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Are the fumes from dipping metal in zinc galvanizing dangerous

I have a friend who is a crane operator who dips materials in a zinc galvanizing tank. About five times a year he gets this cough and then he will lose his voice and he says the fumes from the zinc galvanizing chokes him up if the air is moving and blows towards him. He wears a mask to help protect his breathing but it is a thin mask that he can still smell the fumes. What other precautions can he make so not to cause any more health risks

Anna Jacobsen
zinc galvanizing dipping plant - Hastings, Nebraska, United States

It is the employer's obligation to provide a safe working environment, Anna, and your friend should discuss this problem with his employer. If nothing gets fixed he should call an OSHA hotline. He should also discuss it with his doctor or he's just guessing at the cause of the cough and voice loss.

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

Hi Anna,
Doesn't sound like your friend has very good respiratory protection at all. I have seen operators here working inside pressurized booths or crane cabins with fresh air pumped in. I've been in the galvanizing works many times and the fumes can be shocking even from a distance. I'm sure he should at least have a positive pressure face mask like welders use sometimes. Regards, John

John Bransby
- Sydney, Australia

I've been working in a galvanizing plant for four years and in all aspects galvanizing is detrimental to anybody's health. For example zinc is derived of zinc,lead,and antimony as you already know and for the past four years I have been absorbing zinc dust [on eBay or Amazon] ,fumes, and getting the horrible metal fever. My wife and I have been trying to have a child for three years now and our fertility doctor tells us that all the lead in the plant environment has made me about infertile. Considering what it does to man, what will the impact on the environment be? Why can't we just use stainless steel? BECAUSE THE RICH KEEP ON GETTING RICHER SO THEY DON'T CARE.

Zackery Z
galvanizing - Angola, Indiana, USA
January 25, 2008

January 25, 2008

Sorry that you are having trouble, Zackery, but I don't trust that your claim of what the doctor told you is fully accurate. If it is, you should have called the OSHA Hotline long ago, and the doctor would have to make that diagnosis in court.

As a young man with no children in America in 2008 why do you feel so trapped that you are working for people you detest, in a shop that you believe is ruining your life, and which you believe is wrecking the environment, while you are passing up your dream of having children, and making a product that you believe is unnecessary and that you are ashamed to be making?

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

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