Used corny that had pesticides?

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isukendall

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I work for an agricultural company, and acquired a few corny kegs that likely were used to pressurize and spray pesticides in the past. A couple of them are real nice 3 gal cornys. Seeking advice as to what to do with them.

I'm in the process of selling off a lot of my stuff and want to be upfront to any buyers. But I am also keeping a lot of my kegging equipment, and especially the smaller ones could be nice to have small batch kombucha or coffee. Being stainless steel, many have the idea that anything can be cleaned out of stainless. Also talked to many who feel that something like pesticides would not be something to mess with.

Having worked in the ag industry, I've even accidentally swallowed pesticides (ugh) but still alive. If I clean the crap out of them, would they be okay, or should they always have a warning label on them? Excited to hear the myraid of responses.
 

NitrogenWidget

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I've read people steam clean deiseal stainless tanks from rigs with strong detergent and re-use for drinking water safely.
but i don't know the exact process or if pesticides changes anything.

I wouldn't use them for beer post washing until I had water sitting in them for a bit then tested.
also replace all the non stainless parts.
 

tracer bullet

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Send them to me, I'll clean them and use them after I replace all soft parts.
Tend to agree. But if I was selling them I wouldn't feel right not being up front about what had previously been in them.

Plus it's not just the innards, but the outside as well. O-rings are easily replaced and stainless scrubbed. But the external large chunks of rubber, the handles, etc. - Yeah, no thanks.

So maybe scratch that first thought about agreeing.
 

marc1

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I work for an agricultural company, and acquired a few corny kegs that likely were used to pressurize and spray pesticides in the past. A couple of them are real nice 3 gal cornys. Seeking advice as to what to do with them.

I'm in the process of selling off a lot of my stuff and want to be upfront to any buyers. But I am also keeping a lot of my kegging equipment, and especially the smaller ones could be nice to have small batch kombucha or coffee. Being stainless steel, many have the idea that anything can be cleaned out of stainless. Also talked to many who feel that something like pesticides would not be something to mess with.

Having worked in the ag industry, I've even accidentally swallowed pesticides (ugh) but still alive. If I clean the crap out of them, would they be okay, or should they always have a warning label on them? Excited to hear the myraid of responses.
Make yourself a baller pesticide application device! The people with plastic pump sprayers will be jealous!
🤣
 

Toxxyc

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In theory, none of the pesticides will have done anything to the stainless steel, so perhaps just check the ingredients of the pesticides. That being said, it would mean that the stainless can be cleaned to perfectly clean, in other words, perfectly safe for use as beer kegs in the future. I would just replace all the seals. I reckon a series of good soaks in boiling hot SPC, finished with a good acid-based sanitizer, will do just fine.

I, personally, wouldn't mind using it then for beer. Diluted toxins in there will be negligibly small amounts. I bet you get in higher amounts of pesticides on the fruit and veg you eat each day. Not to mention most pesticides are designed to break down over a small time once applied, so attacking it with something like SPC and Phosphoric Acid will definitely render it safe.
 

MikeCo

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I would not use them for beverages. While it may be possible to clean them, I don’t know how you would know for certain there is no pesticide residue. Much easier to just get new kegs or some that were not used for toxic chemicals. I wouldn’t sell them to anyone planning to use them for beverages either.
 

Mr. Vern

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Clean one as much as possible, fill it with DI water, let it sit a while and have the water tested?

I wouldn't bother, I would use one for my own weed killing applications. Neighbors would NOT be surprised seeing me out there with a corny and spray wand :mug:
 

hotbeer

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I wouldn't sell them or even give them away without being upfront about about what was in them. I'd actually probably not sell them at all as I'd be worried that they'd go to the one person that is going to have some ailment later that they blame on the me and the kegs and take me to court. And no way for me proving it didn't even though they can't prove it did. All they have to do is suggest it did.

But in the grand picture, if you clean all the metal surfaces properly. Replace all the seals and hoses, then you probably will be well below any ppm of those pesticides that are harmful to humans.
 
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isukendall

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts. As I suspected, there are some opinions on both sides. Some clarifications:

-I absolutely would replace any rubber fittings, that's a no-brainer
-I absolutely would NOT sell or give away without telling what I know (suspect, actually) about them

I like the idea of filling with water and testing. That may be the most quantifiable way to answer the question.
 

Snuffy

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I’m sure there is a procedure that could render the kegs safe to use for beer. But if you handed me a brew and then told me the history of the keg it came from, I would not drink it. Even if you showed me a certificate verifying the keg’s safety after professional cleaning. There are just too many other beers that aren‘t potentially toxic. I know alcohol is toxic too, but at least it’s not bug poison.
 

Garfield43

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Can you find out what pesticides?
Some are pretty benign while others are every dangerous.
Like it or not tanker trucks and railroad cars will carry pesticides one day and apple juice the next so this sort of thing isn't unheard of.
 

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once you’ve filled them with beer, spray some on a grasshopper and observe the result. Proceed accordingly.
What happens if its a particularly good beer, and the grasshopper likes it? Then word gets out to all the jumping/semi-flying insect populous, and before you can say Reinheitsgebot, there is a massive swarm of Biblical proportions. Then you will need to put some pesticide back into those kegs to control the beer craved hordes, and just like that, you are back at square one.
 
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What happens if its a particularly good beer, and the grasshopper likes it? Then word gets out to all the jumping/semi-flying insect populous, and before you can say Reinheitsgebot, there is a massive swarm of Biblical proportions. Then you will need to put some pesticide back into those kegs to control the beer craved hordes, and just like that, you are back at square one.
You're right, didn't anticipate that. I suppose you could avoid the grasshopper plague if you didn't make it too hoppy :)
 

Beermeister32

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Some tanks you just cannot clean out adequately. A good example is a fuel tank, it’s almost as if the pores in the metal get contaminated and cannot be removed. EVER.

