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topic 7164, p2

Is Galvanized Steel Poisonous?



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A discussion started in 2001 & continuing through 2017

October 12, 2010

Q. I see people using galvanized metal containers to grow vegetables. With water containing chlorides (salts), fertilizers containing salts, and electrolysis in the ground, I am wondering where the metals, etc. are going when they dissolve. Is this not a hazard to eat food grown this way. Some even "line the galvanized container, but guarantee not to corrode for 8 years. So am I consuming heavy metals for 8 years until I replace the container?
Thanks

Alex Kallas
Sustainable agriculture educator - Vista, California, USA


October 12, 2010

A. Hi, Alex. Although it is bad for welders to breathe zinc fumes, and it may be bad to put acidic foods into contact with zinc because of vaguely possible overdose, zinc is not plutonium, it's an essential nutrient. The MDR for zinc is 15 mg, and it is fairly common to take 100 mg per day to ward off colds and flu. Farm animals eat and drink out of galvanized troughs all the time; and in rural parts of the world people still collect rainwater from galvanized roofs for their drinking water supply.

It will take years for all of the galvanizing to dissolve into the soil, probably decades more for all for much of it to be taken up into the plants; then much of the plant will be thrown away or composted and only a fraction eaten. I doubt that the vegetables have the slightest chance of providing your MDR let alone deterring colds.

The term "heavy metals" was invented by alarmists, and is a horrible one and obfuscatory -- it can be dangerous to toss that term around because it implies a commonality between relatively harmless "heavy metals" like tin, iron, gold and zinc on the one hand with extremely hazardous metals like cadmium, lead, and mercury on the other.

Regards,

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


October 13, 2010

Q. Hi, I have built an apple press to make cider using a galvanised drain tray. The juice when pressed will collect in the tray and drain straight out of holes in the corners. Is this safe as the juice will only stay in the tray for a short while. Should I line the tray with plastic?

David Hadsley
- Hertfordshire, UK


October 13, 2010

A. Hi, David. Fruit juices are the kind of acidic food that concern us with galvanizing. I don't think your life is in peril, but the taste of your juice probably is. Yes, line it.

Regards,

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


December 22, 2010

Q. I live in Kansas City, Missouri and unknowingly, as a secretary, breathed sheet metal welding, gluing and cutting fumes for 2 years. I don't know where to go or what type of doctor or hospital to go to for diagnosis and treatment.
I go from "normal" to immediate uncontrollable Parkinson-like movements and shortness of breath when I breathe minute amounts of chemical fumes (perfume, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, glues, etc.) I also react to anesthesia and medications.
My reactions affect my heart and have caused me on one occasion to die plus chest pains, headaches, vision problems, lung granulanomas and nodules, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue and an inability to organize.
I became ill after my company bought and moved the sheet metal company they had outsourced welding to for years into our shop, increasing shop men from 7 to 35 and adding forklift trucks, plasma bed cutter, a second gluing/cutting table, lots of welding machines, degreasing areas, etc. and worked double shifts making commercial HVAC ductwork

Ann Adams
Sick from welding fumes - Kansas City, Missouri, USA


December 22, 2010

A. Hi, Ann. I am very sorry to hear of your ill health. It sounds like you believe that your health issues are the result of exposure to something in your work environment and can be accordingly treated, whereas your doctors, who know better than you and I, apparently think your work history has little bearing on the best treatment regimen.

You could try calling a poison control center and see if they have a recommendation for a doctor you can see. A personal injury lawyer may have a specialist doctor they can refer you to who might be familiar with similar symptoms, or might be able to help you in other ways. Best of luck. I'm not making such an assertion, but it is possible that your medical issues may have nothing whatsoever to do with your employment.

Regards,

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


January 26, 2011

Q. I wanted and had installed a metal cap fitted to close off the roof my fireplace to prevent heat loss from the gas log insert. After installation I was told that the metal was galvanised steel (my original request was for stainless) I asked about any safety issues and was told as long as the flames did not directly impact the metal there were not any. I have a very low tolerance for fumes. It did not take me long to start having this metallic taste. I am concerned that just being heated is dangerous. If so I will have it removed sooner than later.

