What makes welding fumes so hazardous to human health?

All welding processes – be it fusion welding (using heat alone) or pressure welding (using heat and pressure) – produce visible smoke that contains harmful metals such as arsenic, lead, and manganese. Welded fumes also release gas by-products like argon, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen fluoride.

Welded fumes enter the body through the lungs. We inhale them together with the air we breathe. If inhaled in large quantities, welding fumes can cause various health problems for welders, making welding fume extraction in the workplace, vital.Large Welding Smoke Exhaust Fan

Here we look at the health effects of exposure – both short and long term.

Short term exposure to weld fumes can cause:

  • Bronchitis
  • Coughing
  • Cramp
  • Dizziness
  • Edema (swelling caused by excess fluid in the lungs)
  • Eye, nose, throat and chest irritation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs)
  • Shortness of breath

Long term exposure causes:

  • Chronic lung problems (i.e. bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, silicosis, siderosis)
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Kidney damage
  • Lung, larynx and urinary tract cancer
  • Nervous system damage
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Skin damage
  • Stomach ulcers

Toxic weld fumes, like helium, carbon dioxide, and argon, can remove oxygen – posing the risk of suffocation in enclosed welding environments.

How to protect welders

Many people mistakenly believe that opening windows and investing in ventilation units will overcome the problem of welded fumes – but it’s not that simple.

The best way to extract welded fumes indoors is local extraction. Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) captures fumes at the source, before they reach the welders breathing zone, and ensures clean breathing air. To keep exposure levels to the bare minimum, you need a suitable welding fume extractor, and we have the perfect solution, here at Defuma.

You needn’t worry about keeping staff safe and maintaining productivity with one of our welding fume extractors. Expertly designed, they should work effectively and ensure healthy, workable conditions for many years to come.

If you’d like to know more about welding fume extraction, feel free to contact us via email, enquiries@defuma.co.uk, or call us on 01480 455 466, and one of our experts will be in touch to offer a suitable solution. Please provide us with as much detail as possible so we can fully understand exactly what it is you’re looking for and do everything we can to assist.

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