If you work in the welding business, your lungs are at risk — seriously at risk.

Welding smoke is an extremely hazardous toxin. It can cause serious health problems including damage to the kidneys, metal-fume fever (MFF), occupational asthma and even cancer. Welding smoke is an extremely serious concern for welders and should not be taken lightly by the welder or his/her employer. Proper air ventilation and filtration is a must in any welding facility.

Studies have been done to directly link MFF (metal-fume fever) to OA (occupational asthma) in welders. Most welders, if they suffer from it, will feel the effects of MFF within 3-10 hours of exposure to welding smoke. Symptoms include fever, flu-like feelings, chills, dry cough, throat irritation, metallic taste and general malaise. Take note if you feel any or all of these symptoms at the beginning of each work week.

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Welders aren’t the only ones at risk. Improper ventilation around brazing, soldering and metal cutting also means workers are at risk for such diseases as lung cancer and even larynx and urinary tract cancer. Links have also been made to welding and Parkinson’s Disease. While this disease is often a genetic disposition, early symptoms of Parkinson’s have been likened to manganese exposure and is sometimes misdiagnosed as such. For the male welders out there, welding smoke also poses a risk to reproductive abilities. Sperm quality and counts in welders is much lower than non-welders.

Proper fume extraction is a must in these conditions or your health is in jeopardy.

What can you do about making your welding environment safer?

Electrocorp offers exceptional fume extractor air purification systems that can clear the air of airborne toxins at the source. With up to 80 lbs of refillable carbon available on heavy-duty extractors, Electrocorp has a welder’s health in mind. Toxic fumes are caught in the carbon, and thanks to the 12″ HEPA filters and dwell time, less particles enter the worker’s lungs — it’s a win-win situation. An articulated flex arm with a hood also means that source capture is possible as particles and toxins can circulate around the room undetected by the naked eye so catching them at the point of origin is important in keeping a well-ventilated space.

Wearing a face mask, even a medical-grade one, just isn’t enough. Fibres in the mask just aren’t strong enough to capture the toxins emitted by welding procedures. A heavy-duty, activated carbon filter is needed to protect against the airborne hazards effectively.

If you have any questions regarding welders smoke and the health risks associated with it, please feel free to leave a comment or call Electrocorp for professional help.