RICHARD LEE CARTWRIGHT
- FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina


April 29, 2012

A. Hi, Richard.

In my house the same type of enclosure was also made of galvanized and was not a problem. But I understand that people can have extreme sensitivities. Please look at the exhaust ductwork on your other gas appliances like furnace, hot water heater, and clothes dryer though. Odds are all of it is galvanized.

In my house a real issue was the impossibility of cleaning out the accumulating creosote collecting on this galvanized "shelf", and you might want to make sure that you and the installer have considered the possible chimney fire danger of the installation if it allows creosote to build up.

Regards,

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


May 27, 2011

Q. I have been welding galvanized for over 10 years and now I have learned after 6 months in a specialist's treatment that my lungs can no longer take the fumes. I have to take an inhaler from now on because of lung damage.

Chester Tumlin
- Jefferson, Georgia


 

A. Hi, Chester. Assuming that you never smoked, you could be right that you've identified the problem. But if you do or ever did smoke, you are possibly in denial of your personal responsibility :-)

I smoked but never welded, and I, too, must take an inhaler from now on. :-(

Regards,

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


November 13, 2011

Q. My husband works as a steel tube mill operator. He read the MSDS labels concerning the galvanized steel they are turning into tube. This includes a welding process. It said it can be dangerous.The company said they would do a week long test. There is no ventilation. It is already making people sick. Do they not have the right to refuse on safety conditions?

Linda Kell
- Evansville Indiana


November 15, 2011

A. Hi, Linda.

Employers must comply with OSHA standards; it is not optional. Someone can call the OSHA hotline semi-anonymously and have the situation investigated.

However, as much as you may be concerned for your husband's health, it is he -- or better yet his sick co-workers -- who must call, not you. You have nothing to go on but second-hand hearsay about conditions in the plant, and third-hand hearsay about the health of your husband's co-workers. Good luck.

Regards,

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


November 15, 2011

Q. I use a circular galvanized feed pan underneath my dutch oven to hold the briquettes. The pan is about 4" deep, the oven is about 8" tall. I have heard that the heat from the briquettes cause some galvanized gas (I am guessing zinc) that is poisonous. Any one know anything about this? I have been outdoor cooking like this for years....no problems...but, others are saying this is very dangerous?

Cliff Cayton
- Portland, Oregon USA


November 16, 2011

A. Hi, Cliff.

A baby aspirin a day can be good for you or at least harmless, a baby eating a bottle of aspirin can be very bad for it.

Zinc is an essential nutrient, not a poison. The tiny amount, if any at all, of vaporized zinc from your dutch oven is surely harmless, but the clouds of vaporized zinc to which a welder is exposed when welding galvanized metal can be harmful.

Regards,

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


February 7, 2012

Q. I work as an operator on a CO2 Laser. I recently was asked to cut several sheets of 14 ga. galvanized steel. The result has been almost a week of flu like symptoms including a fever that keeps me from sleeping. Has anyone else been exposed to Zinc Oxide in this manner?

John Vento
- Melville, New York, USA


February 16, 2012

Q. Dear Sir,

We are a set of four students making a food machine and we are using GI sheet metal to make a hopper shaped container that carries the dough. Also we use the same GI sheet to make an oil bath where we heat the oil up to 200 °C. Can GI sheet can be used or is it dangerous to use GI in food processing units? Please educate us!

Thanks!

Regards,

Anamika [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- India


February 16, 2012

A. Hi, Anamika and friends. Galvanized metal should not be used for food. Excessive zinc can dissolve into acidic or highly alkaline foods. Plus the galvanized coating might also contain a small amount of lead, and possibly a very thin layer of toxic hexavalent chrome. It's not so much a question of actually dangerous as learning that there are safety codes which govern our design work.

Regards,

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


February 25, 2012

Q. I spray zinc wire at work. It's called terminal arc spraying. When I am finished for the day I got 1/4 inch of zinc powder on my person and on the floor; when I get home at night my wife told me I stop breathing for a few minutes -- could it be the zinc?

usher [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- hartford Connecticut


February 27, 2012

A. Hi, Usher.

I haven't personally read of sleep apnea being a symptom of exposure to zinc. Maybe the undertaker will tell your wife different though, since apparently you are not going to go to the doctor even though you stop breathing :-(

Regards,

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


March 15, 2012

Q. Hi Ted,
Thank you for all the info here. I'm wondering if using a galvanized water trough as a hot tub is safe for me and my family? It is a trough that would be used for live stock.
Thanx so much.

