Welcome to Hookah Forum

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Geiseric

Diy Metal Safety

30 posts in this topic
I noticed a lot of comments on this board about the safety of various metals for use with DIY hookah's. So I thought, why not make a thread dedicated to finding concrete answers to issues surrounding what seems to be the most commonly used metals for hookahs, those being: Copper, Brass, Steel, and Aluminum. Also, some conjecture about the safety of other materials that are less used, like PVC, which I have always heard is horribly unsafe, but never heard why. So, I will begin with copper, and then move on as I find more info. Feel free to add info, but please make sure to cite sources and, if you can, provide both benifits and disadvantages to its use. Also, try to use multiple, credible (not wikipedia) sources. The info for copper should be up in under an hour (information is VERY scattered).

*Edit*

A side note, if you choose to contribute (which would be great) please use one post per material, and update your posts by using the edit button, just to keep things tidy.

*Update*
Again with the keeping things tidy idea, please label your post with the material it is relevant to, so that those looking for information regarding potential hookah parts can easily find it. Edited by Geiseric

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll Sticky this and see what happens.
PLEASE ONLY RESPOND TO THIS THREAD IF YOU HAVE USEFUL INFORMATION TO ADD.
Useless posts will be removed!

JD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Copper

To begin, allow me to say that the relative safety of Cu (copper) is still under much debate and research. However, it is not often used with hookahs because, at this time, it is believed to be the most unsafe. I do not disagree. However, I will continue to post information as I come across it.

The human body requires trace amounts of Cu to continue to function, however, the fact that one can consume too much and become ill is not disputed. This can occur though breathing dust particles or drinking water with too much Cu dissolved in it.
Something that is often brought up in regards to heated use of copper in hookahs is the research being done on copper in cookware. This is mostly negated by the fact that copper cookware is usually lined with tin or stainless steel. The WHO recommends against unlined copper cookware - "the agency cautions against using unlined copper for general cooking because the metal is relatively easily dissolved by some foods with which it comes in contact and, in sufficient quantities, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea." (FDA.GOV, WHO) - but because acidic foods accelerate copper dissolving into the liquid. Canada has also banned unlined copper cookware, for this same reason. Where does that get us? Nowhere. We are concerned with the release of copper dust when it is heated, not when it is put in contact with an acid. Copper melts at 1083 °C, and boils at 2595 °C. As far as I know, neither of those temperatures are achievable with charcoal. At this point I am struck by a dilemma - this is where the easily located information comes to a halt. I have poured over my universities online database, and come up with nothing in regards to copper dust and heating copper. So, I ask you to contribute whatever information you may come across.

At this point the conclusion is the same as what has been said so far: Avoid copper. It seems well agreed amongst my various sources that copper is one of the more dangerous household metals. Due to lack of concrete evidence to the contrary at this point in time, I would suggest holding off until further evidence is presented.


*Whew! Next I'll do Brass. Not sure when I'll get to it*

*edit*

I have a 23 hour work shift starting Friday at 2, most of which will be doing nothing because my clients will be gone. I will be working on and putting up the brass section then. Edited by Geiseric

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Potentially relevant... though 'occupational exposure' is vague, and likely to mean a whole lot more exposure than smoking a hookah.

Occupational exposure to manganese, copper, lead, iron, mercury and zinc and the risk of Parkinson's disease.
Gorell JM, Johnson CC, Rybicki BA, Peterson EL, Kortsha GX, Brown GG, Richardson RJ.

Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA. gorell@neuro.hfh.edu

A population-based case-control study was conducted in the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in metropolitan Detroit to assess occupational exposures to manganese, copper, lead, iron, mercury and zinc as risk factors for Parkinson's disease (PD). Non-demented men and women 50 years of age who were receiving primary medical care at HFHS were recruited, and concurrently enrolled cases (n = 144) and controls (n = 464) were frequency-matched for sex, race and age (+/- 5 years). A risk factor questionnaire, administered by trained interviewers, inquired about every job held by each subject for 6 months from age 18 onward, including a detailed assessment of actual job tasks, tools and environment. An experienced industrial hygienist, blinded to subjects' case-control status, used these data to rate every job as exposed or not exposed to one or more of the metals of interest. Adjusting for sex, race, age and smoking status, 20 years of occupational exposure to any metal was not associated with PD. However, more than 20 years exposure to manganese (Odds Ratio [OR] = 10.61, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.06, 105.83) or copper (OR = 2.49, 95% CI = 1.06,5.89) was associated with PD. Occupational exposure for > 20 years to combinations of lead-copper (OR = 5.24, 95% CI = 1.59, 17.21), lead-iron (OR = 2.83, 95% CI = 1.07,7.50), and iron-copper (OR = 3.69, 95% CI = 1.40,9.71) was also associated with the disease. No association of occupational exposure to iron, mercury or zinc with PD was found. A lack of statistical power precluded analyses of metal combinations for those with a low prevalence of exposure (i.e., manganese, mercury and zinc). Our findings suggest that chronic occupational exposure to manganese or copper, individually, or to dual combinations of lead, iron and copper, is associated with PD.

