Zinc is an important and necessary trace element in the human body and is an important component in many biological functions. In fact, if your body has a zinc deficiency, there will be impairment with functions associated with the healing of wounds, reproduction, growth, and maintenance of glucose tolerance in the body. The US recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Zinc for adults is 15 mg for males and 12 mg for females. It is most often found in shellfish, oysters, cereal grains, legumes, and yeast products, along with being a component in most vitamin compounds.
Nevertheless, too much zinc is dangerous if too much is ingested and overdosing can happen quickly. Zinc can build up over a length of time or can happen within minutes and ingestion of two grams or more can be life threatening. It is listed on the table of elements as Zn and is considered a heavy metal. Zinc concentrates in the bone, liver, kidney, pancreas, and muscle tissue where, if the amounts are within normal ranges, is necessary for the human body to be healthy. If the amounts are within danger levels, the symptoms may include stomachaches, vomiting, nausea, mouth pain, low blood pressure, and diarrhea.
While growing up during the late 1950 – 1960’s, my father was a big fan of making normally used products, using purely old-fashioned methods based on directions given from his parents; unfortunately, he often did not follow instructions to the letter. Therefore, at his behest, my first excursion into making beer was an unmitigated disaster and could have lead to his death.
The beginning started out just fine. The list I had to go by included ingredients, along with utensils, which included a 10-gallon galvanized tub with lid. Once everything was mixed together, it was placed in the galvanized container where it sat for seven days while the concoction fermented.
The following weekend after my father returned home, he and a friend decided to sample the beer. Each of the two men opened a quart jar each and drank at least half. Deciding the beer was rather strong and tasted somewhat strangely, they made the fortunate decision to quit drinking. Later that afternoon, both my father and his friend ended up in the hospital with severe stomachaches and vomiting. The diagnosis was found to be heavy metal poisoning due to an overdose of zinc.
Zinc is used to cover other metals to keep them from rusting and creates a shingy silver colored surface. It seems that the tub my father had me purchase was the wrong kind because of the galvanization process and it could have killed him. You cannot use a galvanized washtub to make beer as the carbonation created by the ingredients fermenting causes leaching out of the zinc, the main chemical used in the galvanizing process.
Zinc poisoning can occur from storing other liquids in galvanized containers, such as keeping lemonade in a galvanized jug. Other incidents of zinc poisoning may also happen from drinking water over an extended period from galvanized water pipes. No acidic food should be made or stored in any galvanized container for any extended length of time. It is important to use only containers made of glass, plastic, or stoneware to store any acidic food product.
Zinc – Mineral