Genevieve Littletion
- Oakland, California, USA


March 16, 2012

A. Hi Genevieve.

If livestock can safely drink from such a trough, yes, you can safely bathe in it. However, it will not be durable if you use chlorine or bromine disinfectants in it instead of dumping after each use. These are very very tough on metal.

Regards,

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


March 17, 2012

Q. I have a question about galvanized steel wire. I am using 18 gauge wire, to make ear wires, and earrings. When I make the ear wires, I bend and cut the wire, then polish the wire with a soft cloth. Can this amount of contact cause any poisoning?

Tiffanie DeMayo
- Newport, New Hampshire, USA


March 18, 2012

A. Hi, Tiffanie.

I don't know whether you really mean "galvanized", i.e., coated with zinc by hot dipping -- but this is certainly not a proper material for ear wires or anything that goes in a piercing. I doubt that polishing it can possibly harm you, but inserting galvanized material into a piercing is not good for the buyer of the jewelry.

Regards,

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


March 26, 2012

I'm not sure what method was used to galvanize the steel wire. I do know it's smooth, and shiny, and I have been wearing a pair of earrings made out of this wire for a few days now, and my ears are fine.

Tiffanie DeMayo
- Newport


March 27, 2012

Hi again.

I suspect that the wire is perhaps not galvanized, but rather coated or plated with something else, or maybe it's stainless steel. When you buy it, is there any description or specification of what it is? If it is actually galvanized it is not considered safe for skin contact whether you've had a reaction or not. Galvanized wire may also have a small amount of hexavalent chrome on it.

Regards,

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


March 29, 2012

Q. What is the melting point temperature of G.I. Sheet with a thickness of two (2) mm.

arthur arcenas
switch gear - Dubai, UAE


April 2, 2012

A. Hi, Arthur.

As far as I know, the thickness of the steel has no effect on the melting point of the zinc coating, which is about 420 °C as mentioned earlier in the thread. Good luck.

Regards,

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


April 29, 2012

! Yes, extremely toxic gases are released when heated above 1200°C. Make sure you wear a mask if welding or similar work involving high temperatures. Also ensure the work is done outside or in really well ventilated room. While the fumes are generally odorless they can cause everything from loss of appetite and dizziness to lung burns and even death.

Yek Ravani
- Ottawa Ontario Canada


August 11, 2012

Q. Hello, I have read your responses on the vegetable garden and I have a similar question. I am making raised bed and I was wondering if the hexavalent chromium you mentioned may find it's way into vegetables? Alternatively will it leach out of the sheets and wash down into the water table? Perth has a high water table and sandy soils that offer no resistance to chemicals passing through. I don't want to contribute to poisoning the ground water. (I know the amounts would be minute but it all adds up doesn't it?)

I have also heard that frogs will not go near galvanised steel, because it's toxic to them. Do you know anything about this? I would like to have an organic vegetable garden with no toxins and lots of frogs. The other building material would be wood but we have so many termites and I don't really want treated wood to introduce arsenic. I can use non-treated but then my beds would fall apart and I would be encouraging termites to hang out near my house.

Thanks for your time :)

Penelope Stutz
- Perth, Western Australia, Australia


August 12, 2012

A. Hi Penelope. Chrome is also an essential nutrient, and miniscule amounts of hexavalent chrome probably won't survive their trip to either your vegetables or the water table.

Sorry, I never heard this story about frogs avoiding galvanized steel, but I have heard that zinc is poisonous to parrots and even to dogs, so I suppose it's possible. Although people are animals, animals are not people; the assumption that what is safe/dangerous for various animals is safe/dangerous for us and vice-versa is not always true.

Regards,

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


August 24, 2012

Q. My propane BBQ grate sits too low. I found some galvanized fence loop caps that fit nicely into the grill and they supported another grill at just the right height. Of course the galvanized brackets are sitting on top of the burners. I often cook with the lid closed which would trap any emissions, if any. Am I putting my family's health at risk?

Douglas Richards
- London, Ontario, Canada


August , 2012

A. Hi Douglas. We're only approximating that the fence caps are "galvanized", without any detailed understanding of the manufacturing process for those specific parts.

The general rule, of course, is that nothing should be used in food preparation that was not intended for use in food preparation because no epidemiologist will have studied the issue and be able to offer any statistical data or facts. So it ends up with people just taking a guess, and their guesses are colored by their limited life experiences and their personality :-(

My own personal feeling is that I would run the BBQ for a while with the top open, and then not worry about it. But if someone else would worry about it, I really can't say they shouldn't. Sorry, but better answers are not available when we use things for unintended purposes.

Regards,

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


September 5, 2012

Q. Hi Ted,
Just found your informative forum.

Similar to the other person, I too made a smoker. I used what appears to be either grey phosphate and/or black oxide coated metal container. I had a gas burner at the bottom, so no wood or any other combustible material was in there. After a few seconds some thick black smoke came out which I breathed in. It wasn't very pleasant, let me tell you. I did get tightness in chest and felt bad for some days.

My thoughts are that the inside was coated with either a water soluble oil, sealer, or wax. Do you know if this is particularly harmful? I guess it's too late now, but if you have any information about this, I'd be most appreciative. I'm going to see my GP next week (still a little wheezy). Thanks! John

John Dennis
- Christchurch, New Zealand


September 6, 2012

A. Hi John.

Sorry, but I just don't have any idea what that coating was. Anything you inhale is bad for you because it can coat the lungs. Phosphates and black oxides are usually waxed or oiled, so it may have been vaporized oil. I have heard (not familiar with the actual cases, but have no trouble believing it) that people have died from breathing regular compressed air because the oil dispersed in the air coated their lungs. Your smoker will probably be okay after what is on it burns off, but as I previously said, it's dangerous to use stuff on hand and assume it will be safe because, although odds are in your favor, we just don't know what it is.

Although I'm certainly no doctor, I think that one-time exposure to stuff that didn't seriously injure you rarely has any long term consequences. Good luck.

Regards,

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


September 11, 2012

Q. I wanted to know if the coating on galvanized steel would leach into the skin if it were made into jewelry?

Cheryl Mosca
- Kernersville, North Carolina USA


September 11, 2012

A. Hi Cheryl. With no disrespect, I don't think that's quite the right question. I think the question should be whether galvanized steel is a good finish for jewelry, and I think the answer is "probably not".

Although galvanizing protects the steel from rusting, think about what protects the galvanizing itself from quickly dissolving away in unsightly fashion: a hard, glassy, and corrosion-resistant zinc carbonate skin forms on galvanizing when it is out in the open air and free to react with carbon dioxide. When those conditions don't exist, galvanizing corrodes away with voluminous white corrosion products called "wet storage stain", so I doubt that you will find galvanizing to be a satisfactory jewelry finish.

Regards,

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


November 29, 2012

Q. We have an oven in which we cure composite. The design of oven has a temperature range up to 450 °F. Some panels on the floor have been damaged (aluminized steel). We want to replace these panels with galvanized (easier to obtain locally and more cost effective). Are there any health issues or structure problems that we could be facing. Also the oven does have a power exhaust flue.

Mike Mickus
- Wichita, Kansas, USA


November 29, 2012

A. Hi Mike. I don't think there is any cause for concern at all, except for the fact that aluminized steel may be more corrosion resistant in this particular application (I don't know).

Regards,

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


December 25, 2012

A. To the comments about drinking milk... It's when working with lead, like lead based paints, that when you drink a pint of milk, it stabilizes the lead toxins. I'm not sure if it's the same for galvanized metals.

Dazzii B
- Doncaster, England


April 22, 2013

Q. Hi,
I am building my own garage gym and I got a galvanized steel pipe which I would like to use as a wrist roller.
I will be touching this pipe usually not longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Can skin oils and sweat cause any funky reactions and the resulting compounds be absorbed through the skin?
Thank you for your help.
Best Regards,
Jens S.

Jens Schuetz
- Santa Clara, California, USA


April 22, 2013

A. Hi Jens. You'll be happier if you paint a piece of black iron pipe instead. The paint will stick better; you'll worry less (we've explained again & again that it's all is a matter of degree, and nobody can help you decide what the risk is and whether you'll accept it); and galvanized pipe isn't ideal for this wear and type of environment. Good luck.

Regards,

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


April 25, 2013

Q. Hi there! I have seen a lot of suggestions on craft websites to use galvanized buckets for kids storage. I love the idea and was all set to get some when a neighbor mentioned to me that storing toys in galvanized buckets could be harmful to my child! Yikes! My little guy is 9 months and also sucking on everything! I'm curious and concerned. Please let me know. It seems to be the new hip and economical idea but are parents just not informed or am I overreacting?

Kate Smith
- Santa Cruz, California, USA


April 26, 2013

A. Hi Kate. Things are not "safe" vs. "unsafe" -- rather, everything is relative. Far more children die in car accidents than from any other cause, but few parents keep their children out of cars because they are "unsafe".

9 month old children should not be sucking on galvanized objects -- but that does not mean that galvanized buckets for storage is any realistic threat at all to older children. Best of luck.

Regards,

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


May 20, 2013

Q. I'm thinking of using a vintage Broil King Hot Plate.

The flat heating plate is tin, but looks like chrome, very shiny.

Will tin off-gas when heated?

Thanks

Roger Pelizzari
- West Virginia


May 23, 2013

A. Hi Roger. You posted your question under the topic of safety of "zinc" (galvanizing), but you say the heating plate is made of "tin", but it looks like "chrome". Unfortunately, you don't actually know what it's made of, and it's unlikely that any reader would either, unless they happen to be retired from a career working in the plating shop of Broil King :-)

You say this item is vintage, so presumably it's been used many times over the decades. I don't know how a thin shiny plating on the surface of a heating plate could possibly sustain outgassing for decades even if it were made of some exotic poisonous metal, which it's obviously not. Don't worry about it! But if you want something to worry about, consider whether there might be asbestos in the insulation :-)

Good luck.

Regards,

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


May 28, 2013

Q. I have a friend that is using a galvanized trough that is used as a livestock water container to sterilize/pasteurize straw as a growing medium. He is heating it with open propane burners from below but only bringing the internal temperature to @170-180 degrees. Is there a health problem with the food crops he's growing in this straw?

Jaime Yarbrough
- Smith River, California, USA


May 31, 2013

A. Hi Jaime. It was a livestock water container, so it was safe enough for that; and he's barely warming it, so I see no problem.

Regards,

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


June 6, 2013

Q. I am heating water for my pool through galvanized pipe running through a fire, I know that galvanized pipe can give off toxic fumes when put in a fire at first, I was wondering about the water being contaminated. I am keeping the water circulating through the pipes and it is heating my water up just worried about the water being safe to swim in.

Brandon S.
- Mulberry, Indiana USA


June 10 2013

A. Hi Brandon. As mentioned a couple of times, zinc is an essential nutrient not a toxin. The amount of this essential nutrient that you have added to a pool full of swimming water by heating the galvanized pipe is probably not even measurable. Good luck.

Regards,

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


July 4, 2013

Q. I have been doing sheetmetal for 25 plus years (HVAC). Have always been told about the toxic fumes from heating galvanized metal but have also been told that the first burn off usually takes care of that, I am using some 26 ga. to repair cross over channels between the burners on a propane grill (the only parts they don't sell). Would like your thoughts and or opinion . thanks

Dennis Wacker
- Leav., Kansas, United States


July 5, 2013

A. Hi. Personally I wouldn't give it a second thought if you're not welding it.

Regards,

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


August 18, 2013

Q. Hello, I came across this page after searching for info on the safety of galvanized steel in child's room. On the website Pinterest, there are many crafting ideas floating around concerning large oil drip pans used as magnetic boards for children (see nicandkate09.blogspot.com/2011/08/alphabet-board.html for an example of what I'm talking about). Some pointed out that the galvanized steel coating on the pan might have lead in it. I'm wondering if this would be toxic to a child in any way? Assuming it would be hanging on the wall in a child's room and they would be touching it frequently during play. And would spray-painting the pan decrease any of the safety issues, if there are any?

Elizabeth Candelaria
- Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA


Latex Self-Etching Primer

August 21, 2013

A. Hi Elizabeth. Galvanizing might have some small amount of lead in it, it might have a small amount of leachable nickel in it, it might have a very dilute chromate conversion coating on it. I don't think it's particularly hazardous, but the operative idea is that if you re-purpose something, using it for something it wasn't intended for, you have no assurance of its safety for the new application. The designer might not know or remember that people might hang the item on a wall for kids to play with.

If you paint it then it sounds quite safe, but paint doesn't stick well to galvanizing. You'd probably have to start with a primer designed for galvanized surfaces before applying your decorative spray paint. Good luck.

Regards,

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


August 25, 2013

Q. Hi, I am planning on hosting a garbage can dinner and bought a new galvanized can, only to discover that it might be dangerous. The food doesn't actually touch the can, water heated in the bottom steams the food. Do you think this is dangerous?

Jenny Koch
- Tremont, Illinois, USA


October 12, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hey I was just wondering if it's dangerous to use Galvanised steel as jewellery wire. I want to start making Celtic torcs and I want to make the first one out of the wire I already use for sculpting. I'd like to be able to wear it if I make one, do you think it will be safe?

Dan Taylor
- Malvern, Worcestershire, United Kingdom


October 14, 2013

A. Hi Dan. Galvanizing often has a final quench in hexavalent chromate. Even though the amount is miniscule, as a matter of principle I would not use metal that has even a miniscule amount of carcinogenic hexavalent chrome on it as jewelry. Probably just as important, galvanized steel won't make for an aesthetically pleasing jewelry item because of its propensity towards white rust and corrosion when exposed to water and sweat.

Regards,

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


October 14, 2013

A. Have to agree with Ted, even though I sell galvanizing.

It's primarily corrosion protection for steel. It's a zinc coating on the steel that slowly erodes in preference to the steel, until all consumed after which the steel starts to rust (perhaps decades later).

It's not for wearing, eating, etc.

Geoff Crowley
Geoff Crowley
galvanizing & powder coating shop
Glasgow, Scotland



October 31, 2013

Q. I am having a water well installed and they are going to use galvanized pipe. About 450 feet for the water. Is that safe for drinking water?

Ryan Snapp
- Eustace, Texas, USA


October 31, 2013

A. Hi Ryan. Please contact your town or county health department about this. Galvanized pipe was very widely used for water service in the old days but is rarely used today. It may be against local codes. Plastic pipe is probably more common today.

Regards,

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



November 4, 2013

Q. I'd like to make an old galvanised gas bottle (large 45 kg size) into a shed heater. I understand well the dangers of welding galvanized but what about when the heater is used as a wood burning heater (glowing red heat) is it losing zinc (vapour or particles) in small quantities or not at all?

Ross Peake
- Canberra, Australia


February 26, 2016

Q. My question is similar to the gentleman's from Canberra. If we use galvanised for a back-splash in a workshop and are using a torch for lampworking (glass blowing) will the back get hot enough to give off toxic fumes? I am thinking of spacing a couple of nuts in between the sheet metal and the studs on the wall to create a "radiator" that would disperse the heat so the panel stays cooler.

Carlos Conejo
- Thousand Oaks, California


February 2016

A. Hi Carlos. If you're not getting that backsplash hot enough that you're worried about burning the house down, I don't think there is any cause for concern. Again, zinc is not a poison, it's an essential micro-nutrient; the problem comes from overdoses that welders encounter when vaporizing the zinc into clouds of zinc-based smoke.

Regards,

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



Burning lawn debris in a galvanized trash can dangerous as far as fumes?

July 7, 2016

Q. I am thinking of making a Burncage out of a galvanized steel trash can, something like the one Truevalue sells and was wondering if the can will give out fumes while burning lawn debris and personal documents?

Thank you!

Monica Ortiz
Homeowner rural - Cleburne, Texas USA


July 2016

A. Hi. Lots of things that get hot are galvanized. Exhaust ducts for furnaces and water heaters, internal parts of gas and charcoal grills, ashpans in airtight stoves, etc. Outdoor burning, which is nowhere near welding temperatures, and where the smoke getting to your lungs and eyes will force you upwind anyway, doesn't sound to me like it poses any issue at all.

Regards,

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



September 19, 2016

Q. I purchased zinc plated knobs for my kitchen cabinet which were made in India. Should I be concerned about zinc exposure. There are about 36 knobs purchased from Lowes who stated the zinc covered steel. Thank you for your comments. I have young children.

Linda Quarles
- Indianapolis Indiana USA


September 2016

A. Hi. No problem. And they're probably clear coated after the zinc plating anyway. Of course, China and India are not crawling with lawyers and EPA people like the USA -- so just because it says zinc covered steel doesn't necessarily mean it is.

