are zinc plated nuts and bolts safe to use in a smoker?

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by mike w, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. mike w

    mike w Smoking Fanatic

    I went to B & Q today to find some stainless steel nuts bolts and washers for a project to add two more shelves inside my grill so I can smoke more food. Would there be any issues with using these? They don't sell stainless steel there which is why I got the zinc plated ones
    YouTube video of what the project is. Thanks in advance!
    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=2mzygiCOEsA
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  2. osprey2

    osprey2 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Only if you want to poison yourself !

    I personally would not put anything plated in a bbq Stainless can be found at a boat chandler's, but expensive, I know, have boat. 
     
  3. mike w

    mike w Smoking Fanatic

    That's what I want to avoid, thanks for the reply. I'll have to take those back or use them for something else.
     
  4. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    try Screwfix if there is one local to you or a proper Fixing\fastners place normally sell Stainless bolts.  

    I found Paramount Fixings in stoke, paid in cash about a fiver for 25 different sized bolts nuts and washers, the guys could not be more helpful.

    I too tried all the usual suspect's regarding DIY places when building my smoker a couple of weeks ago, including wickes which was surprised didn't do stainless but equally when the woman asked my what I was using them for and why normal bolts would not suffice.

    ade
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  5. mike w

    mike w Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks! There is a screwfix in Peterborough which is close to me that will work. Sometimes the language differences makes it hard to find things lol. I would never have thought to search for a fastener store. Much obliged to you!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  6. Hello Mike.  Yep, the guys are right.  It's a no no.  I know what you mean about the language barrier.  You know what you want but don't know what it's called here or where to find it.  Makes it tough sometimes.

    For the other members, Mike hasn't really said but he's a Yank also.  So please treat him gently.  He hasn't been here as long as I have. I'm not sure if he can pronounce worcestershire sauce. [​IMG]    Have fun all.

    Danny
     
  7. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    I am not an expert. Just asking questions.

    Zinc's melting point is 419.5 °C, boiling point is 907 °C. It does not produce fume until it reaches boiling point.

    Why is zinc not safe in a smoker? How hot can a smoker go?

    dcarch
     
  8. Hello dcarch.  This is OVERKILL safety.  According to the American Galvanizers Association and the US Food and Drug, acidic foods can react with zinc coating.  Now in reality how much of this type food will contact the nuts and bolts of a smoker and from that how much zinc would a person REALLY ingest even over a period of years?  The other question I have is the quality of the zinc or galvanise coating?  Just how many other unknown chemicals can an unscrupulous manufacturer use to "cut" the zinc coating and still be able to sell it as "zinc"/"galvanised" plated/coated?  How do those unknown chemicals affect the zinc and are they food safe?  We have all bought "galvanised coated" something" only to find it rusty a couple weeks later.  Most of these manufacturers are not producing a product for food production so they MAY not be so careful with their final product.  A good example is try drilling a hole in a chrome bumper.  Better have a few drill bits handy.  Then buy some of the after market "chrome plated" parts to add "flash" to your vehicle.  Those things will probably be rusty within a year.  Finally, I agree with you dcarch,  IF you are buying a good quality zinc plated or galvanised product you "should" "probably" be safe to use it in a smoker.  For me; when talking food safety and folks I love, when I start seeing words like "should", "probably" "ought to be" I think " why take the chance"?  Spend the extra few bucks and be sure.  Just my opinion and why I always give this advice.  Keep Smokin!

    Danny
     
    mike w likes this.
  9. mike w

    mike w Smoking Fanatic

    "Wooster" haha, but I asked my wife :) I'm heading to screwfix today to get stainless steel nuts n bolts. Much obliged for the technical answer Danny. That makes sense. I figured I'd ask just from reading a thread here about not using galvanized drums to make a smoker. Better safe than sorry!
     
  10. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Danny,

    I do understand where you are coming from. What got me thinking is that day in and day out, every second of the working day, billions and billions of people, you, me, everyone, work in, live in, and sleep in rooms where all ventilation air ducts, air conditioning duct, systems are all made with galvanized sheet metal.

    The high heat exhaust pipes/chimney of you heating system in you house is also galvanized.

    So what is the deal with a few nuts and screws in a relatively low heat non-food contact uses?

    dcarch
     
  11. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi darach,

    I used to working in ventilation and ducting (albeit many moons ago, so it may be different now) all the bolts we used galv for outside the ducting (bracketing, supports, connectors)...the only items that went inside the duct were pop rivets which we always had as stainless however there has been times when the fire dampers we fitted where certainly not stainless but galv but whether this is galv that is high wearing or treat differently I don't know, as these fire dampers would need stop the fires within the duct at certain points through the buildings.

    But from my perspective I have only just built my smoker a couple of weeks ago and had few trials runs and I'm a complete noob in this area so only going off others experience, but the fact that my family and close friends are eating from it, personally I would not want to take the chance for the sake of £10 pound for a some stainless bolts\nuts\washers..etc...but that is only my opinion.

    I would say a quick google foo and look on other similar forums including US forums seem to have the same mantra and echo galv is bad where ever food is involed.

    Just my 5 cents

    Ade
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
    mike w likes this.
  12. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    I can understand if you are a welder, zinc fumes can cause you temporary trouble. Possibly you should not use galvanized metal for the fire box.