PMID: 10385887 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe some crack-pot a while ago mentioned that no one uses copper pipes in homes anymore, well here's a little excerpt about the pros of copper water pipes in homes today. The last statement I believe answers a question someone above asked.

"Copper can also withstand temperature extremes from freezing to well above boiling without becoming brittle, rupturing or melting. This minimizes the chance of pipe bursts and water damage, a costly and often uninsured problem when it occurs in a home. And copper can take the heat--up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit without melting. Unlike many plastics, copper also doesn't emit toxic fumes when exposed to flame. "





Also many mention using other metals that actually have copper in them instead of pure copper to avoid spontaneously combusting. Let's just keep this in mind,

"Being part of an alloy only decreases these benefits in relative proportion to the percentage of copper in the alloy. Therefore, if 90 percent of bronze is copper, bronze has 90 percent of the strength as pure copper."

Were primarily talking about brasses and bronzes here. I don't would be appropriate for me to offer these as safe alternatives. I can't very well say, " I have no idea how much copper you will absorb from that solid copper hookah, but I know that it's too much. But I can tell you that exactly 60% of that unknown amount is completly safe!





In addition, of the many articles I have been reading mention that the getting too much copper in your system results in "too much can cause stomach upset, vomitting and diarrhea." This is a far cry for those people telling you that if your wrong about this you're going to pay a huge cost.

So I suppose yes, there may or may not be a .01% chance of absorbing too much copper when using it in this application. And if that .01% chance of getting an upset stomach is something you think you probably can't handle, than you best go eat some more rice cakes.



But wait!



"Check this out Copper is inherently antimicrobial. For example, Egyptians,

Greeks, Romans, and Aztecs used copper to treat wounds, and copper workers

in Paris were found to be immune to an 1850 cholera epidemic. But recently,

studies sponsored by the Copper Development Association and the

International Copper Association have shown that uncoated copper and copper

alloys can inactivate common disease-causing bacteria, such as E. coil,

streptococcus, and staphylococcus (better known as MRSA)."



Maybe instead of avoiding copper, we should try to include it more in our hookahs because of its health benefiets. Or you can just do the practical thing and know that if you ever have an idea that you think would be best/easiest to use copper instead of any other material, do it. There's always some wack jobs out there that need attention and are trying to convince you that something you have been doing your whole life is actually a serious health threat to you. This isn't something that you have to order at the internet, or at some specialty shop. This is something that if you were to take a moment and look around you, is a substance that has been around you your whole life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QUOTE (Dr. Atkins @ Nov 15 2007, 01:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What "health benefits"? Antimicrobial properties aren't at all relevant here.


Try searching bacteria or fungus in the forum. Plenty of people here are aparently concerned about it. The latest quested on the forum featured a someone asking about some sort of gooy pustuals growing inside his hookah. The general concensus was that he either soak his hookah in bleach or acid, and many urged him that his hookah should be thown out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very nice information. Thats what i was saying from the begining. Saying that brass hookahs are the best and copper ones are dangerous is stupid (no offence here) Brass is a mixture not a compound as every alloy is. And anyone who has studied Chemisrty knows very well that each component of a mixture reatains all of ots properties.

And some further info : Not coppied and pasted but out of knowledge.
Copper Oxide is in solid form at the temperatures achieved in a hookah and 99.9% of it is filtered in water. IMO That 0.1% is totally harmless but i cant say its a fact because i cannot prove it as there are no relative researches


Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, while playing around and trying to build my own stem I did try copper. Whether the oxide was dangerous or not is not something that I can comment on as I don't really know the chemical properties. I will say that after each session the inside of the copper tube turned green, as did the water. There were also "chunks" in the water that I now don't see using a glass stem. It may not be dangerous, but it is somewhat disgusting, at least to my tastes, and annoying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QUOTE (Geiseric @ Oct 30 2007, 06:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Copper

To begin, allow me to say that the relative safety of Cu (copper) is still under much debate and research. However, it is not often used with hookahs because, at this time, it is believed to be the most unsafe. I do not disagree. However, I will continue to post information as I come across it.

