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Welding Fume

Welding Fume

Welding fumes are extremely hazardous contaminates to breath and should be captured, and filtered to protect the health of welders.

Welding “smoke” is a mixture of fine particles (fumes) and gases produced from the base materials being welded.  Filler materials, coatings, shielding gases, and chemical reactions between material and energy from the arc and the surrounding air are sources of various health hazards. Many of these substances (Chromium VI, Beryllium Oxide, Manganese, Zinc) are extremely toxic and can have both long term and short-term impairments.


Exposure to metal fumes (such as zinc, magnesium, copper and copper oxide) can cause metal fume fever. Symptoms may occur 4 to 12 hours after exposure, and include chills, thirst, fever, muscle ache, chest soreness and nausea. Welding smoke can also irritate the eyes, nose and respiratory tract. Some components of welding fumes, such as cadmium, can be fatal. Gases given off by the welding process can also be extremely dangerous. For example, ultraviolet radiation given off by welding reacts with oxygen and nitrogen in the air to form ozone and nitrogen dioxide. These gases are deadly at high doses and can cause irritation to the nose and throat and serious lung disease.

Studies of welders, flame cutters and burners have shown that welders have an increased risk of chronic lung disease, lung cancer and other respiratory cancers. Welders may experience a variety of respiratory problems, including pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), bronchitis, emphysema, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and siderosis (a dust-related disease caused by iron oxide dust).

Controlling Welding Hazards

In 2006 the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a decision to award Lawrence Elam 1 million in damages caused by welding fume exposure.   OSHA has established permissible exposure limits that must be adhered to or employers are at a liability risk.  In addition to exposing employees to welding fumes the Environmental Protection Agency has established Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) rules for exhausting contaminates to the outdoors.

Controlling welding fume is a smart business decision to reduce liability from employee lawsuits, OSHA fines or EPA penalties.  Clean Air Company can improve working conditions, reduce absenteeism and increase production by providing industrial ventilation for your production facility.  Clean Air Company has been providing indoor air quality solutions since 1976 and are experts at handling welding fumes.

  • Fume extraction arms (all links to products)
  • Dust collectors
  • Air Cleaners
  • Downdraft Tables
  • Fume Guns
  • Dust control booths
  • Fume hoods

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