Hey.. I was melting brass.. and just when I peered into the pot, a whiff of green smoke came up.. wind switched, and I think I inhaled some.. Don't want to be an alarmist here, but what are the immediate symptoms? And how long does it take to notice? And, and, and!

Let me know or send me an email.. I'm dizzy now, and just came in from it.. 15 minutes, TOPS! (I was outside in the fresh air, but wind switched, and "Gasp!"

-- Jeff (email:

...Ju sez, "Why'd ya do that? Don't do that, anymore.."

-Yeah... No ****!

-- Jeff (email:

Don't panic, here's a fact sheet:

Symptoms: flu-like illness with a metallic taste in the mouth, throat irritation, and dry cough;
Signs: leucocytosis (high white blood cell count) is common; normal chest x-ray;
Onset after exposure: 3-10 hours;
Heavy exposure to: zinc oxide fume or dust, e.g., after welding or flame cutting of galvanized steel, high temperature zinc coating processes, or metal pouring in brass foundries; (Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.)
Resolution: spontaneously within 48 hours;
Comments: After an episode, there is a temporary period of tolerance for a day or two afterwards. Copper and magnesium fume can also cause metal fume fever. It is important to distinguish metal fume fever from cadmium pneumonitis.

Keep posting so we know you're not dead!

-- Tom (email:

What about Arsenic?

I thought the glacier man was proven to be a bronze worker due to traces of arsenic in his body.

-- cvedrick (email:

Don't worry Jeff, you did the right thing. Just go to fresh air. You can irritate your throat and lungs and maybe have a headache from it. I've been working in a zinc casting plant for over seventeen years and I'm still living. Symptoms don't last long, a day or two for extreme short exposures. Make sure you have a lot of ventilation because other impurities can vaporize also,like lead.

-- uncle buck

I had it one time when I welded and cut up a heap of galvanized sheets and pipes etc. I thought I was going to die that night. Got really sick, and went out into the shop and started to suck O2 from my O/A setup. It felt like a Mack truck was parked on my chest. Milk helped a lot. Hot flashes, cold flashes, sweats, chills, terrible chest pains and stomach pains. And for quite a while after, it tasted like I had a mouth full of pennies.

-- Chipmaker

ICK! Well, I made it.. guess it was a false alarm.. but I was worried

-- Jeff (email:

I remember Roy's full account of his bout of metal fume fever, when he posted about it a long time ago. It sounds scarier and scarier as he goes into greater detail. If you're lucky, he'll never recount it for you.
Glad you're ok!

-- Tom (email:

Sometimes when I melted a bit of bronze in the basement, I came back with a smell stuck in my nose.. can't really describe it except a hyper-"fresh" smell. Kinda like ozone is fresh-smelling but isn't. Anyways, I must've breathed in a good bit of zinc there (BTW I'm just comfortably sitting on a 5 gallon pail holding the torch.. nothing that would make me breathe harder, like um welding in an awkward position I guess), and it's stuck around for a good 30 to 60 minutes after, but I've never had any sickness at all from it. Must be all the milk I drink (the family of four here goes through milk at like.. 5 gallons per week ).


-- Tim Williams (email:

melted a crucible of pennies once, almost totally zinc fumes pouring out the furnace. i was sick as a dog for the rest of that day. milk saved my butt tho... musta chugged half a gallon in one go after posting a forum like this one a couple of months ago HA!

-- TzarKrispie

All opinions are those of the persons who wrote them. All names are forum handles at's forum.
Collected and styled by Tim.