The human body requires trace amounts of Cu to continue to function, however, the fact that one can consume too much and become ill is not disputed. This can occur though breathing dust particles or drinking water with too much Cu dissolved in it.
Something that is often brought up in regards to heated use of copper in hookahs is the research being done on copper in cookware. This is mostly negated by the fact that copper cookware is usually lined with tin or stainless steel. The WHO recommends against unlined copper cookware - "the agency cautions against using unlined copper for general cooking because the metal is relatively easily dissolved by some foods with which it comes in contact and, in sufficient quantities, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea." (FDA.GOV, WHO) - but because acidic foods accelerate copper dissolving into the liquid. Canada has also banned unlined copper cookware, for this same reason. Where does that get us? Nowhere. We are concerned with the release of copper dust when it is heated, not when it is put in contact with an acid. Copper melts at 1083 °C, and boils at 2595 °C. As far as I know, neither of those temperatures are achievable with charcoal. At this point I am struck by a dilemma - this is where the easily located information comes to a halt. I have poured over my universities online database, and come up with nothing in regards to copper dust and heating copper. So, I ask you to contribute whatever information you may come across.

At this point the conclusion is the same as what has been said so far: Avoid copper. It seems well agreed amongst my various sources that copper is one of the more dangerous household metals. Due to lack of concrete evidence to the contrary at this point in time, I would suggest holding off until further evidence is presented.


*Whew! Next I'll do Brass. Not sure when I'll get to it*

*edit*

I have a 23 hour work shift starting Friday at 2, most of which will be doing nothing because my clients will be gone. I will be working on and putting up the brass section then.


If you decide to use Brass or Copper, do not use any ammonia based cleaner as ammonia will eat away any copper and zinc metals. I don't know what could happen if you happen to inhale the Tetraamminediaquacopper formed much less inhaling any trace elements of ammonia would have on you.

And of course, copper will develop it's own protective coating of copper-oxides. Vinegar is 95% water + 5% acetic acid (CH3CO-O-H). The acid will strip the oxide coating off, which again I doubt anyone would want to inhale any trace elements of that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper(II)_oxide
Copper(II) oxide is an irritant. It also can cause damage to the endocrine and central nervous system. Contact to the eyes can cause irritation and damage to the corneas, and potentially can cause conjunctivitis. Contact to the skin can cause irritation and discoloration. Ingesting cupric oxide can lead to central nervous system depression, liver and kidney damage, gastro-intestinal damage, circulatory system failure or damage to the vascular system. Inhalation can lead to damage to the lungs and septum. Inhalation of fumes of cupric oxide can lead to a disease called metal-fume fever, which has symptoms similar to influenza. Prolonged exposure to cupric oxide can lead to dermatitis, and can cause a toxic build-up of copper in people with Wilson's disease. Handling copper(II) oxide should be done in well ventilated area, and care should be taken to avoid contact with the skin or eyes. After handling, one should wash thouroughly.

So if you decide to use copper, be careful not to use any ammonia, bleach, or vinegar to clean the pipe. Edited by raytrace

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey i see everyone talking about copper but is aluminum ok? i have a really good aluminum down shaft and was wondering if this is safe to use?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If heating copper releases toxic particles or gases in any form, and the argument of copper cookware is put down on the basis that:
A: Inhaling copper is different than eating it
B: The pots et cetera are lined with another metal
Then should not the kitchen in which these types of pots are used be filled with hazardous fumes?
The bottoms are not lined in any way and are exposed to extreme and direct heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QUOTE (shareit5 @ Apr 22 2008, 06:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey i see everyone talking about copper but is aluminum ok? i have a really good aluminum down shaft and was wondering if this is safe to use?


APPARENTLY Aluminum is somewhat BAD for you, but it seems that way only if its directly inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. So I'm guessing aluminum POWDER is bad for you, and aluminum stems are pretty much ok.

oh...and where does one obtain a glass stem?

