Galvanized Steel Has High Levels of Lead/wtf

Grace Brooks

Apr 6, 2020
Southern California
I just found out that galvanized steel items have a coating containing high levels of lead ( ) The lead contaminates surrounding soil in the garden and chicken coop, and chickens are more likely to peck at it because it's sweet :( We bought lead safe swabs to test ourselves, and found it was true, our galvanized steel watering can (which I again bought because it wasn't plastic) turned bright red right away, as did the hardware cloth containing our compost, which we have used on our vegetable garden and fed the veggies to the baby. Now I am looking at the galvanized feeder we bought and thinking I should change it out, but not for plastic which has it's own problems. Also looking at the galvanized hardware cloth we used in the coop and thinking we should try to change it out for stainless. I really wish toxicity issues would be a priority, but where's the financial gain in protecting human health. Anyway, has anyone out there found lead safe options for feeders or hardware cloth?
I didn't think galvanised metal had a lead content. Zinc and nickel are used to galvanise metal. I don't used any metal feeders or drinkers galvanised or otherwise anyway. All mine are plastic as they are easier to clean and maintain and of course cheaper! There has been alot of talk recently about gardens having lead in the soil but this was found to be mostly from paints used on houses and furniture and surprisingly for colourings on food wrappers! Lead has been banned for use is most paints and domestic products because of its harmful effects. Sadly we are seeing its legacy.
Thanks for the reply! Lead is used in the coating process for galvanized steel items, although the amount varies a bit. After I started this post, I found another post on lead in backyard chickens and yeah, lead paint contaminating the soil is of greater concern. Our house does have lead paint on parts of it, underneath newer paint. We are planning to test the soil for lead soon. A poster on another thread said the chickens would be more likely to get too much lead from grit, or soil. All the same, after we test the soil if it comes back negative/low, I will probably look into replacing the galvanized stuff with 304 ss. I mean why have it if there's another option, I guess.

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