First of all, you may be wondering why one would even ask this question. The reason is that owners of kamado-style cookers are very creative when it comes to rigging up different configurations of grids and heat deflectors. For example, here's a link to our instructions for making a raised grid using some nuts, bolts and washers. And as you can also see, we recommend using either stainless or galvanized hardware.
So what's the problem? Well a lot of folks on the internet have heard all about "Welder's Flu", or "Metal fume fever," an illness primarily caused by exposure to chemicals such as zinc oxide (ZnO). When galvanized metal is welded, the zinc coating is vaporized and then combines with oxygen in the air to form zinc oxide. If inhaled, this does indeed produce flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, nausea, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, pneumonia, chest pain, change in blood pressure, dizziness, and coughing. So, not nice at all.
But what gets overlooked is that the welding arc temperature is 15,000 to 20,000°F, whereas the temperature that might be reached by the hardware in a raised grid in a kamado-style cooker is probably no more than 700°F. Zinc vaporizes at about 1650°F, so clearly, no zinc is going to get vaporized in a charcoal cooker. You can read more about welding zinc in this report from Sperko Engineering Services, "Welding Galvanized Steel – Safely".
In fact, some manufacturers actually use galvanized metal for some of their components. Here are two we found:
So, feel free to use galvanized materials when fabricating accessories for your cooker. There is no cause for worry in using galvanized hardware if the temperatures it will encounter remain belows 1650°F.
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