That article is sobering reading, Matt. They mention zinc oxide as the cause but no mention of any zinc vapor, which I imagine was also present. They go into zinc chloride inhalation at length but I have no idea why, since that's unlikely to have been present. They speak of heavy metal poisoning, but I don't think zinc is considered a heavy metal under that definition. I also don't think zinc is cumulative in the body, which is mentioned. As you say we need to take zinc supplements reqularly to avoid zinc deficiency as we get older. The cause of death was pneumonia and the poor guy had suffered from emphysema. That was described as contributory at least. The big problem was, he tried to burn off zinc galvanizing inside a closed shop. That's really a bad idea.
I'm not trying to minimize the need to be careful with zinc, or in any way diminish the sadness of this man's loss, but I also don't believe this was presented in a very accurate way. That's not helpful. Understanding is.
It's important to minimize exposure and be safety minded with zinc, but it doesn't mean I for one will stop brazing (outdoors always) or completely avoid brass casting (also outdoors -- I NEVER cast braze or weld indoors). And would never think to burn off galvanizing -- I use dilute muriatic acid for that, and then baking soda rinse.
I do think it is a good idea to understand the dangers of any creative procedure, from cutting with a table saw, to using hydraulic jacks, picking up heavy materials, or driving to the hardware store.
Anyway, all this talk about casting with brass, makes me want to do it again, oddly enough!
It gets to be like a challenge which I'd like to have work out well. Go figure....