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topic 7164 p2

Is Galvanized Steel Poisonous?



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A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2018

July 22, 2008

Q. Hi,
I built a rotisserie, and needed a spit for the meat I'm thinking of using galvanized steel.
Is it safe?

Vic Askovic
hobbyist - New Jersey


July 2008

A. Hi, Vic. No, it's not "safe" because zinc is not a "food-safe" material. There should be no contact between food and galvanized surfaces. That is because acidic foods can dissolve zinc and we don't want the situation of people eating the dissolved zinc, and the possibility of overdose.

Again, zinc is an essential nutrient not a poison -- but you don't make coffee cups out of aspirin, or spits our of zinc :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


July 13, 2009 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Is it safe to use zinc plated 1/4 inch rod to skewer through a pig to keep it from spinning on the rotisserie rod for a pig roast? The cook temp will be around 300 degrees but the internal temp will only reach 165 degrees.

Jason Armagost
buyer - Ridgway, Pennsylvania


July 14, 2009

A. Hi, Jason. Zinc is not a food-safe material. The temperature doesn't matter, food should not directly be mixed in or skewered onto zinc. That doesn't mean it's a genuine hazard, just that guidelines say we shouldn't do it.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


August 1, 2008

Q. In pottery we sometimes fire with saggars or containers inside a propane gas kiln or a pit. I have been firing an outside gas kiln to 1130 degrees with galvanized trash cans with lids. The cans are filled with wood shavings to smoke fire pots. I was recently told that I can no longer use the galvanized cans in the kiln because they release fumes that will damage the kiln bricks. This seems silly to me since glazes contain zinc and other hazardous chemicals and I've seen no damage to the bricks. Can you tell me if galvanized metal contains any substance that would damage the kiln bricks when heated to this temperature? Would there be harm to individuals since the kiln is outdoors? If so would a respirator take care of it? Thank you.

Carol Darnell(returns)
- Wilmington, Ohio


August 5, 2008

A. Hi, Carol. Don't inhale the fumes, they could possibly give you flu-like "metal fume fever", but you surely don't anyway. I don't know 100% about zinc damaging kiln bricks but I seriously doubt it.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


August 7, 2008

Q. Hi,
I built a rotisserie spit and made the box out of galvanized steel. I sanded and wiped the metal with vinegar and then painted the inside of the box with barbecue paint. Do you think this is safe to use or am I looking for trouble. thank you

Joey Vazquez
welder new in the trade - Austin Texas


August 7, 2008

A. Hi, Joey. I personally doubt that it's any problem. The enclosure is not a food surface. But paint fumes are not good. Get it good and hot without food in it a few times first.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


April 8, 2009

Q. Hi. My name is Shelley and I'm the mother of a 14 month-old. Currently, I do not have a bathtub, only a shower. I am wondering if galvanized steel is safe to use as a bathtub for my son. Will the zinc or other metal leach into the water where it may enter his mouth, eye, etc? Thanks!

Shelley Desai
hobbyist - Portland, Oregon


April 25, 2009

A. Hi, Shelley. The feed troughs and watering troughs on many farms are galvanized; people in remote areas have collected rain water off their galvanized roofs for many purposes, including drinking, for decades; and a great deal of water piping (maybe most water piping) was galvanized until a few decades ago. I personally don't think there is any danger whatsoever, but if anyone thinks there is, they are encouraged to post the reason for their concern.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


May 21, 2009

Q. My husband is a bystronic laser operator and just started working with galvanized steel pipes. They have a vacuum system attached to the machine sucking up the fumes. He wants to know if there is any danger of not wearing a respirator while cutting it? He has 2 fans for ventilation blowing it away. He is really concerned if he is in danger or if the people around him 2 machines over should be concerned. Please let us know.Thanks

Tammyleigh Callagy-Pitzer
- Indianapolis, Indiana


May 28, 2009

Q. Hi! I have a question - I put galvanized fencing around my strawberry patch (to keep the birds out) and I'm wondering if that's unsafe (could zinc leach into the soil, etc). In a previous post you stated that galvanized metal is not safe for food, but you also said that it's okay for bath water. Thanks in advance for your response!

Catherine Chandler
- Orrville, Ohio


May 29, 2009

A. Hi, Catherine. Galvanized fencing is fine. When we say it's not "food-safe" we mean you should not cook in zinc pots or serve food out of zinc containers because of the possibility of acidic food or drink dissolving the zinc, and you consuming too much of it. Zinc is not poison, it is an essential nutrient; cold prevention tablets are one example of the deliberate consumption of zinc.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Welding Respirator

September 28, 2009

Q. I was wondering if there are any side effects of the actual process of hot dip galvanizing fumes. There is a company across the street from where I work and they hot dip galvanize their parts on site. Thank You

Jeff Keen
welder - Claremore, Oklahoma


September 28, 2009

A. Hi, Jeff. Most industrial facilities have exhaust systems and fume scrubbers to clean up emissions from processes like these. If you can see and smell fumes, and find them objectionable, in most areas the state EPA will make the shop correct the problem under a nuisance clause even if they do not exceed emission standards.

We can't even definitively say whether carefully monitored things consumed in definitively measured amounts like coffee, red wine, and milk are good or bad for you -- the answers seem to change every few months. So to try to estimate the possible side effects of an unknown amount of fumes from a process you're not familiar with, that are controlled to an unknown degree, on someone in an office in a different building across the street is simply impossible. Sorry.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



December 10, 2009 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Is it dangerous for my families health to use galvanized pipe for my fire place blower? The pipe is in the bottom of the fireplace so as to have the embers around it heat the pipe then a fan blows through the pipe. Can this cause zinc or galvanized poisoning from the pipe being heated by the fire?

Thanks,

Dale Huff
hobbyist - Strawberry Plains, Tennessee


December 11, 2009

A. Hi, Dale. As noted in the beginning of this thread and a dozen like it, everything is relative. The amount of zinc exposure from this sounds reasonably minimal, and zinc is considered non-toxic.

What would concern me far more is the possibility of pinhole leaks in your piping which, depending on whether the section under the coals is on the suction side of the fan, could draw carbon monoxide into the house.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


December 11, 2009

! Ted,
Thank you for the answer and your concern at this point in time the piping is still new, I have planned on it burning through in a season or two so I will be checking it regularly. Thank you again this site has been very helpful and educating.

Thanks

Dale Huff
hobbyist - Strawberry Plains, Tennessee


February 1, 2010

Q. I'm unclear of the answers somewhat. Is it safe to deliver smoke to a smokehouse with galv. pipe?

Scott Maraczi
- Winfield, Missouri


April 6, 2010

Q. I would like to make balcony veggie garden boxes made from galvanized metal. These boxes will match the house. Will the zinc leach into my soil and poison my vegetables?

Catherine Harley
- Boulder, Colorado


April 6, 2010

A. Hi, Catherine. No, it won't.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


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