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#1

treasureman
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Joined: 07 September 2014
Posts: 1,029
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02 November 2014 05:11 pm

Hey guys

Ive just read that using stainless steel as the electrode is a big no no. Heres why.

Many people using the electrolysis method for rust reduction swear by stainless steel, stating (incorrectly) that it's not consumed, stays clean and seems safe.
Stainless steel is indeed consumed when used in the electrolysis process, although slowly. The main problem with using it is the hazardous waste it produces. Stainless steel contains chromium. The electrodes, and thus the chromium is consumed, and you end up with poisonous chromates in your electrolyte. Dumping these on the ground or down the drain is illegal. The compounds can cause severe skin problems and ultimately, cancer. Hexavalent chromate is poisonous. These compounds are not excused from hazardous waste regulations where household wastes are.
These compounds are bad enough that government regulations mandate "elimination of hexavalent chromate by 2007 for corrosion protection."
Does your electrolyte turn yellow? That's a sign of chromates.

If you have been using stainless steel for the anodes (positive electrodes), wear rubber gloves when working with or near the liquids. If you need to dispose of it, allow it to evaporate into powders and dispose of the powders in sealed containers during your local "hazardous waste clean-up days".

Best bet - don't use stainless steel no matter how tempting it is.

Problem is ive used stainless steel numerous times now maybe 8-10 times. Am i at risk of cancer or being f`d up?

4 users like this post: silver, Eurekaman, Monty, LonelySilver

#2

silver
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Joined: 19 December 2013
Posts: 18,111
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02 November 2014 07:55 pm

Now that is a very informative little post TM, I have just informed my three children to never use stainless steel electrodes for electrolysis ever in their lives.


What a great day ! ,... " I'll see you in the field ".

1 user likes this post: treasureman

#3

AtomRat
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From: Katazone, VIC
Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 5,151
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03 November 2014 08:02 am

treasureman wrote:

Problem is ive used stainless steel numerous times now maybe 8-10 times. Am i at risk of cancer or being f`d up?

I had a look into it for you and read some Treasureman. Always pre-prepare and look up on google what chemicals / gasses are formed with whatever project you may be doing so you know what you may be dealing with. Read into the by-products and also how to dispose of them as well.

Hexavalent chromium or Cr(VI), is a carcinogen, meaning it can / does cause cancer, and to be exact with stainless steel electrodes, lung cancer from breathing it in. They are also genotoxic, meaning irreversible genetic damage or mutations by binding to your DNA.

Depending on your exposure, ventilation & cleanliness, will determine how much you think you may have ingested. I myself would not worry too much, but I am a cigarette smoker as well, I already breath in carcinogens everyday without stainless steel electrodes. You could almost consider it as one of "those" toxins that are proven to cause cancer over either a one time exposure or long term exposure.

Be smart when it comes to these projects, buy yourself a really cheap range hood from a garage sale and make yourself a fume hood / fume extractor for your experiments, cleaning and projects. If you dont want to make a fume hood setup, do it outdoors with a chemical grade filter on a mask.After reading about the toxin on wiki, it seems there are many leaks, exposures, water and air contents of Cr(VI) all over the world, and it is just one of the toxins that can or may be a cause of cancers.

If you are really worried, just ask your local GP to check out your levels and tell them you have been exposed to some Hexavalent Chromium.


Wisdom is knowing how little you know

2 users like this post: treasureman, Monty

#4

AtomRat
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From: Katazone, VIC
Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 5,151
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03 November 2014 09:37 am

I will also add, I have been into my own doctors a few times after not looking into fumes and by-products. Sometimes we jump into the fun a bit too early. Lack of reading ends up in hospital, trust me. After playing with many projects, I have learnt that fume extraction is priority #1. I had a bad case of Carbon Monoxide poisoning one day, I became blind for 3 days and threw up for non-stop 2 of those days. Needed to get oxygen put back into my system before I died basically.

Always check what gases and fumes your projects create.


Wisdom is knowing how little you know

2 users like this post: treasureman, Monty

#5

Paulmarr
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From: Adelaide, SA
Joined: 05 November 2013
Posts: 866
Member
03 November 2014 09:37 am

Honestly - just use a couple of large washers - if you are running coins through electroylsis this is all you need. Also make a practice of running your electrolysis system outside or in the shed - plenty of air circulation - and you should have nothing to worry about!


Team Bogan member - GOLD BABY!

2 users like this post: treasureman, Monty

#6

treasureman
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Joined: 07 September 2014
Posts: 1,029
Member
04 November 2014 01:29 pm

THank you for giving me some piece of mind atomrat that is massive relief. I havent had any skin burns or anything like that however a few times prior to reading this, i didn grab the item out of them water with my hand and felt a burning sensation! So glad i stopped when i did. May have already done damage though and something im going to have to live with, and now will only make me go harder and stronger knowing i may have irreversible damage. but lets hope your right and the fact it was only a few times actual skin contact like maybe 4 then its all good, i bloody. next time im at my gp ill be mentioning and asking his advice. I have replaced any electrolysis with non stainless steel.

#7

Eurekaman
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From: Brisbane
Joined: 16 November 2014
Posts: 246
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20 November 2014 07:00 pm

Wow thanks for that info I didn't know that
Time to change my habits
EM


Love The Hobby...Ozzy Metal Detecting FB


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