    Other than that zinc is a very important element for your body for good health.

    dcarch

    Repeat: I am not an expert. Don't start to use zinc based on what I said.
     
  13. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi darch

    I'm not sure if the zinc that comes from the galv is the zinc that our body needs...

    The general contentious is zinc/galv is bad in the BBQ/smoking world.

    I would say if your 100% comfortable with using galv/zinc in you smoker I would say go for it, it may or may not be an issue, hopefully it won't be.

    Myself I'm not, looking at other people's experience would prefer to go stainless, like yourself I'm no expert and new this area so only going of the knowledgable guys from forums like this

    Also while in engineering we got involved in vibercon units which vibrating machines like giant sivs for sorting grains/small food stuffs in food processing anything on these had to stainless even the bolts securing the motor that does not go any where near the food


    Ade
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  14. I will just say this.  As I stated above "this is "probably" safety overkill".  I am certainly no expert either.  I was a welder for a little more than 20 years.  I have had what I would call a mild case of zinc poisoning twice.  Feels like the worst case of flu you ever had.  Feels like 3 BIG men beat your body with baseball bats.  Not fun!  Zinc; THE PURE ELEMENT, is an important element in good health.  Zinc; the pure element, is a heavy metal.  We all know the effects of prolonged exposure to heavy metal in certain quantities.  Cancers and even birth defects to name a couple.  Gold is sold by karat which means it isn't PURE gold, it has been diluted by other metals.  Pure zinc is also expensive to buy so it stands to reason the manufacturer will dilute the plating solution ( with who knows what ) as much as he can to make a profit and still be able to claim "zinc coated".

    It all just brings me back to the original question:  For a few bucks more WHY would you take the risk, no matter how slight?  Just my opinion.  To each his own conscience.  Keep Smokin!

    Danny
     
  15. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    I know I tend to ask too many questions. Sorry about that.

    As i understand, there is no such thing as "stainless steel" they are all "stain resistant" and chromium in stainless steel can also be toxic.

    We are talking about degrees, I suppose.

    dcarch
     
  16. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi Dcarch

    I agree that stainless steel is basically an alloy but the fact that it is the Standard in the Food Industry for both Processing and kitchen Materials when there is any type of contact food stuffs sets my mind at ease.

    as mentioned if your, comfortable with gal\zinc in you smoker then go for it....obviously if you could keep us dated on your progress it might help fellow members as the majority on here learn from there own or other peoples experiences.

    ade 
     
  17. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    No, I am not going to use zinc/galvanized parts for two reasons. One, like everyone else, there is no need to save a few pennies and have to think about it. The other is galvanized parts if damaged will rust like crazy.

    Speaking of food safety, no one seem to worry about using totally non-food safe painted beer cans for high heat direct food contact cooking (beer can chicken).

    dcarch
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  18. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My current personal opinion is that this has become a bit of an urban legend that gained "fact" status by often being re-quoted on forums such as this one. If anyone can point me in the direction of any documented studies or official health advisories where risks of using zinc components in the hot, non-contact areas of food preparation are explained I would be very interest to read them. They may very well be out there - in which case in good old Mythbusters fashion the myth would be "confirmed" - It is just that so far I have not seen any conclusive evidence. I am not advocating the use of zinc in smoker builds and I don't use it myself but I cannot help but feel there is a tad too much paranoia in the forums about it.
     
  19. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Meat Mopper

    I've got a feeling you're onto something with the " myth " aspect Wade, galvanising procedeure used to involve cadmium which is now banned as it is very nasty, so there is this historical aspect that hasn't been adressed since the move to zinc.

    Toolstation is another good and fairly inexpensive source of stainless bolts, or just use plain mild steel, once you have a couple of smokes under your belt, they will have a nice seasoning of smokey goodness on them just like the plain mild steel diamond mesh racks that folks use all the time in homebuilt offsets.
     
  20. Hello.  Gentlemen, you are ABSOLUTELY correct!  There is no evidence that I know of that supports my position.  ZERO!  NONE!!  At least as far as I am aware.  I wasn't sure so I just Googled the quality of food safe stainless steel.  As a quick read it said 304 stainless, I thought it was 314 stainless ( it all has to do with the chrome and nickel content which Jock may know more about than me ).

    Here is my weak argument and my reason for sticking to it:  Galvanised and zinc plated are marketing words.  There is a minimum standard I am sure.  Just what is that minimum standard?  And does that minimum standard include food safe ?  What else is included in that diluted mix?  Stainless steel has a grading system.  It is 304, 308, 314, 316 and so on.  You know the quality of what you are getting.  With galvanised and zinc plating you just don't know what that plating has been diluted with.  Will it break down with heat because of the dilution?  Was the plating done correctly or slap dash?  As I stated above I have had what I would call a mild case of galvanise poisoning twice.  I would not wish that on my worst enemy.  That is some nasty stuff!  I certainly would not risk the folks I love with even the smallest possibility of that.  I will always vote for  mild steel or stainless.  Not beating a dead horse, just explaining why I say no.  Of course it is safety overkill.  If all went BADLY wrong; realistically how much zinc are you really gonna ingest????   It's just what I chose and I will continue to say no to these things.  THIS will be one of those agree to disagree posts even though the rest of you are wrong!  [​IMG]

    Seriously!  If someone has a position that can not be backed up by fact; it is me.  I can't offer one item of fact to back up my position.  NONE!  Keep Smokin!

    Danny
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

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