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthguidelines/...ecognition.html Edited by DyrtJones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have several friends at school who built their own hookah using copper piping from Lowes. They have now been using it, quite frequently and for long periods of time, for over 2 years. As far as I know, none of them have had any adverse health effects at all. I have smoked from it several times myself and have never had any bad reactions. In fact, the quality of their hookah prompted me to build my own from copper, and I haven't had anything bad from it yet. I have had no discoloration of the water or any metallic taste. The only thing that has turned green is the small cork i use to plug the air release, and even it is barely discolored.

It seems like the only problems that might arise from copper is if you inhale the dust. But that can be easily avoided by never using an abrasive to clean it or an acid that would dissolve the copper. When I clean mine, i simply run it through with very hot water, and occasionaly i'll use dishwashing detergent (alkaline, not cidic). And as far as any particulate you might inhale just from general use, my guess is that the amount is so miniscule that it would take decades of use to truly have an effect (and as I said above, 2 years hasn't had an effect)

So I am going to continue to smoke my copper hookah. Mainly because it is the best quality hookah I have ever smoked. If I ever have any bad effects, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you are avoiding copper, better forgo the french fries too (and most other food for that matter.) Anything with hydrogenated oils was processed with a copper-chromite catalyst. I forget he numbers, but the count goes from .05ppm fro non-hydrogenated corn oil to 4 ppm for hydrogenated.

Also stay away from kiwis, spinach, squash, strawberries, and tomatillos.


I wouldn't worry about a copper hookah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK, I just went on a 2 day rampage for information and uncovered a lot of stuff about copper from actual good reliable sources.

When smoking through a copper hookah you run absolutely no risk of inhaling toxic fumes being that hookah charcoal does not anywhere approach the temperature at which copper releases harmful fumes. (however, if you use a blow torch to heat your shisha like that weird mod that guy posted on here, you might be in danger)

Copper is a trace element found in all humans and is necessary to function. And although humans can handle proportionally large concentrations of copper, too much can be dangerous. Every day, we are at risk of consuming too much copper just by drinking water, as copper piping still makes up about 80% of our plumbing.

Copper is very resistant to breaking down due in either water or air, so the chances of inhaling or drinking too much copper is very small. But it turns out that the risk of consuming too much copper is reduced with a hookah because it bubbles through water. Any solid copper particles are going to get caught in the water and not continue through the hose (i think it goes without saying that you shouldn't drink the hookah water).

There are certain things you can do to your hookah that would increase your chances of over exposure, and these should obviously be avoided. Firstly, do not use any abrasive to clean it. This includes steel wool, scour pads, or even the rough side of a sponge. these all file off little particles of copper, and that should be avoided at all costs. Secondly never use any cleaner that could dissolve copper or the oxides that form over time.

The worst short term effects of over exposure to copper are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. there are long term effects, but to risk any of those you would really have to either be working in a copper mill or filing copper straight into your lungs. But it goes without saying that if you are smoking and get nauseous, you should stop immediately. there is no way to tell if it is because of the copper or simply too much nicotine. Either way, you should take a breather and try again later. The actual way to get over overexposure is fresh air. Most symptoms are going to be caused by sensitivity and will go away once your body gets used to the slightly elevated levels.

But it all basically comes back to this: If you're comfortable drinking tap water, you should be comfortable smoking a copper hookah. But whatever, its a personal preference. If you're building your own and don't want to risk it, go the safe route and order some stainless steel piping. it will be a helluva lot harder to work with, but you'll be able to sleep soundly knowing you aren't ruining your health (except that you're smoking tobacco, a much worse health risk than copper). Edited by agentscot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello, I came across the forum when looking up Hookah information, and saw this thread. I am a metalsmith & blacksmith, and deal with metal safety on a daily basis. I am exposed to various metal vapors and dusts frequently, and have done quite a bit of research on my own.

Brass should be avoided entirely. Brass is an alloy of copper, usually containing anywhere from 8-42% zinc. Zinc is extremely toxic. Metalsmiths frequently develop an illness called 'zinc fever' or the 'zinc shakes' from inhaling zinc fumes. While hookah coal probably will not reach a temperature to cause Brass to fume, it is still hot enough to cause oxidation. Zinc Oxides are corrosive, and can damage vital organs (asophagus, stomach, lungs) and in some cases cause death.

For this reason, I would avoid using any brass parts near the coal.

