What is welding fume?
Welding fumes are very fine, solid particles of metaloxides that form during the welding process. The specific substances and amount a welder inhales depend on the welding method, conditions under which the welding takes place, and the types of metals being welded. Many types of metals may be found in welding fumes, including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, selenium,vanadium, and zinc. Gases commonly associated with welding are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, fluorine compounds, and phosgene. These gases may be present as the result of:
- Combustion of flux shielding.
- Ultraviolet radiation interaction with shielding gases,oxygen, carbon dioxide, and solvents.
- Burning metal coatings.
What are the factors that effect respiratory exposure?
- The base material being welded or the filler material that is used.
- Coatings and paints on the metal being welded or coatings covering the electrode.
- Shielding gases; and chemical reactions which result from the action of ultraviolet light from the arc and heat.
- Reaction with other contaminants in the air, for example vapours from nearby cleaners and degreasers.
- Work position.
- Ventilation (area/local).
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