I know a bunch of you will just think I’m being a safety Nazi,
but the dangers of Zinc are real. Here is a little research so
the facts will be straight:
Just for the record Heavy metal poisoning can occur from any of
the following: Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium,
Cobalt, Copper, Lead, Lithium, Manganese, Mercury, Silver, Zinc,
Barium, Bismuth, Gold, Iron, Selenium, Phosphorous, Platinum,
Tin, Nickel, and Thallium (Maybe others, but these were the only
ones listed in the reference I consulted).
From the Cornell University Materials Handling Data Sheet Database:
Appearance And Odor: SILVER-WHITE, OR BLUISH-WHITE METAL.
Boiling Point: 1666F,908C
Melting Point: 788F,420C
Vapor Pressure (MM Hg/70 F): SUPP DATA
Vapor Density (Air=1): N/A
Specific Gravity: 7.12
Evaporation Rate And Ref: NOT APPLICABLE
Solubility In Water: NEGLIGIBLE
Percent Volatiles By Volume: N/A
Fire and Explosion Hazard Data
Flash Point: NOT APPLICABLE
Lower Explosive Limit: N/A
Upper Explosive Limit: N/A
Extinguishing Media: SMOTHER & COOL W/SUITABLE DRY EXTING AGENT (CLASS D
FIRES) SUCH AS DRY POWDER (ANSUL MET-L-X), ZINC OXIDE OR DRY SAND.
Special Fire Fighting Proc: WEAR NIOSH/MSHA APPRVD SCBA & FULL PROT
EQUIP(FP N). WATER SHOULD NOT BE USED,BUT WHEREVER NEC TO COOL EXPOS,
EXTREME CAUTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO PVNT(SUPP DATA)
Unusual Fire And Expl Hazrds: HEATING OF METAL BEYOND BOILING POINT
RESULTS IN EVOLUTION OF ZINC VAPS WHICH IMMED REACTS W/AIR TO FORM ZINC
OXIDE FUME.SLABS MUST BE COMPLETELY DRY(SUPP DATA)
Cond To Avoid (Stability): NONE
Materials To Avoid: ACIDS AND ALKALIS.
Hazardous Decomp Products: ZINC BOILS OFF AS VAPOR AT ELEVATED
Hazardous Poly Occur: NO
Conditions To Avoid (Poly): NOT RELEVANT
Health Hazard Data
LD50-LC50 Mixture: NONE SPECIFIED BY MANUFACTURER.
Route Of Entry - Inhalation: YES
Route Of Entry - Skin: NO
Route Of Entry - Ingestion: NO
Health Haz Acute And Chronic: ACUTE:ING 1:INHAL OF HIGH LEVELS OF ZINC VAP
(ZINC OXIDE FUMES) MAY RESULT IN TIGHTNESS OF CHEST, METALLIC TASTE, COUGH,
DIZZ, FEVER, CHILLS, HDCH, NAUSEA & DRY THROAT. OVEREXPOS MAY PRDCE SYMPS
KNOWN AS METAL FUME FEVER/“ZINC SHAKES”, AN ACUTE,SELF-LIMITING COND W/O
RECOGNIZED COMPLICATIONS. SYMPS (EFTS OF OVEREXP)
Carcinogenicity - NTP: YES
Carcinogenicity - IARC: YES
Carcinogenicity - OSHA: NO
Explanation Carcinogenicity: CADMIUM & COMPOUNDS:GROUP 2A (IARC); GROUP 2
(NTP). LEAD:GROUP 2B (IARC)
Signs/Symptoms Of Overexp: HLTH HAZ:OF METAL FUME FEVER INCLUDE:CHILLS,
FEVER, MUSC PAIN, NAUSEA & VOMIT. ING 2:EXPOS TO HIGH CONCS OF LEAD MAY
CAUSE HDCH, NAUSEA, VOMIT, ABDOM SPASMS, FATIGUE, SLEEP DISTURB, WT LOSS,
ANEMIA & PAIN IN LEGS, ARMS & JOINTS. ING 4:EXPOS TO HIGH CONCS OF CADMIUM
MAY CAUSE SORE THROAT & NASAL TISS, COUGH, (SUPP DATA)
Med Cond Aggravated By Exp: INHALATION OF DUST MAY BE AN IRRITANT TO
PRE-EXISTING RESPIRATORY CONDITIONS.