Likewise, I have seen many people suggest using lemon juice to clean metal parts. Lemon juice contains 6-10% Citric Acid. Citric Acid is a commonly used cleaning/etching solution in metalsmithing. It eats away copper oxides and other impurities, but also eats away at the copper. It is common to see copper residue at the bottom of a cleaning pot in a metal shop. While Lemon Juice is a fairly mild acid, over time, it can eat away the surface metal. Make sure the lemon juice is flushed or neutralized before using your hookah, to prevent further etching. This mostly applies to any copper, or alloy containing copper (Brass, Bronze, etc), as well as Nickel.

I don't have links to cite the information provided here. I've consulted chemists and other metalsmiths at my university, as well as MDS sheets and various other health/safety data sheets.


QUOTE (Kalutika @ Apr 29 2008, 01:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If heating copper releases toxic particles or gases in any form, and the argument of copper cookware is put down on the basis that:
A: Inhaling copper is different than eating it
B: The pots et cetera are lined with another metal
Then should not the kitchen in which these types of pots are used be filled with hazardous fumes?
The bottoms are not lined in any way and are exposed to extreme and direct heat.


Most 'copper pots' are tinned on the inside. 'Extreme and direct heat' in the kitchen is not that 'extreme and direct'. Metals will not release toxic fumesdue to heat, usually, until they are near their melting point, which is 1981 F. At that point, I think most food would be vaporized. Edited by Forbe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
how about buying a polished brass towel bar at a hardware store? Does polished brass have anything harmful? Is it a good idea or not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Polished brass is brass that has been polished. It still contains zinc, along with whatever sort of polishing compound they used to create the shiny surface. Mind you, most polishing compounds are toxic to begin with, let alone when heated and turned into a particulate.

I would just stay away from brass all together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Remember to take into consideration that people are allergic to certain types of metal, like me I am allergic to nickel as i found out when i had my first pair of glasses and my face turned green.

so if you want to smoke with lots of people it would probably be best to avoid alloys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QUOTE (DyrtJones @ May 25 2008, 07:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
APPARENTLY Aluminum is somewhat BAD for you, but it seems that way only if its directly inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. So I'm guessing aluminum POWDER is bad for you, and aluminum stems are pretty much ok.
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthguidelines/...ecognition.html


So what about the aluminum foil that the coal sits on? It would seem to me that if the hottest part of the hooka system, the coals, are sitting directly on top of aluminum foil it would be fine to use an aluminum stem? I am confused smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QUOTE (jayok6 @ Aug 30 2009, 01:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (DyrtJones @ May 25 2008, 07:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
APPARENTLY Aluminum is somewhat BAD for you, but it seems that way only if its directly inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. So I'm guessing aluminum POWDER is bad for you, and aluminum stems are pretty much ok.
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthguidelines/...ecognition.html


So what about the aluminum foil that the coal sits on? It would seem to me that if the hottest part of the hooka system, the coals, are sitting directly on top of aluminum foil it would be fine to use an aluminum stem? I am confused smile.gif


thats basically what that post said. aluminium stem good, breathing in aluminium dust bad. just be careful when you cut the aluminium tubing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it depends where you use the metal and if it is subject to heat. Most metals aren't going to give up their harmful qualities unless heated. If you are going to use metal then my choice is stainless steel. The food industry should be the best indicator of what is good when you are talking about ingestible materials and stainless is their choice. Also it's low carbon content keeps it from rusting. Not many copper, lead, tin, silver food preparation stations out there. I think any kind of plating or coatings that are heated could be trouble as they are basically just chemical compounds on the surface of a base metal.

wiki:

[font=sans-serif][size=2]Storage tanks and tankers used to transport [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_juice"]orange juice[/url] and other food are often made of stainless steel, due to its corrosion resistance and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibacterial"]antibacterial[/url] properties. This also influences its use in commercial kitchens and food processing plants, as it can be steam-cleaned,[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterilization_(microbiology)"]sterilized[/url], and does not need painting or application of other surface finishes.[/size][/font]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I call shenanigans on the copper thing.

My Khalil Mamoon Pharonie has a copper innerstem. All the way from the bowl connector the little hex lug at the bottom. All copper.

It is true that copper can release toxic gas when heated, but at the temperature needed, you should probably be more concerned with the room you're in being on fire than your hookah becoming toxic.

In normal, proper use, copper on a hookah will never get hot enough to become toxic. If it's good enough for Mr. Mamoon, it's good enough for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now