So now you have corny kegs used with unknown pesticide chemicals. Sounds to me like the same situation. If they were mine, I’d crush them with a 1-ton pallet with my forklift and toss them in the dumpster so nobody else ever gets the idea they should fill them with beer.
 
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Transamguy77

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I don’t know that I would use them either but I’m going to play devil’s advocate. I don’t know about everyone else here but I’ve go 27 USED kegs in my garage, some were bought from online retailers, some from a LHBS and some I acquired though Craigslist, so my point is that I have no idea what was in those kegs before I got them. I’m assuming it was beer or soda but who really knows. I don’t know the time period exactly for keg use in the soda industry but I would have to think some of them are over 30 years old.

I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind or start any debate but just pointing out that if you bought a used keg you don’t know yourself what was in it before.
 

TheBluePhantom

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A good PBW soak and replacing all the gaskets should do the trick. I’ve done it with used cola kegs, root beer kegs, ginger ale kegs, etc
Nope, tried it several times. Seal it up for a week and then pop it open and get strong whiff of root beer. Not problem though, I marked it root beer and now I just only use it for root beer. My point was that if stainless an hold enough oils to smell, it can hold other things too.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Nope, tried it several times. Seal it up for a week and then pop it open and get strong whiff of root beer. Not problem though, I marked it root beer and now I just only use it for root beer. My point was that if stainless an hold enough oils to smell, it can hold other things too.

Have you tried a soak with hot water and bleach?
 

Dr_Jeff

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I'm not a metallurgist, but I've been told by one that bleach causes pitting on SS.
At high concentrations, bleach will likely pit most any metal, but from a practical standpoint, the tub of some of the newer washers are made of stainless steel and bleach is regularly used when washing clothes, commercial dishwashers are usually made of stainless and the sanitizes used in them can sometimes be sodium hypochlorite (bleach), so everything in moderation. I wasn't suggesting that it be filled with hot bleach and a touch of water, and left for weeks, possibly a cup or a half a cup and fill it with hot water. Let it sit for a half an hour or so and dump and rinse.
 

Nate R

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All of the above is why i buy new kegs. Worth it imo. (I factor in cleaning time and replacement parts. Ymmv)

To the Root Beer question...
I did a sixtel of commercial root beer in a "D" Sankey Keg once for my nephews.
I ended up replacing the beverage line, the keg coupler, and every rubber gasket in my stainless perlick faucet.
It was on tap for maybe 45 days.
Root beer will permeate rubber like no joke. Worst deciscion i ever did. I will never do that again.
Again, ymmv.

But... to the OP: really?? Just toss 'em man. The very fact you asked means you have a concious. Therefore, you care. Therefore, throw the buggers away and sleep easy at night.

Sorry about the spelling all.
 

TheBluePhantom

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Have you tried a soak with hot water and bleach?
Nope, again, I just use it for root beer. Bleach causes pitting, There are worse things than smelling of root beer. I often keep keg of root beer for my kids, now I have a dedicated one. I was just surprised how strongly it smelled after a hot PBW cleaning. I would not use a pesticide keg myself.
 
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Nope, again, I just use it for root beer. Bleach causes pitting, There are worse things than smelling of root beer. I often keep keg of root beer for my kids, now I have a dedicated one. I was just surprised how strongly it smelled after a hot PBW cleaning. I would not use a pesticide keg myself.
Straight bleach will eat the end of the dip tube and etch right through the bottom of the keg. Diluted bleach will not.
 
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In the Army we basically used bleach to decontaminate chemical weapons, so what's the worry? *twitch* 👌
In the marines we drank water from water bulls - big wheeled tanks that contained water and chlorine to decontaminate. I remember at 29 Palms the noob navy corpsman put WAY too much chlorine in there. No choice in the Mohave desert, we drank it. I think I killed all the bacteria in my GI tract then. haha.
 
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I might have a unique point to speak from-- I make cleaning and sanitizing compounds, design surfactant systems, and collaborate regularly with people who make pesticides and toxicologists. A problem we recently worked on was cleaning trace herbicide from tanks so that the same tank could be used to kill weeds as well as to fertilize the crops, and it was a lot harder than you might think. So here are some items from my point of view...

1) Pesticides generally don't like water, but they like metal surfaces and they love rubber. You can replace gaskets, but removing them from the metal is going to take an intensive process (like steam with caustic... which will only work with some of them depending upon the chemical structure, and you'll want to passivate the kegs after that).
2) Beer has organic and solvent compounds that many pesticides will like enough to go join the party and dissolve into the beer, although it will be concentration dependent and plenty residue may remain on the wall of the keg to party with the next batch.
3) Even though there are plenty "n of 1" stories ("I drank a pint of Round Up and then lifted my tractor; I feel fine!") toxicity is based on the substance, the dose (small/large/repeated), and the consumer. And when it comes to things that interact with your body in a complicated way, the effects are generally delayed and additive.

Oh-- and I should mention that agricultural pesticides are formulated with a delivery package that is made to make them hard to get rid of. You want them to hang around on the leaves and stalks of plants even through rainstorms so that they keep killing the stuff you don't want.

TL;DR I'm not going to tell anyone what to do, but I wouldn't use the cornies until after I subjected them to a multi-step process (that would depend on what they had previously contained) with full disassembly. And I'd use a swab test after drying to be certain that no organic residue remained.

Rick
 

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