nickel-silver metal sometimes from some well-worn silverplate.

Your set has good reviews on Amazon! You're sure you didn't take Cold-eze, or use an inhaler, or chew on a ballpoint pen recently?  :-)

But I'm not so sure it's actually 18/10 ... the current description I see of this product on Oneida.com says 18/0, although some eBay listings say it's 18/10 -- maybe 'Satin Countess' is a pattern made in both grades.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. See if a regular magnet (Alnico) will stick to it fairly strongly. If it does, it's one of the 400 series stainless steels, all of which contain no nickel and are, therefore, more prone to rusting (often, rust spotting), etc. 18/0 SS is in the 400 series.

If it doesn't stick, it is 300 series, which would include 18/8, 18/10, etc. The 18/8, e.g., contains 18 chromium/8 nickel The 300 series is less prone to corrosion than the 400 series, due to the nickel content.

It seems that 400 series is stronger and 300 series is more corrosion resistant. 410 stainless is so strong it is used to make jet engine stators.

The newer super-strong neodymium magnets, like those found in computer hard drives, are finding their way into new products and you can buy a big stack of just the magnets on Amazon and eBay. If you want an easier time holding up stuff on the refrigerator, get a dozen of these, at least 1/4" in dia. - on eBay, you can find 50 of them for under $10. The bigger they are, the harder they are to pull off - sometimes it's easiest to slide them off. If the stuff you're holding up is too heavy, use 2 or 3.

These new neodymium magnets will stick to both 400 and 300 series SS. The attraction to each series is dramatically different, so you could separate them with one of these magnets. They stick to 400 series so strong that it's hard to get them off. In my experience, with 300 series, these magnets stick about like a regular Alnico magnet does on 400 series. Stuck pretty tight, but easy to pull off.

Please read this thread:
www.finishing.com/292/94.shtml

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA




Toxicity of my grandmothers silver plated flatware?

Q. I googled the question "is it safe to use my grandmother's silver plated flatware" and this forum popped up with a very interesting, very knowledgeable reply from a fellow former Pine Beach neighbor! I lived there for fourteen years before moving to downtown toms river. Still visit Pine Beach regularly, especially Moore's farm market. Mrs. Moore still going strong. So ... "Is it safe?" ;-)

Thank you for your time.

Lisa hummel
a regular gal! - toms river New Jersey (formerly Pine Beach)
August 11, 2015


Hi Lisa. You moved the opposite direction that I did. I was in Toms River (Silverton) for 16 years.

We appended your inquiry to a thread on the subject. "Silverplate" is made of nickel-silver that is plated with pure silver. If the silver plating wears thru, you will first see it as in the photograph I previously posted on this page, and then you'll most likely taste it as a faint metallic or 'electric' taste, especially if you lick the spoon when you eat.

If you see none of that discoloration, it's still completely covered with silver. Silver has been used for centuries and is certainly safe.

If you do see that discoloration and taste it, the underlying nickel-silver is exposed. Personally I think it will be a matter of finding the discoloration unattractive, and the metallic taste annoying, long before you need to think about the possibility of too much metal in your diet. But you can have it replated if it looks like it requires it, and if you wish.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



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