Zinc, a soft metal which corrodes to form a rough layer of grey oxide, can be used to galvanize (i.e. coat) iron or steel to prevent it from rusting. However, care is needed in using galvanized utensils for food. Although zinc is an essential mineral, an overdose of it (or indeed of any metal, including tin) can be seriously harmful.
© the Estate of Alan Davidson 1999, 2006, 2014 © in the Editor’s contribution to the second and third editions, Oxford University Press 2006, 2014.