It may worry you to know that even if you are under the occupational exposure limit, you can inhale the amount of fume in the cannister below in one year!!!
The occupational exposure standard for general carbon steel welding over an 8 hour period is 5mg/m3 inspired air. However, even if you are within this occupational exposure limit, you can inhale up to 11 grams (pictured below) of carbon steel every year!
Year after year this is the quantity of fume inhaled by an unprotected welder. The health effects of welding exposures are many and varied, because the fumes can contain so many different harmful substances.
Long term welders need to protect their health over many years of exposure. Short term effects can be readily reduced or avoided and the long term effect risks can be minimised. Good engineering controls and work practices are imperative. For example, it’s important, when feasible, to use local and source-exhaust ventilation to remove harmful fumes and gases. Where possible, less hazardous materials should be substituted. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be reviewed to identify any hazards that might be associated with the welding job. In many cases, engineering controls alone can’t reduce exposure levels adequately.
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