Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 07:02:27 -0400
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From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety"

Subject: 4 RE: [DCHAS-L] Welding Fumes
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From: "Wright, Mike" 
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Welding Fumes
Date: October 13, 2011 12:21:41 PM EDT

There are many different kinds of welding. The hazard is primarily a function of the metal being welded, the composition of the welding rod, the shielding gas, if any, and the specific type of welding. There are also hazards to brazing and flame-cutting, which are closely associated with welding. One safety hazard is UV radiation, which can cause welding flash, an acutely painful, but temporary „sunburn‰ of the eye, akin to snow blindness. Welders are usually protected with welding helmets with a dark glass viewport, but other people in the area may not  be, so the incidence of welding flash is often higher among non-welders working nearby. Another, less common hazard is that the UV can interact with chemicals in the work environment. For example, some chlorinated solvents can form phosgene when exposed to UV. Of course, there are also electrical hazards.

Some other common health hazards are cadmium from common brazing compounds, metal fume fever from processes that generate zinc fumes, and manganese from many common welding rods.

The American Welding Society has some excellent fact sheets on their website, and a link to a free ANSI standard on welding. Here‚s the link:

In short, welding has a lot of hazards. You should read up on them, but I‚d suggest you also work with a welding safety consultant to ensure that  your system is as safe as possible.

Mike Wright
Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety & Environment
United Steelworkers
5 Gateway Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15228

Office: 412-562-2580
Cell:     412-370-0105
Fax:     412-562-2584


Visit Steelworker Health, Safety and Environment on the web at
==From: Wayne Wood 
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Welding Fumes
Date: October 13, 2011 12:22:11 PM EDT

To determine what you need to monitor you have to understand the different welding processes and for this my favorite reference for Welding hazards is Recognition of Health Hazards in Industry by William Burgess.  For each type of welding process and metals being welded  he describes the contaminants that one should expect.  It‚s a must-read for anyone preparing for the CIH exam.


Wayne Wood | Associate Director, University Safety (EHS) ˆ Directeur Adjoint, Direction de la prévention (SSE), Services universitaires | McGill University | 3610 McTavish Street, 4th floor | Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 1Y2 | Tel: (514) 398-2391 | Fax: (514) 398-8047

From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Welding Fumes
Date: October 13, 2011 12:39:30 PM EDT

Unless I missed something, I don't even know for sure what metal is being welded.    Is it mild steel or not?  Are degreasing agents used?  And what is the welding method.  Those factors have alot to do with what you sample for.  And with some methods, ozone and nitrogen oxides can be significant.

And why do they want to do air sampling?  Don't they have ventilation?  If not, why not?  There are portable recirculating HEPA rolling units than can get most of the particulates no matter what they are.  They can't capture the gases or the degreasing pyrolysis products, but we don't know at this point if these will be significant since we don't know how they are welding.

Let's get more input from the people doing the welding before we say what to sample for.

==From: "Frazier, Alicia" 
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Welding Fumes
Date: October 13, 2011 1:33:36 PM EDT

It would be simpler to consult with an Industrial Hygienist.     It shouldn‚t be an expensive job.  The Hygienist will know what analysis you need to run with regards to the welding materials used, what the exposure limits are and can also do the calculations to tell you if your ventilation is adequate.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has a list of consultants on their website so you can find one in your area.   Local AIHA sections in my experience tend to be philanthropic and if this is for a university the local AIHA section might consider taking you on as a project.

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