Star San Safety

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

dadheb

New Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I see a lot of people believing that Star San is safe and I am not convinced about the safety of Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonates. Wikipedia says it has LD50 (lethal dose for 50% of population) of 2.3 mg/L for fish. It biodegrades in 1-3 weeks under aerobic conditions. However, brewing is done under anaerobic conditions. Is there a reference that shows yeast will eat it as it is commonly assumed?

I equally have my doubts about Sulfonate Oleic Acid ingredient of SaniClean. It seems all the Akyl compounds have toxicity.

My goal is to brew a very healthy drink. I used to really clean my equipment and the use a UV-C lamp to kill the germs. Nothing would be more organic than that. But, it was not 100% fool proof and I sometimes would get contaminated batches. Now, I sometimes use SaniClean, but, then spray Vodka to rinse off as much as I can.

Any thoughts on that?
 

gunhaus

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
668
Reaction score
820
Location
Just north of the middle of the mitten
Healthy alcoholic beverage is a noble goal! Ironic. But noble. I do not have the scientific expertise to give an extensive answer other than to say millions of gallons of all kinds of things have been brewed in vessels treated with Star-San. and I have not heard of anyone dying from Star-san related toxicity. I drink a lot of beer done in Star -San treated equipment and just finished up a two year stretch of health issues that required pretty extensive and routine blood work, toxicological exams, heavy metal exams, they examined almost every imaginable external/environmental product in my life/work, and Star-San was one of those things on the list i gave multiple Dr's. it was dismissed immediately in every case (Unless as one Dr said I was claiming I was doing shots of the undiluted acid) It was just not a chemical that was of interest to them after cursory exam. Point is, I will sleep pretty good at night NOT worrying myself about Star-san safety. 2-cents
 

paneubert

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
104
Reaction score
52
1 gallon is 3785.41 mL
Star San dose is roughly 6 mL per gallon.
dodecylbenzenesulfonates are 15% of that 6 mL, so .09mL
This means 1 gallon of Star San when mixed correctly has less than 1/10th of a mL of dodecylbenzenesulfonates in a volume of almost 3800 mL. Cool. So that means .000023% dodecylbenzenesulfonates.

So you sanitize your fermenter and other equipment, dumping out the Star San and maybe leaving some bubbles.

Here is a quote about bubbles.

"Soap bubbles have very thin walls. The range can be anywhere from 10 nanometers at the top of a thin-walled bubble to over 1000 nanometers. By contrast, human hair's thickness range is on the order of 40,000 to 60,000 nanometers."

I can assure you that the liquid volume of the bubbles that may be in your fermenter when all popped amount to a very small amount of liquid. In my observations of vessels that I have left for extended periods (where the bubbles all pop) is that the Star San puddle is tiny.

Converting directly from mL to mg is not a direct calculation since it depends on what liquid you are measuring. But lets go with water since each ml of water weighs 1 g.

So lets say .023 mg of dodecylbenzenesulfonates per ml that is left as bubbles in your fermenter. To reach the LD50 you mentioned, you would need 100 mL of popped bubbles.....in a 1 liter fermenter. But I don't know anyone who ferments in a 1L vessel. So lets go with a gallon. Roughly 4L. So 400 mL of popped bubbles are needed. Wow, so that's what.... almost half a liter of Star San needed in your gallon jug to kill 50% of fish who are literally breathing Star San tainted water, running it over their gills which are directly oxygenating their blood. Whats the LD50 for mammals? :)

Never mind, I looked it up. "Dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid: ORAL (LD50): Acute: 650 mg/kg [Rat]."

Yeah, I am not worried....
 
Last edited:

MaxStout

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
13,625
Reaction score
14,256
Location
Inside a Klein Bottle
I see a lot of people believing that Star San is safe and I am not convinced about the safety of Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonates. Wikipedia says it has LD50 (lethal dose for 50% of population) of 2.3 mg/L for fish. It biodegrades in 1-3 weeks under aerobic conditions. However, brewing is done under anaerobic conditions. Is there a reference that shows yeast will eat it as it is commonly assumed?

I equally have my doubts about Sulfonate Oleic Acid ingredient of SaniClean. It seems all the Akyl compounds have toxicity.

My goal is to brew a very healthy drink. I used to really clean my equipment and the use a UV-C lamp to kill the germs. Nothing would be more organic than that. But, it was not 100% fool proof and I sometimes would get contaminated batches. Now, I sometimes use SaniClean, but, then spray Vodka to rinse off as much as I can.

Any thoughts on that?

Yeah, my thoughts are...bring us an LD50 value for mammals and we'll be able to have a more meaningful analysis. Toxicity to fish doesn't mean much when determining potential harm to humans.
 

gunhaus

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
668
Reaction score
820
Location
Just north of the middle of the mitten
" So that means .000023% dodecylbenzenesulfonates" It is words like that that made me go to ballistic engineering rather than chemistry! We don't have no word like that in ballistics .. . . (Well . . we do actually, but we get to make up new words to replace them when we want to. It's in the rule book. Ballistese, 2.1.23.434)
 

MaxStout

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
13,625
Reaction score
14,256
Location
Inside a Klein Bottle
StarsanTox.jpg
 

S-Met

Department of Redundancy Department.
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
4,991
Reaction score
4,994
Location
Nor Cal
Or the fact that increased beer consumption results in fatty infiltrates in the liver. This increases likelhood of cirrhosis which in turn increase the risks of hepatocellular carcinoma. Knowing this, I'll continue drinking my beer. Star sans shouldn't even ping your radar unless you are bathing in it.

p.s. don't drink water, fish bless in that ****!
 

foam_top

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2015
Messages
219
Reaction score
64
Location
Denver
There's enough scientific assurance above without me parroting what others have said but I also like to remind people that Starsan has
been in use for 23 years in breweries, dairy farms and the food industry. I've already accepted the health risks associated with alcohol but if you find anything conclusive about Starsan please let us know.
 

paneubert

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
104
Reaction score
52
He'd have better luck trolling on Reddit. Too many science-y types on this board
I would probably have written the same thing I did. But over there I would have gotten some sweet sweet karma for it. Quick, someone post this question so I can respond.
 

Myron17

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
50
Reaction score
9
Location
Barberton, Ohio
Mother had cancer when I was in the womb. I grew up with real butter and eggs fried in bacon grease. Smoked 40 years, drank 40 years, chased woman 40 years. It will be cancer or heart attack or liver failure or gunshot wound from a jealous husband. Won't be Star San.

Not laughing at what you have or had went through, but your presentation was a trip!!! Thanks for the laugh!
 
Top