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Is galvanized steel dangerous to be making rings with? Answered

I am making chainmail in my room and my dad thinks we'll get zinc dust in our carpet and possibly get sick from me bending the wire.


Maybe build it outside or in a garage/shed. That way you won't have to worry about contaminating your home.

Yes that is a possibliity, zine is nothing to fool around with, if you r going to make chain mail do so in a shop or used iron wire that is not coated with zinc...!

According to this safety document, zinc dust is only "irritating", so you will be safe if you wear goggles, gloves and a dust mask.

If the dust gets on furniture, or into carpet, simply vacuum it up (or, better, work in a space with no carpet or soft furnishings, so that a small "dust buster" can do the job). If you breath in a lot, you can get "fume fever" or "zinc shakes", but they pass without long-term damage.

The relevant section:

Accute Health Effects: Irritating to the skin and eyes on contact. Irritation to the eyes will cause watering and redness. Reddening, scaling, and itching are characteristics of skin inflammation. Follow safe industrial hygiene practices and always wear protective equipment when handling this compound. Inhalation may irritate the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat and runny nose. If sufficient amounts are inhaled and absorbed, symptoms known as metal fume fever or “zinc shakes”; an acute, self-limiting condition without recognized complications.

Symptoms of metal fume fever include chills, fever, muscular pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Chronic Health Effects: This product has no known chronic effects. Repeated or prolong exposure to this compound is not known to aggravate medical conditions.

Accute Health Effects: This product is not listed by NTP, IARC or regulated as a Carcinogen by OSHA.

thanks. according to my chemistry teacher, I should be fine but he wouldn't take any chances. he said to simply do it outside. we actually handled raw zinc today and he said it would be fine to simply pick it up with out hands. it did not irritate at all but we were wearing safety goggles and aprons. ( more for the HCl though. we were generating hydrogen and experimenting with it's properties. it's pretty cool you should try it sometime.)

Lumps are fine, it's the dust that can irritate, probably by simply being small and sharp as much as anything.

 Since you said that, i there a way to make sodium acetate without bicarbonate of soda?

(I do the zinc/acid experiment on a fairly regular basis, being a science teacher...)


9 years ago

I don't know about safety- wise, but I made a chainmaille footbag and after a while of using it it begins to smell. I think this is coming from the zinc coating, because I mostly use it as a stress ball, and it doesn't come into contact with anything other than my hands. (Yes, I wash my hands often.) When I switched to aluminum rings, (I bought them from theringlord.com) I didn't notice any smell even though I actually used the footbags as footbags and they came into contact with the ground.

I made a chainmaille belt and it hasn't smelled yet. I've heard of certain metals developing an odor though. I would use aluminum but the aluminum stuff I have always seen is not very strong, you have to have an extremely low gauge wire in order for them to be as strong as galvanized steel. basically I have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect metal to use. galvanized could be dangerous, most other things are too expensive or they rust or simply aren't strong enough.

No, the only thing that will cause "zinc fever" or zinc poisoning is heating (blowtorch) or welding zinc coated metal. If you are just bending zinc coated wire there is no chance you will get sick.