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Unread 04-08-2005, 02:06 PM   #1
nmayeux
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Default Toxic Bricks??

I thought that this might warrant a new thread, but Big Al informed me that some bricks and tiles could be toxic. I used some natural soapstone tile, as I was under the impression that most natural stone was safe. I had a choice of soapstone, slate, and sandstone, but I chose soapstone because it is what they use in woodburning stoves. I realize that these stones could crack, that is why I only used them in the smoke box. Does any one know if this is unsafe. Please advise as I will be cooking this weekend.
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Unread 04-08-2005, 02:36 PM   #2
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Well, going out on a limb (and after many years of subscribing to Mother Earth News!) you should be fine.

The concern is with processed bricks, pavers, tiles, etc. that may have strange ingredients in their binders or sealants.

There have even been incidents of imported cooking pottery coming in with toxic finishes - so it can be a concern.

And beyond cracking some stone can possibly explode if heated as much as a fire box.

All these are ifs/maybes/woulda/coulda/shoulda :D

Firebrick will of course take care of these concerns!!
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Unread 04-08-2005, 02:41 PM   #3
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Noah... Below is some references I found by Googleing the string "soapstone and toxic". Seems soapstone has toxins in it, mostly realted to dust, cutting and inhaling. Some mention consumptin of the dust, specificaly Silica and talc. I didnt see much about heating but I also didnt look in to far depth. You may want to do the same google search and do some further research. If it was me, i dont think I would take the chance. Read further for some excerpts. Below each excerpt, i included the link i got it from.

***********

Q: I've heard that some soapstones contain asbestos, and should be avoided by carvers. Then I heard that the soapstone itself was toxic, because it contains talc. Is this true?

A: More or less. California soapstone, for instance, is notorious for asbestos contamination. While one can take samples to a testing lab to make sure, this would probably only be worthwhile if one was quarrying one's own. Most stone dealers are aware of this problem, and only carry stone that is known to be asbestos-free. Some soapstone contains silica, which can cause silicosis when inhaled. This should likewise be avoided, but is not as serious a hazard as asbestos. Granite, for instance, contains a lot of silica, but it may be carved safely if proper precautions are followed.

Talc (steatite) is still used for "talcum" (body) powder. Although in the past some asbestos-containing talc was inadvertantly used for this purpose; it was the asbestos, not the talc, that was the major problem. Lung scarring is, however, associated with chronic exposure to respirable talc - to be safe, wear a dust mask when appropriate, and clean up after carving. If you are looking for a safer stone to carve that is still relatively soft, try alabaster (a massive form of gypsum, or calcium sulphate), or limestone and marble (calcium carbonate), although these may also be contaminated with silica.

http://users.lmi.net/~drewid/Soapstone_dangers.htm


*****************************

Contains:
Massive talc
Soapstone silicate
Steatite
Silicates : soapstone (ACGIH:OSHA)

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/rtecs/vv85f8e0.html#L

*********************************

Free silica (SiO2) can take two separate forms: crystalline and amorphous. Both represent significantly different health concerns. Silicates can include many relatively nontoxic compounds, including sodium silicate (water glass), calcium metasilicate, portland cement, kaolin clay, or perlite. On the other hand, some silicates such as mica, talc, asbestos, feldspar, and soapstone have potentially toxic properties. Not all forms of silica exhibit the same degree of toxicity, so it is essential to understand the type of silica present in order to determine its degree of hazard. For further information, refer to the Threshold Limit Values (TLV) published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists or other reliable references

http://info.ngwa.org/membersonly/saf...s/580-480.html
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Unread 04-08-2005, 02:46 PM   #4
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Ok, well soapstone is out, what about Slate as we have a bunck also?
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Unread 04-08-2005, 02:55 PM   #5
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I won't even hazzard an opinion.

Heaven knows none of us have ever been exposed to anything toxic or potentially toxic and lived to tell about it :D I guess we've never built a farking fire on the ground while camping - or a bonfire on the beach (gotta watch the farking silica ya know).

Phil's report is interesting but I think that's all related to inhalation hazards which are from processing and construction.

You may be absolutely right in deciding not to use any stone and just buy some firebricks.

Slate probably has bat guano and falcon smegma inbedded which could, of course, be released when heated in a very specific range of temperatures that just happen to coincide with our BBQ temps.

**** - we'll overanalyze anything! :D
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Unread 04-08-2005, 02:59 PM   #6
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Ok, well Big Al and Phil have succeeded in making me paranoid!! I am now wondering about our brick oven pizza place around the corner, as they used regular bricks in their oven!!!
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Unread 04-08-2005, 03:10 PM   #7
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I just followed Phil's advice and did several searches on different kinds of masonry. I found the least amount of hazards with natural slate (unsealed), but All types of masonry contained silica including fire brick. The MSDS on fire brick specifically cautions against inhaling the dust. We might want to warn other newbies like myself when giving advice in the future. Thanks to Phil for bringing this to light!
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Unread 04-08-2005, 03:28 PM   #8
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:D
Yep Phil and Al - the paranoid brothers! They are just trying to protect ya.

I just inhaled about 15# of silica while grinding the grout out of the tile in the bathroom a few weeks ago - and that's with a mask. Guess I ought to be ready to sue the grinder manufacturer, the grout manufacturer, the tile manufacturer, Harbor Freight for selling me the grinder, and Lowe's for just being there! :D

If we really want to be safe with our BBQ hobby we should:

Not use wood or charcoal - just natural gas or electricity. No smoke and a reduced danger of burning ourselves or others. Or better yet use something like a Bradley cooker with electric element with maunfactured wood discs for flavor. Insulate box so no danger of burning your self, either.

