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"Is melting zinc pennies with a torch hazardous?"
March 29, 2010
I have always known of potential hazard welding zinc but never thought about it when melting pennies. In the old days they were copper but today they are mostly zinc. It takes only 5 seconds to melt a penny with mapp gas (2023˚ C) and it does seem coated with an oxide after melting. I have been melting 3-4 a week to impress friends with the heat of the torch and I have never felt any ill effects. I will no longer do this but I am interested to know how harmful this may have been.John Hoff
Hobbyist - San Jose, California
March 30, 2010
Hi, John. It is currently believed that even welding zinc does not have long term health effects -- although it will certainly make you miserable in the short term. If you did not suffer metal fume fever, I'd say it had no effect.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 30, 2010
Well without considering the zinc it could be rather hazardous in the fact that you could spend some time in the gray bar hotel. I'm not certain what USA laws are like but in Canada printed or coined money is the property of the government and they are simply letting us borrow it to simplify trade. Destroying or defacing it is technically illegal. I have never heard of anyone being charged for it but not to many people have money to burn these days. Just to be safe I would go spreading it around that you are destroying currency god forbid it ever found its way onto the internet! If you suddenly get the urge to destroy more currency just send it to me and I'll see that it never bothers you again!
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada