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Galvanized Metal

 
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23 08 10:47 pm    Post subject: Galvanized Metal Reply with quote

Lately I have seen a number of post that ask questions of using galvanized metal in a cooker setting. To cut this long explanation short… don’t do it. There are enough of us on this site with backgrounds in toxicology, chemical safety, scientific research, and chemistry to all chime in and point out the dangers associated with this practice.

Now for the long explanation. Galvanizing metal is a practice that has been around for many, many years. It is primarily used to protect steel from corrosion and depending on the formula used it can contain zinc, lead, magnesium, chromium, and a list of other compounds that basically are not considered spices. It can be applied to the metal by means of hot or cold dipping, spraying, electrostatic misting, annealing and by impregnation into the metal. There are a lot of manufactures out there with propitiatory formulas and process so I won’t go into any detail on the quality of their work or the longevity of their product. Let’s just say that there are plenty of cheaply done galvanized parts out there.

The problem with using galvanized parts in the food industry is really two fold. First is contact with acidic foods. Acids from some foods are able to break the molecular bonds in the metal and will dissolve the metal upon contact. Keeping in mind that many of the metals used in the galvanizing process are considered heavy metals and bioaccumulate in the body you can see where this could be a problem. The second problem stems from the heating of the metal and the release of fumes, vapors, and mists that can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed into the body. While every welder knows about metal fume fever, many BBQ enthusiast may not be privy to the symptoms and causes.

When zinc is heated it starts to oxidize, as it continues to be heated it then produces vaporized metal droplets which are called fumes. This is the smoky haze which consists of fine particles of metals or silicates. You can identify the oxidization process by the evidence of a white or sometimes yellowish powder on the metal. When you breathe or ingest these fumes or particles, they may work deeply into your lungs or accumulate in your liver.

The typical effect of breathing zinc fumes from welding is metal fume fever. One or two hours or more after welding-without proper personal protection-you may experience severe thirst, pain in the legs, shivering, congestion in the head, dryness and tickling of the throat, and a cough. In very bad cases, you may feel severe shivering, a high fever, buzzing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, and even hallucinations and convulsions. Your symptoms will usually last 24 hours.

While the majority of the problems come from heating the metal to a melting point, the hazards starts at a much lower temperature. The emitting of oxides and silicates begins at approximately 240 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature the metal starts to expand and microscopic fractures and flakes start to form. These particles can become airborne and eventually end up on your food or carried by the smoke from the burning wood. The process is compounded by the chemicals released by the burning wood and by radiant energy from the fire. While many cooks believe that the temperature of their pit does not reach higher temperatures, I would remind them that meat reacts differently to radiant heat when compared to metal. A good example of this is chrome plated steel racks. How many times have you seen cheaply plated racks rust on a BBQ grill. The chrome is applied in a somewhat similar fashion as zinc is to the steel yet it still flakes and allows corrosion. Some individuals site the lack of “hard evidence” that barbecuing with galvanized parts is dangerous as a license to cook with it . I will agree that I know of no funded study that links barbecuing temperatures with metal fume fever. However, just because a study has not been done does not make it any less true. I will note that the FDA has regulations against using galvanized racks and utensils in areas where food will come in contact with galvanized metal. The point is that the process starts at much lower temperatures than many believe. The particles released are considered heavy metals and affect children greater than adults. Metal fume fever is an allergic reaction to the particles and different people react differently to injection or inhalation of the toxins. I would rather be on the side of caution than risk mine or my family’s health to galvanized metal.
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necron 99
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23 08 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Alien 100% here.

Alien,

What's your take on chromed food grates and fire grates? I've used those for most of my outdoor cooking over the years, and they're still standard equipment even on pits from makers like Horizon.

Any issues in either service?
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Tater_68
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23 08 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Alien here as well I would steer clear of Galv.
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Canadian Bacon
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24 08 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galvanized=Bad Evil or Very Mad
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KenP
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24 08 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I case people didn't get to the end:
Quote:
The point is that the process starts at much lower temperatures than many believe. The particles released are considered heavy metals and affect children greater than adults.

Thanks for the explaination. Personally, I didn't need it because it was discussed enough, but from some recent posts it's obvious some people need a little more convincing.

Should be a sticky!
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24 08 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Micheal- yes, this should be a sticky.

People think I'm nutz about the topic, but it''s just not a good idea, plain and simple.

I all my days of building food packaging machinery (some of it heated, some not) I can assure you that it was 100% galvanized free.....................for a reason! Wink
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Doc1680
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24 08 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

STICKY!!

This is valuable information and it would be good to have it immediately available for those new to The Ring.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24 08 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Alien, In all my days in the construction world having my eyes burned by arcs or other mishaps nothing sticks to me like getting sick from welding and burning Galv. metal. I have been to Galvanizing plants and watched first hand the cleaning, pickling, and galvanizing of iron. There is a reason why it never rusts. Good Thread.
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Cheech
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31 08 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a way to identify if some thing is galvanized or not?

I have a smoker project that I am working on and just found an old water tank and would like to use it for a fire box with proper modifications.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31 08 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheech, If the tank is mottled Grey in color with no visible signs of paint probably galv. a lot of the older tanks were galv. and then there are some that are steel with an air bladder in them. If you put a torch to it an you get some funky blue white smelly smoke left by some white powdery residue its galv.
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