I recently purchased some stainless steel kabob skewers from Amazon, similar to the ones listed here at the Webstaurant Store.

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They look and feel like stainless steel, however they appear to have some kind of coating. The surface of my skewers looks slightly more dull and grey than my stainless steel cookware.

Furthermore, I observed a dark grey residue coming off my skewers under the following circumstances:

  1. Straight out of the box if I rub my fingers across the surface.
  2. After putting them through the dishwasher if I rub my fingers across the surface.
  3. After dishwasher if I rub a white tissue across the surface.

I noticed that there is also a Prop 65 warning listed in the Webstaurant link above, which states:

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.p65warnings.ca.gov.

Is it likely that my skewers are indeed coated in something, and if so, what is this coating and why is it possible to contain lead?

  • 1
    Related: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/75734/… – Cindy Dec 5 '19 at 18:09
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    Related too… assuming you don't fall asleep reading it ;-) ofmpub.epa.gov/apex/guideme_ext/… – Tetsujin Dec 5 '19 at 18:28
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    How about a photo of your actual skewers, since apparently you didn't purchase them at webrestaurantstore? – FuzzyChef Dec 5 '19 at 20:06
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    Also: I don't think the Prop 65 warning is meaningful. Looks like they put it on all of their metal utensil listings. – FuzzyChef Dec 5 '19 at 20:08
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    Any chance they're aluminum instead of steel? Because aluminum + dishwasher = ugly grey oxidation/coating that can rub off on your fingers. – Marti Dec 5 '19 at 23:07

Simple enough if it is lead which I greatly doubt : Put the stainless on a grill ( outside) and heat to just dim red ( 1100 to 1200 F) . Any lead will have long since evaporated and the stainless will get a tight grey oxide coating (at most), depending on the time it is hot. Of course anything organic will also be gone.

  • Are there any alternatives if one doesn't own a grill? Would an oven suffice? – N4v Dec 6 '19 at 15:17
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    Some hardware stores sell lead test kits that should work on metal: epa.gov/lead/lead-test-kits – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 6 '19 at 16:21
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    Domestic ovens don't get much above 600 F, not enough to boil lead. Maybe the dark material is a lubricant from the metal forming . – blacksmith37 Dec 6 '19 at 17:07
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    I would think a steel wool scouring pad could take off anything other than electro plating and I never heard of electroplating SS ( with lead, zinc, aluminum, etc). – blacksmith37 Dec 6 '19 at 20:10

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