Wear long sleeves, long pants, leather shoes, eye protection, sunscreen (after all we are outside to "enjoy" ourselves) and never remove our fireproof gloves.

You get the picture: we can over analyze and scare the crap out of ourselves all day long. Odds are your soapstone would be fine especially after it gets a nice layer of woodash and grease on it to seal the surface.

But, firebrick (with or without silica - imagine that a sand brick with silica!) is probably your best bet over the long haul. The dust warning is on just about any constructin material anymore. How big a dummy do you have to be to not understand that you shouldn't breath brick dust???

Now as to the pizza place - regular brick is fine for the exterior (see here we go overanalyzing again) and most pizza ovens have a firebrick or glaze dome and suface insert that handles the high temps in woodfired pizza oven.

I will now go away and not enter this conversation again! :D
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Unread 04-08-2005, 04:09 PM   #9
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My persoanl take.. WTF is silica.. I thought it was a component in fake boobs, and i sure aint afraid of them. :) In fact, I believe consuption would be good thing.


BUT.. just trying to lead ya down a road for researching. I cant answer the ?? with first hand knowledge, So a quick google turned that up. Buit your reference to a pizza oven is a good analogy.. I seeem to remember the one local pizz place here and the inside of the oven looks like plain old brick.

I had brick oven in my yard growing up and aside from that 3rd arm that grew out of my knee and that I had removed as a child, things were pretty normal. Maybe we are overanalyzing, but still think some research is in order if your goinna use an unknown such as sandstone. JMHO.

I think Mark may have some decent input to this thread.. Where is he??
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Unread 04-08-2005, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
My persoanl take.. WTF is silica.. I thought it was a component in fake boobs, and i sure aint afraid of them. In fact, I believe consuption would be good thing.
Phil, that silicone!! Silica is like SAND!!

Damn, you can take the boy out of Brooklyn but you can't take the Brooklyn out of the boy! :D
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Unread 04-08-2005, 05:22 PM   #11
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Dave... I know that!.... Still think consumption would be good though..

noah.. i been reading a little further.. Like I stated in the first response, seems most of the stuff about sandstone refers to cutting and inhaling the dust. Cutting any masonry from ceramic tile to concrete would yield bad dust to inhale..... We know that.. But I didnt see anything about heating, and even the ingestion stuff it spoke of, refered to the ingestion of the dust. But, I cant find anything that discusses heating it, or if it will give off vapors or anything harmful. I would think that even a firebrick has silica in it, or is sealed or glazed so nothing can leach out of it. I keep going back to the pizza oven theory. I'm going to take a closer look at the one near here.
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Unread 04-08-2005, 05:40 PM   #12
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Ok.. one more thing to add

About Tulikivi
Tulikivi soapstone fireplaces are a complete and finished product. There are no unexpected costs involving facings. Installation usually takes 1 to 4 days on a prepared site. All fireplaces and ovens are tested and listed to U.L. and U.L.C. standards. Soapstone holds 2.5 times more heat than brick. The extreme versatility of soapstone allows for easy customization, benches, unique designs or custom tile work is no problem. All fireplaces and ovens are designed for easy rebuilding or repair should the need ever arise.

http://www.mountainflame.com/about.htm

This place makes stuff out of soapstone. Counters, sinks, stoves, etc.. If anything, maybe a phone call to them will answer if its ok to use inside an oven. Heat retention qualitites seem to be great for our uses.
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Unread 04-08-2005, 07:09 PM   #13
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Phil,
While looking at the "about soapstone" on your website, they use soapstone to line both their ovens and pizza ovens. I think that I will stick with the soapstone, but it would be interesting if a more experieced person would compare the two materials in their smoker.
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Unread 04-08-2005, 07:15 PM   #14
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Interesting academic discussion here. I love it--learn something new every day

But, at the risk of getting permanently banned from the Brethren, let me suggest this.
Do not stress over the bricks!
I have never, ever added bricks and produce more heat and smoke than I can use Stable temps also now that I use a charcoal basket

Now, maybe if you have super low air temps or high winds, they might come into play.

Also, I know one of our most experienced members told me he had a lot of severe rust under the bricks. This was caused by not removing the bricks and cleaning the area thouroughly. The acids in the ash sat there and corroded the firebox. I do not know if that discussion was public or PM--so I will leave it to him to clarify if he wants.

I am not saying they are not a good idea-- in any way.
What I am saying is:
The Bandera (or BSKD) are "sheet metal smokers" and will never be a Klose or Lang--no matter what we do. Believe me, I have spent too many hours and too many $$$ trying

If you take either smoker, add a baffle of some sort (to stir and distribute the heat/smoke), and raise the firegrate (to allow the fire to burn cleanly)--your will have a nice Que session and some good eats

Most of the other "Mods" are for those of us who are obsessive and each one just adds an element of "improvement" to the cooking.
But, they are not necessary to COOK

You will do just fine without them while you sort out the other stuff
A lot of us just get "obsessive" in our pursuit of the perfect smoker--even when starting with a $200 sheet metal one (which I love)

JMHO.

TIM

ps--let me know if I am now banned so I can go to the chilli or pressure cooker forum
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Unread 04-08-2005, 09:12 PM   #15
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Thats anoyther discussion... i have some firebricks in my smoke chamber, thats about it. Noah was asking about soapstone though... BUT...your right.. IMO.. they aint that important.. But the research was interesting.


So Noah... mystery is solved... U still paranoid??? :) :) Seems safe to use afterall!
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