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Fume Extraction

Fume Extraction

Welding fume consists of airborne un-burnt flux residues, particles of both filler rod material as well the material substrate and heat fume generated from the welding process itself, fumes can normally be seen. Exposure both short and long term should be avoided at all costs.The best way of preventing this is to prevent the fumes/dust from getting into the breathing zone of the operator by collecting it before it gets airbourne.

Working with stainless steel may produce welding fumes containing nickel and chromium. If you have asthma, exposure to nickel can make your illness far worse. Chromium can aggravate or cause sinus problems. Both nickel and chromium exposure may cause cancer!

Short-term Effects

Welding smoke also can irritate the eyes, nose, chest, and respiratory tract and cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, bronchitis, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), and pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs). Gastrointestinal effects, such as nausea, appetite loss, vomiting, cramps, and slow digestion, also have been associated with welding smoke exposure.

Some welding fume components and welding processes can be especially dangerous in a short period of time. Cadmium in welding fumes can be fatal in a short time. Ultraviolet radiation given off by welding reacts with oxygen and nitrogen in the air to form ozone and nitrogen oxides, which are deadly at high doses, irritate the nose and throat, and eventually cause serious lung disease.

Long-term Effects

Studies show that welders and those involved in brazing, soldering, and metal cutting have an increased risk of lung cancer and possible larynx and urinary tract cancer. According to the AFSCME fact sheet, these findings are not surprising in view of the large quantity of toxic substances in welding smoke, including cancer-causing agents such as cadmium, nickel, beryllium, chromium, and arsenic.

Welders also may have chronic respiratory problems, including bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, pneumoconiosis (dust-related diseases, decreased lung capacity, silicosis [caused by silica exposure], and siderosis (a dust-related disease caused by iron oxide dust in the lungs).

Other health problems that appear to be related to welding include heart disease; skin diseases; hearing loss; chronic gastritis (stomach inflammation); gastroduodenitis (stomach and small intestine inflammation); and stomach and small intestine ulcers.

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