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5665Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon

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  • Mike Nixon
    Aug 6, 2002
      Grant Dunn wrote:
      Subject: Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon


      Hi again,

      OK, I admit it - I have no professional training in this field
      whatsoever. But for the sake of keeping the discussion going....

      Most chemicals have toxicity levels and reading their MSDS's would make
      you wonder how we survive at all. While I admit nothing is without risk
      this has to be balanced against other activities of equivalent risk we
      happily ignore.

      Phosphoric acid is an approved food additive (code 338) and is
      contained in the coke you mix your alcohol with.

      Zinc chloride has antiseptic properties and is contained in Listerine
      and other mouthwashes. Although no one recommends actually swallowing
      it (in quantities that don't cause other health issues) I think its
      safe to assume you won't die if you do.

      Overall, I'm far less happy about ingesting zinc chloride. I doubt it
      poses a greater health risk than alcohol itself (given the relative
      quantities), but there is the possibility of other zinc compounds also
      being present. I think steering clear of heavy metals is a sensible
      policy.

      In future I will seek to avoid carbon activated by this method,
      although I cheerfully acknowledge that zinc chloride is water soluble
      so rinsing would be a viable method of removing it.
      ---------------------
      Hi Grant,

      I agree with you about food additives ... but in controlled quantities.
      Arsenic used to be a great Victorian pick-me-up. Thing is, chemicals used
      to make activated carbon may be present in unknown quantities, and for the
      sake of a simple rinse, I feel happier doing that than simply trusting that
      some unknown manufacturer has got it right. It's such a simple thing to do.
      Problem is, you will have no means of telling who has made your next batch
      of carbon. I've never seen anything on the labels. It's all part of the
      great tradition of brewing and winemaking anyway ... cleanliness is next to
      spirituality!

      All the best,
      Mike
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