Emergency/First Aid Proc: INHAL:SYMPS RESULTING FROM OVEREXPOS USUALLY
DISAPPEAR W/IN 24 HRS. SYMPTOMATIC TREATMENT SUCH AS BED REST & POSS
ASPIRIN RECOMM TO RPOVIDE RELIEF FROM FEVER & CHILLS. IN ALL CASES, CALL
MD. SKIN:WASH W/SOAP & WATER (FP N). EYE:FLUSH W/POTABLE WATER FOR AT LEAST
15 MINUTES (FP N). INGEST:GET MD IMMEDIATELY (FP N).
Precautions for Safe Handling and Use
Steps If Matl Released/Spill: MATERIAL SHOULD BE CONTAINED FOR RECYCLING.
Neutralizing Agent: NONE SPECIFIED BY MANUFACTURER.
Waste Disposal Method: MATERIAL MAY BE RECYCLED OR DISPOSED OF I/A/W
FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS. THIS MATERIAL MAY BE
REGULATED UNDER CERCLA, TSCA, SARA &/OR RCRA REGULATIONS.
Precautions-Handling/Storing: STORE IN DRY LOCATION, SEPARATE FROM ACIDS
AND ALKALIS. KEEP METAL DRY SO IT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY MOISTURE WHEN READY
Other Precautions: DAMP SLABS PLACED IN MOLTEN METAL MAY RESULT IN A STEAM
Respiratory Protection: USE NIOSH/MSHA APPROVED TYPE RESPIRATOR FOR
PROTECTION AGAINST DUST AND METAL FUME.
Ventilation: LOCAL EXHAUST OR OTHER VENTILATION THAT WILL REDUCE DUST
CONCENTRATIONS TO LESS THAN PERMISSIBLE EXPOSURE LIMITS.
Protective Gloves: IMPERVIOUS GLOVES (FP N).
Eye Protection: CHEMICAL WORKERS GOGGLES (FP N).
Other Protective Equipment: APPROP PROT GARMENTS SHOULD BE WORN.SUCH
GARMENTS MAY INCLD APRONS,FACE SHIELD,LEGGINGS,ETC.,DEPENDING ON CONDS OF
Work Hygienic Practices: ALWAYS PRACTICE GOOD PERSONAL HYGIENE WHEN
WORKING IN AREAS WHERE THIS MATERIAL EXISTS.
Suppl. Safety & Health Data: VP:0/13KPA @909F. FIRE FIGHT PROC:CONTACT W/
MOLTEN ZINC/BURNING ZINC PRODS. EXPLO HAZ:BEFORE CHARGING INTO MOLTEN METAL
TO PVNT STEAM EXPLO. EFTS OF OVEREXP:& METALLIC TASTE FOLLOWED BY MALAISE,
STIFFNESS,MUSC PAIN & SHORT OF BREATH. CHRONIC:ING 1:EXPOS TO ZINC MAY
CAUSE RESP TRACT IRRIT W/NASOPHARYNGITIS & (ING 5)
INFORMATION ON ZINC INGESTION
Information on Zinc ingestion
The brief description provided below is taken from the 1993 Toxics Release
Inventory Public Data Release (EPA, 1994),
the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), and the Integrated Risk
Information System (IRIS), both accessed via TOXNET
 . The contained below is based upon exposure assumptions
that have been conducted using standard scientific
procedures. The effects listed below must be taken in context of these
exposure assumptions that are more fully explained within
the full chemical profiles in HSDB.
Zinc and Zinc Compounds
Toxicity. Zinc is a nutritional trace element; toxicity from ingestion is
low. Severe exposure to zinc might give rise to gastritis with
vomiting due to swallowing of zinc dusts. Short-term exposure to very high
levels of zinc is linked to lethargy, dizziness, nausea,
fever, diarrhea, and reversible pancreatic and neurological damage.
Long-term zinc poisoning causes irritability, muscular stiffness
and pain, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Zinc chloride fumes cause injury to mucous membranes and to the skin.
Ingestion of soluble zinc salts may cause nausea, vomiting,
Carcinogenicity. There is currently no evidence to suggest that this
chemical is carcinogenic.
The following is from an online source:
Toxicity Factors (pertaining to zinc dietary suppliments)
Zinc can be toxic if taken in excess of two grams per day. Symptoms of this
toxicity include gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting. High zinc
consumption may promote copper deficiency due to the antagonistic
relationship of these two minerals.
Acute zinc toxicity is quite rare, as the ingestion of amounts large enough
to cause toxicity symptoms (2 grams per kilogram body weight) will usually
The area between severe deficiency and toxicity is termed the gray area of
nutrition. Chronic intake of zinc (usually at a level greater than 45 mg
elemental zinc per day) may significantly reduce copper levels and promote
Zinc poisoning can also occur upon ingestion of food that has been stored in