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Zinc Poisoning
Article © MAIL User: Dragon_Queen

Zinc Poisoning

Included in this article
· My rant and opinion of Galvy/ Zinc poisoning
· The symptoms of Zinc poisoning
· How to wear and properly test a respirator
· What to do in case of poisoning

First of all to get Zinc poisoning from Galvanized steel you have to be working it heavy. By this I Mean Grinding, Cutting (with an abrasive wheel such as a Zip Cut or Cut off disks.) Heating or Melting, and Welding/Soldering. Just using Galvy to make maille will not likely give you poisoning unless you eat the rings. This I also don't advise, for they are sharp and may hurt your tummy.

Okay I am writing this article because of the amount of times I have come across people working with Galvanized steel and not taking the proper precautions. Now I look at everyone on this site as part of the Maille Family and whether you like it or not you are seconds away from getting one of my infamous lectures. Galvanized steel (for those of you who don’t know) is steel with a ZINC layer that helps prevent corrosion. This is great but Zinc is also a serious poison as are most metals in fact but I realize more and more of you are heating Zinc than most other metals. I work around galvanized steel on a regular basis both as a metal fabricator and as a Chainmaille artisan. The first time I realized how seriously dangerous Galvy can be was when I was welding it after welding several joints I lifted my helmet and noticed the air was FILLED with these little white strings floating around at first I didn’t realize what it was but soon realized that it was the Zinc floating in the air and these were just the particles I could SEE! I immediately donned my respirator but it did not save me from the mild food poisoning like feelings that followed that night and I got off easy. So now that the rant is almost done I just want you all to realize the seriousness of the problem. I have also included

The clinical signs of zinc toxicosis include:

·Red urine
·Icterus (yellow mucous membranes)
·Yellow eyes and skin
·Abdominal pain

Some of the not so nice affects

·Kills red blood cells
·Liver damage and/or failure
·Kidney damage and/or failure


An average respirator runs anywhere from about $35.00 to $100.00 but they will save you from the poisons. So please whenever you are heating, cutting, grinding or welding Galvy please please PLEASE put on your respirator.

Here is a picture of my respirator which cost $65.00. You will need the Purple and Yellow cartridges (at least here in Canada) make sure it meets Occupational Safety regulations and ask what cartridges you need to work around Hazardous Particulate materials. My mask is a North Safety products mask and I like it a lot.
Image: dqrespirator.jpg

First don the mask (pretty simple). Make sure the top and bottom bands sit securely.
Image: dqrespirator2.jpgImage: dqrespirator3.jpgImage: dqrespirator4.jpg

You are then going to place your hands over the cartridges and breathe in. There should be no air exchange. This proves that you have a good seal. Then place your hands over the out port and breathe normally. No air should escape either. If you breath out hard the seal will break. The second procedure might take some time to work because a proper seal is achieved after you have been wearing you mask for awhile.
Image: dqrespirator5.jpgImage: dqrespirator6.jpg


If you suspect you may have Zinc poisoning it feels a lot like food and/or alcohol poisoning all of which you should actually see a doctor about. I recommend you see a physician because if nothing else they can help flush your system of the toxins.
It is also believed that milk helps settles zinc poisoning but that’s only for ingested poisons not the poisons that are already in your blood stream!

P.S. You can see how strongly I care about this and every one here by the fact that I let you see pictures of me. Not to mention pictures of me looking like a retard.
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