How do welding fumes get into the human body and what effects do they have?

Welding is great for joining materials. But the process can produce weld fumes that, if breathed in or swallowed, can cause all kinds of health problems.

Here we look at the way these fumes enter the human body, the effect they have and the best way to overcome them with the help of Defuma.Extra Large Welding Smoke Exhaust Fan

Welding fumes are ‘ultrafine’ (less than 0.1micron in size). They’re small enough to reach the lungs via the air inhaled – but that’s not the only way they can enter the body…

  • Through the skin

Studies have shown that ultrafine particles from welded fumes can accumulate in the skin pockets around hair roots. As the hair grows, these pockets are opened, allowing dangerous particles to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Skin that’s damaged by the sun, or affected by psoriasis, allows weld fumes and particles to penetrate the skin more easily as there is no protective barrier.

  • Through the respiratory tract

The most common form of absorption of weld fumes is through the respiratory tract. Although the body has a number of protective mechanisms – including a layer of mucus that expels particles, and macrophages in the alveoli to destroy particles – the smaller fragments are, the deeper they can reach into the lungs.

Without proper welding fume extraction, welders are at risk of developing illnesses, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and fibrosis of the lungs.

  • Through oral absorption

Welded fumes can be swallowed unconsciously when expelled from the lower respiratory tract. The effect ultrafine particles have on the gastrointestinal tract is unclear. There are indications that they don’t pass through the intestinal wall after absorption and are quickly excreted. However, if these particles reach the blood vessel system, via the gastrointestinal tract, they can accumulate in organs, like the liver and kidneys.

How to overcome weld fumes

To eliminate these risks, effective removal of weld fumes and harmful particles with a welding fume extractor is essential – and we supply an extensive range of them here at Defuma. Available in all shapes and sizes, our welding fume extractors are a must-have for weld environments and we are confident we can help you to find the best system for your business.

Some of our welding fume extraction units are supplied with an automatic filter cleaning system – perfect for high levels of smoke, dust, and fumes. Units like the Filter Master XL fume extractor use a KemTex® ePTFE membrane filter cartridge that enables you to quickly and safely extract ultrafine particles.

With the welding smoke exhaust fan, we offer a universal, mobile solution for welding fume extraction. The smoke exhaust fan ensures fresh air ventilation and non-stop operation, providing you with the peace of mind that dangerous fumes and particles are being efficiently and safely removed.

Unsure which welding fume extractor you need? Rest assured, our experts are always on hand to help and will be more than happy to offer guidance and advice. Feel free to contact us via our online enquiry form or email Alternatively, call us on 01480 455 466 to discuss your requirements further with our team over the phone.

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