Far out... vaporised zinc is really "bad" for you.
Yes, Charles, but who says it must vaporize. Zinc is one of the very
widely used deoxidizers added to casting gold alloys. (Silicon is
the other commonly used deoxidizer) The zinc oxidizes more actively
than copper, and then the zinc oxide slags off with melting flux. You
don’t get zinc vapors unless you’re seriously overheating the metal.
If you buy casting gold alloys in 14K and lower karat, you likely
will be buying an alloy with either zinc or silicon added already to
the alloy as a deoxidizer. Higher karats generally don’t need it.
Zinc is not commonly used, however, as a deoxidizer for silver,
since remaining zinc in the silver is deleterious to the properties
of the silver. Phosphorous, usually as “phos-copper”, however, can be
used as a deozidizer for silver if desired. Not much is needed.
And to Charles, well, vaporized metal of most sorts if “bad” for
you. Proper melting technique in all cases, whether working with
alloys that have zinc or not, includes proper ventillation for just
And if you think a little zinc as a deoxidizer added to precious
metal sounds nasty, just try melting brass sometime…