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Woody

Galvanized, zinc, fumes, and milk

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I have been a welder for 20 years, and the only advise I would give anyone is VENTILATION, prompt medical attention if required, and VENTILATION!

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i know that galv and zinc are posions but my shop teacher siad it was oky to only tack weld a little but wait to weld the whole thing out side is this right?

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i was exposed to galv welding fumes through my fathers welding and cutting. nuff said.
donot do it u could end up like me.
Also i know this is not the same but it pertains. As an aircraft mechanic we were exposed to a hydrolic fluid called Skydrol. There was a salesman who would rub it on his skin to show how harmless it was, He died of cancer.
I myself had gotten some in my eye and was told by an old time A&p (airframe&powerplant Mechanic) that milk woul.d flush it out. Something about the fat in milk taking on carbons or other oils or something.
Needless to say that i need a stronger perscription in that perticular eye.
cowicidents maybe but bottom line i should have gone to the docs and then there would be no doubt. Please go to the doc and then you dont have to live in doubt.
An ounce of cure is better than a pound. Nuff said

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Just to add to the comments on welding galv. even a filter respirator is not safe, it MUST be an airline or self contained respirator and if airline make sure the intake is properly placed.

Kansaspiper
Mulvane Kansas

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I would argue that a half face mask air purifing respirator is ok for welding galvanized, but must be properly fitted, and tested, the filters must be changing prior to breakthrough, and the user must be trained in its use. To determine if an airline or SCBA will be needed, then an air test to determine the contaminant concentration would be needed. I have never seen a welding operation in an open space that needed an airline respirator. In a confined space however all bets are off.

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Remember that all Air Purifying Respirators must be fit tested to your face. Each different manufacturer of Respirators has their own idea of what the "Average" face is like. In one make a medium may fit you perfectly in another it may take a large.

Additionally ALL Air Purifying Respirators have a Protection Factor associated with them. That is the maximum concentration of a contaminant that the perticular stye of Air Purifying Respirator will protect you from. A half face, that is one that covers the nose and mouth, has a protection factor of 10. That is it will protect you from a Maximum concentration of contaminant that is 10 times the permissible exposure limit. If the permissible exposure limit is 1 ppm then that respirator will protect you to a maximum concentration of contaminant in air of 10 ppm. A full face respirator has a protection factor of 50.

If you intend to weld in a confined space without a direct reading air monitoring instrument you are inviting disaster. For welding in a confined space, I would only recommend a Positive Pressure SCBA. I belive that Positive Pressure SCBAs have a protection factor of 10,000 if I am not mistaken.

No one can guess the concentration of the contaminant in the air so it is better to fail on the side of safety and have more protection than you need than less.

Remember that your nose is not a good toxic contaminant. Many contaminants are harmful to the body at below their odor threshold. That means that before you can smell them your are poisoned. With extremely toxic substances your nose will only work once, you get a good whiff and then you are DEAD.

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Good on you Woody for posting on an important and mistaken beleafs. I agree 100% on your veiw. I have witnessed gal. poisoning to a couple of guys, and I can tell you that they spewed there guts up, somehow I don,t think drinking milk is going to stop the posion going through there body. Positive Pressure Masks are good, just make shore your supplied air is clean, make shore to that you know this and don,t leave your health and safety in someones elses hands. As a general rule, I will steer clear of gal welding jobs, they are [email protected]#t, and if I must do one, will only do it in a well ventilated area etc. Yes I,m a safety guy, and been around to long to not cut corners.

Edited by horseshoe182
add stuff

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Firsr time post...i stumbled on to this forum and because i'm intested in traditional blacksmithing thouht it would be a good idea to learn about safty issues. I would like to thank everyone who has made a post. I've learned a lot and will just completly stay away from the galv and zinc. However, one thing that popped into my head while reading was, how can you tell if metal is galvanized or not. If someone could give me an idea of this i would be very greatful.

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Galvanized metal is commonly done in 3 ways.

hot dip
Hot dip is the thickest of coatings, it usually looks like the part is coated in an uneven gray metal coating, and if it is not new it will have a chalkiness to the surface.

mechanical plating
Mechanical plating is done my forceful tumbling with a media and powder zinc (or other materials), soaps and dyes added to the mix. It provides a medium thickness, even, controlled coating. This is commonly done to high grade, heat treated fasteners, and can be made any color, but may or may not have a metallic sheen about it.

electrical plating
Electro-plating is the thinest of coatings, it often causes large crystal patterns on the surface of material plated. It is shiny when new and dull when old, but will tend to retain the pattern about the surface until the coating is very worn.

ALL of these coating can be painted over with proper preparation, and over time all of these coating will wear enough that the underlying steel can rust and coat intact zinc (or other protective metals) Some paint-like coatings have enough zinc in them to qualify as a galvanizing rustproofing.

Metals that change your fire color have significant amounts of dangerous materials on or in them. Do not use these materials for forging until you have determined the coating, how safe it is, and if necessary how to remove it. Even after determining these it may be cheaper and safer to simply recycle the contaminated materials and get other materials.

Phil

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the galvanized coating appears to be in many cases, a silvery blotchey coating. typical example is HVAC duct work and chain link fences.

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As galvanized is just one of possible dangerous coatings, (lead paint and cadmium plating are a couple of others), the general rule is that "if it's rusty it's OK" If the surface of scrap is covered with a layer of rust then it doesn't have one of the common toxic coatings. Of course this doesn't work for items covered with oil and grease; but they seem to be fewer in the scrap stream.

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Galvanized steel is welded on every day by professional welders, who know the risks and ALWAYS have ventilation , a fan or an air mover blowing from behind to move the smoke away from the work area. It is a recognized hazard and dealt with. The home welder might not know about a hazard that wont just make you sick, it will kill you "graveyard dead".Torch cutting an old freon tank releases PHOSGENE gas from the refrigerant residue inside. This gas is as deadly as they come. One sniff and you will die. Do not torch cut into an old freon tank!

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".Torch cutting an old freon tank releases PHOSGENE gas from the refrigerant residue inside. This gas is as deadly as they come. One sniff and you will die. Do not torch cut into an old freon tank!


This is huge Rus, I never woulda figured on this, and maybe even had a go at it, I assume this includes plasma torches as well............Q: what does phosgene smell like?........A: If you know you're toast......Death_Emoticon.gif

Another Q: Would a grinding wheel create enough heat to cause this?

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I could not say if grinding can cause a gas release.. it takes heat and/or UV I think.. for an alarm.. look at google Phosgene.

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Using a cutting torch on ANY sealed or semi-sealed vessel is a bad idea since unburnt fuel can pool inside and suddenly detonate.

Phil

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Now, having read all of the above comments and thoroughly understanding that Zinc is Highly toxic and potentially fatal:

Does grinding through a piece of zinc-plated steel release the fumes? Can the dust be enough to trigger reactions? And what does burning zinc smell like, to those who have unfortunately had that opportunity?

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Grinding zinc isn't an issue, no problem.........Burning zinc gives off an intense blue white flame. If you were to take a small piece of galve material and heat it with a torch to the burning point and wave a little smoke your way with your hand like with smelling acid you'll know the smell, it's very distinctive.

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You should avoid inhaling the dust from grinding zinc, or any other material for that matter. Unlike with fumes a dust mask is all you need.

Phil

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so I thought I would pass this along at least at my work this is how its done. we spread the milk rumor to weed out the fakers newbie welders and other staff frequintly "come down with galv poisoning" and the rumor is quickly spread to them that Milk will almost instantly cure it (plosibo anyone not sure i spelled that wright) any way it rapidly weeds out the fakers from the actually sick 

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57 minutes ago, Domethius said:

so I thought I would pass this along at least at my work this is how its done. we spread the milk rumor to weed out the fakers newbie welders and other staff frequintly "come down with galv poisoning" and the rumor is quickly spread to them that Milk will almost instantly cure it (plosibo anyone not sure i spelled that wright) any way it rapidly weeds out the fakers from the actually sick 

"Placebo".

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I see this old thread has been resurrected and that's a good thing for the newbies who might be reading this.

I have been told numerous times that you can weld gal, and milk will cure any after effects.  Rubbish. I was feeling pretty crook after welding some junk steel and our family doctor was not impressed. He said he would inspect my workshop until I got clean-air respirator. I use it if I have to weld plated stuff (which I do very rarely now) and even for ordinary welds. Whatever coating you intend welding - zinc, cadmium, chromium, whatever - make sure you have the correct PPE or better still, leave it alone.

Newbies - read back over these postings and note well the warnings from those with experience.

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22 hours ago, ausfire said:

>>>>>>. Whatever coating you intend welding - zinc, cadmium, chromium, whatever - make sure you have the correct PPE or better still, leave it alone.

Newbies - read back over these postings and note well the warnings from those with experience.

From my point of view the above can not be repeated often enough!

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