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Author Topic: Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?  (Read 10887 times)

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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At work yesterday we were told that milk somehow helps with metal fume fever, does anyone know if this is true and if so why?


 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #1 on: 22/01/2010 02:51:10 »
Ah so it's the calcium that does it. Cheers DiscoverDave

I wonder why the calcium removes the zinc?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #2 on: 22/01/2010 06:58:06 »
Prevention is better than cure.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #3 on: 22/01/2010 13:14:57 »
Yeah, well since it doesn't seem serious i'm not really worried about it anyway, but the boss bought us some flavoured milks which I love so I'm not gonna complain :)
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #4 on: 23/01/2010 23:36:48 »
Perhaps the UK's enforcing authority would have something to say about it if you were not on the far side of the world..
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/wl0.pdf
You might want to see if the local equivalent has something similar to say.
The metal fume fever is not very serious but it's a possible precursor of things that are. Here in the UK it would be illegal to expose the workforce to those levels  of fumes. I doubt it's legal anywhere in the Western world.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #5 on: 24/01/2010 00:37:48 »
Well here's a long explanation if you happen to be interested in what we were actually doing;

What we were trying to do is empty our kettle (the molten zinc bath), see recently we had to pump out all of the zinc into moulds so that we could measure the thickness of the kettle walls to see whether we needed a new one or not yet (the walls are eroded over time). So they did that and figured out it's still good for a while yet, so we put the blocks back in and fired up the burners again. But there was a major major stuffup when it re-heated, a sensor that controls burners stuffed up so that they were just stuck on maximum burn, and it actually boiled the zinc (the blocks didn't fit well, so once they were liquid the kettle was only maybe half or two thirds full, so it was easily heated to at least twice it's normal operating temperature of 450C), and at those temperatures the walls of the kettle get eroded very quickly, and we actually got a few holes in the wall and alot of zinc spilled out. So now we definitely do need a new kettle.

So after that there was a thick layer of brittle crystally (if that's a word) sort of stuff on top, we were able to get rid of alot of that by using a tiny little excavator that actually fit inside the kettle.

So when we got down to hard zinc again we fired the burners up again (they patched the holes) with the aim of getting it molten again so we can pump it out again, lift the kettle out, and get a new one in. But the problem now is that there's a thick layer of really hardened ash on top, we've been struggling for the last two days to try and get underneath it with the scoop and dig it out. And on the bottom of it there's a massive layer of "Dross", it's an alloy that forms in the kettle of 97% zinc and 3% iron. And because so many tons of iron came off the walls during the first stuffup, there's loads of it. During normal operation we do a dross-out every month or two, and it's fairly easy, we just scoop it out, drain as much liquid zinc out of it as we can, then shovel it out of the scoop and go again, usually only takes about 6 hours to get it done. It's fairly easy to shovel, just like mud (450 degree mud :p). But the dross that's in there now seems different (because of the iron content probably) even though at the moment it's at 480 degrees it's still really thick, and by the time we get the scoop out of the kettle and over the top of the tub we shovel it into, it's often gone too hard to even jab a crowbar into, let alone shovel out.

So in between the layer of hard ash on top and the layer of dross on the bottom there's approximately bugger all zinc left, it's a hell of a big loss to have to replace that much zinc, it's not so cheap.

And we're scratching our heads at the moment as to how to get it out so that it's light enough for the a crane to lift it out. I think they're considering chopping the top half of the kettle off so that hopefully the bottom bit is light enough.

So anyway we're not actually welding any galvanized steel or anything, we're only dealing with molten zinc not vapourised zinc. I don't know if it's possible to get metal fume fever from inhaling the dust from the ash or what.
 

Offline Geezer

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #6 on: 24/01/2010 06:11:42 »
Madidus:

You can't be TOO careful with stuff like this. I have worked for many bosses who assured me that what they were asking me to do could not harm me, or the environment. Later, of course, I discovered they had no idea what they were talking about.

I developed cancer in my mid-thirties. I was very fortunate to recover. Did it have anything to do with the solvents and metals I handled earlier in my life? I've no idea, and probably no one can say for sure, but I have my suspicions. Don't take any chances. When we are young, we think we are invincible, but things can catch up with us sooner than we think.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #7 on: 24/01/2010 09:18:58 »
Yeah like the one in the photo, ours is alot smaller though, only 10 metres long. And yeah we do use potatoes when we dross out, we put them on the end of a long bit of roundbar and hold them at the bottom against the side so that they bubble up and take all the dross off the sides, so that we can get it all off the bottom.

And we won't be able to use our overhead cranes to lift the kettle out, they're not strong enough. They're probably going to have to take the roof off and bring in a proper big crane.

What kind of cancer did you get Geezer? And what was your profession?
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
« Reply #8 on: 31/01/2010 10:07:10 »
High dietary calcium intakes reduce zinc absorption and balance in humans

RJ Wood and JJ Zheng
Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory, Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture, HNRCA, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA. wood_mb@hnrc.tufts.edu

Optimal calcium intakes of 37.5 mmol(1500 mg)/d have been proposed for elderly people. We investigated the effects of calcium supplementation on zinc absorption and balance in 18 relatively healthy, postmenopausal women aged 59-86 y. All subjects received a standardized basal diet of typical foods supplying 269 mumol (17.6 mg) Zn/d and 22.2 mmol (890 mg) Ca/d during the 36-d study. In two of three experimental periods, an additional 11.7 mmol (468 mg) Ca/d as either milk or an inorganic calcium phosphate supplement was provided. Net zinc absorption and zinc balance were significantly reduced by approximately 2 mg/d during both high-calcium treatments. In a second study, conducted in a separate group of men and women aged 21-69 y, a whole-gut lavage, zinc- absorption test was used to investigate the acute effect of a 15-mmol CaCO3 (600 mg Ca) supplement, with and without extra zinc, on zinc absorption from a single test meal supplying 111.7 mumol (7.3 mg) Zn. Zinc absorption was reduced significantly by 50% when the calcium supplement was given with the meal. Inclusion of an extra 119.3 mumol (7.8 mg) Zn as part of a calcium supplement offset the detrimental effect of calcium on zinc absorption. Our findings suggest that high- calcium diets can reduce net zinc absorption and balance and may increase the zinc requirement in adult humans.
 

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Does drinking milk prevent/treat metal fume fever?
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