Regards,

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



October 23, 2016

Q. I am making an infrared sauna using red 250 watt R40 heat lamp bulbs. I want to put a protective screen a few inches in front of the bulbs so that no one can touch them. I am thinking to use galvanized steel hardware cloth. Concerns have been raised about the metal off-gassing in the confined space of the sauna. Is this likely to be an issue? At what temperature would such metal begin to off-gas? Is there a better product for this that you know of? Thanks.

Brian Haviland
- Austin, Texas US


October 2016

A. Hi Brian. I think people misunderstand the nature of the "zinc fumes" issue. Zinc is an essential micronutrient, not a toxin. It's a problem for welders because of the blinding heat of electric welding vaporizing the zinc, combined with the fact that a welder tends to do a lot of welding, not one little spot weld a month. And I strongly doubt that the zinc coating will even melt, let alone vaporize.

Products very similar to hardware cloth, but woven from stainless steel, are available if you prefer.

Regards,

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



November 1, 2016

Q. I just bought me a galvanized fire ring and I know its specialized in burning fire. I had plans one day to burn marshmallows and cook on it. Is it harmful or should I just dig the galvanized fire ring out the ground and get a refund.

7164-1a 7164.1b

Jonathan Tucker
- Charlotte, North Carolina United States


November 16, 2016

Q. I'm using a galvanized steel utility pail made by Behrens as an outer casing for a make shift insulated oven. Inside the galvanized steel pail will be a very hot stone heated up to 550 °F. On top of that stone will be an aluminum camping pot with food inside the pot cooking from the heat of the stone. I've heard rumors that galvanized steel when heated can release toxic vapors. My question is this. Although my food is not even touching the galvanized steel should I be worried about using the galvanized pail as it is heated and could potentially leach toxic vapors into my food that's cooking in an aluminum camping pot. Hope this makes sense. I will be greatly appreciative of any information someone might have about this.

bryce prince
- San Tan Valley, Arizona, USA


December 2016

A. Hi. Zinc is an essential nutrient, not a toxin, but it doesn't sound like any detectable amount could end up in your food anyway.

Regards,

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


December 19, 2016

Q. I was scrubbing down some galvanized pipe for a desk I'm building, using what I thought was a non-abrasive scrubbing pad. I noticed a metallic smell every so often, but thought that was just from the hot, soapy water I was using to soak the pipes. It was only after a while that I noticed that the pad was actually scouring the metal, and that it and my gloves were covered in grey smudges. Now I'm worried that I might have inhaled a bunch of zinc or other metal particles and damaged myself. I haven't noticed any symptoms of anything, but should I be worried?

Theo Graham
- Omaha, Nebraska, US


December 2016

A. Hi. Scrubbing with an abrasive pad is unlikely to release any metal shards, and it's even less likely that you could inhale them.

Regards,

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



December 28, 2016

Q. I've made a heat exchanger for my wood burning fireplace out of galvanized Steel pipe. Do you think it will reach temperature to turn into gas. My son's eyes started to get puffy so I stopped using it but it could also be him helping me start the fire, and smoke & dust getting in his eyes. Let me know what you guys think.

Michael mcqueen
- Indlps, Indiana


April 2017

A. Hi Michael. Some people think it's not good practice to make such parts from galvanized steel. But while I have no medical qualifications, I think smoke & dust is 1000 times more likely to be the cause of his puffy eyes than zinc fumes.

Regards,

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



February 21, 2017

Q. Hello I run 2 ten ton melters and my company wants us to melt galvanized steel, is it hazardous to melt down 7000- 10000 lbs of galvanized steel?

Aaron Dransfield
- New castle, Kentucky


November 10, 2017

Q. I had an electro galvanized nail in my mouth today will I get zinc poisoning?

Alex Erwin
- Cassville, Missouri


November 2017

Hi Alex. You should never put nails in your mouth for a number of good reasons, but you don't get zinc poisoning even from eating a couple of Cold-Eze tablets, so you certainly won't get it from having one zinc coated nail in your mouth for a moment. Zinc is an essential micro-nutrient, not a poison.

Regards,

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



November 18, 2017

A. Companies such as Porsche had to develop procedures for the safe welding of galvanized car chassis in the 70s and 80s due to well documented and accepted human health risks associated with the toxic fumes produced when welding galvanized metals. Only then could Porsche and others offer corrosion warranties.

Ben Opie
- Melbourne, Victoriaam Australia



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