Welding fumes are a common occupational exposure. Several different welding fumes can cause similar adverse health effects. Personal sampling of a welding operation at a manufacturing facility produced the following 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) results for individual metal fumes.
Metal Fume Result OSHA PEL ACGIH TLV
Antimony 0.05 mg/m³ 0.5 mg/m³ 0.5 mg/m³
Beryllium 0.00001 mg/m³ 0.0002 mg/m³ 0.00005 mg/m³ (I)
Cadmium 0.025 mg/m³ 0.005 mg/m³ 0.01 mg/m³
Chromium 0.02 mg/m³ 1 mg/m³ 0.5 mg/m³
Copper 0.03 mg/m³ 0.1 mg/m³ 0.2 mg/m³
Iron Oxide 0.5 mg/m³ 10 mg/m³ 5 mg/m³ (R)
Magnesium Oxide 0.02 mg/m³ 15 mg/m³ 10 mg/m³
Molybdenum 0.003 mg/m³ 15 mg/m³ 10 mg/m³ (I)
Nickel 0.25 mg/m³ 1 mg/m³ 1.5 mg/m³ (I)
Zinc Oxide 0.3 mg/m³ 5 mg/m³ 2 mg/m³ (R)
(R) Respirable fraction (I) Inhalable fraction
Briefly summarize the primary health effects associated with overexposure to each type of metal fume, including both acute and chronic health effects. Explain what analytical methods you would use for evaluating health hazards in the workplace.
Identify the types of metal fumes that would produce similar health effects on an exposed worker. Assume that each listed metal can cause respiratory irritation. Use the equation in 1910.1000(d)(2)(i) to calculate the equivalent exposure (in relation to OSHA PELS) for the metal fumes with similar health effects based on the “Result” column in the table above. Discuss whether you believe any of the individual metal fume exposures or the combined exposure exceeds an OSHA PEL or an ACGIH TLV.
Primary Health Effects Associated with Overexposure to Welding Fumes
Welding fumes always lead to severe primary effects. The effects vary and are felt by humans and the rest of the environment. In humans, they disturb reproduction, causing ulcer, blood pressure being increased and the electrocardiogram readings being altered which can either slow down or increase the heart’s electrical activity. Upper respiratory soreness reported among the workers. The workers who inhaled these fumes showed significant increase in cancer cases during the time that they were employed on the plants related to the metal fumes exposure. The incidents of the lung effects have been on the rise according to the several occupational studies that have been contacted in the recent past. There have been several signs of the upper respiratory respirations that have been accompanied by the nose bleeding, rhinitis, the inflammation of the upper airway, and laryngitis (Rana et al., 2019).
The list below is of the metal fumes and the heath impact that imposes if one is exposed to them.
This usually affects the organ systems, gastro-intestinal also known as the digestive system, immune systems, and the respiratory system.
This can cause problems that are related to the heart, and alters the electrocardiogram readings by damaging the muscles of the heart. The abdominal pains and vomiting are some of the impacts that are felt from taking water that has been contaminated by antimony.
The air that has been contaminated by cadmium adversely impacts the respiratory system and be fatal. The buildup and accumulation of cadmium in the organs such as kidney and maybe cause diseases to such organs or otherwise impair them. The accumulation has been mostly associated with the slow and continues exposure of cadmium of over a long period of time.
This will affect kidney and the urinary system, the immune system, and the respiratory track
Affects the gastro-intestinal system, hematological system, and respiratory system
This will mainly affect the respiratory system especially the lungs and finally result in siderosis
Can affect skin, cardiovascular system involving the heart and the blood vessels, and the immune systems
This do have effect on respiratory system and gut system where it can cause one vomit, diarrhea, stomach problems, nausea and can sometimes be fatal.
Although there is no well researched impact of molybdenum on human beings, the possibility of it having harmful effects
Air sample collection is the method one can employ when carrying out examination for evidence of fume and particle intake or absorption within the associated work place. Inspection of areas such as ventilation for filtering and the rest of the employee’s environment, the swabbing of the workers clothes at period of the day is necessary in the analysis of the amounts of toxic substance is in the air. There are also those metal fumes that when exposed to humans will depict similar side effects (Taj et al., 2021). The employees are likely to show the same symptoms and ailments when are exposed to chromium, magnesium oxide, beryllium, zinc, and Iron oxide.
The limits that have been imposed by the ACGIH TLV and OSHA PEL, various fumes measured tend to show that there is no limit exceeded during the time investigation is being done (Show et al., 2021). A limitation to hazardous vapors in the work place is really necessary and I fully concur with the idea. The set standards by the PEL and TEL clearly indicate the minimum amounts of metal fumes that are allowed to human exposure. The company further increases safety by ensuring the guidelines are followed and observing the relevant limits that have been set by the relevant regulatory bodies and promoting the use of the PPE.
Rana, H. K., Akhtar, M. R., Ahmed, M. B., Lio, P., Quinn, J. M., Huq, F., & Moni, M. A. (2019). Genetic effects of welding fumes on the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Neurotoxicology, 71, 93-101.
Taj, T., Gliga, A. R., Hedmer, M., Wahlberg, K., Assarsson, E., Lundh, T., … & Broberg, K. (2021). Effect of welding fumes on the cardiovascular system: a six-year longitudinal study. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 47(1), 52.
Shaw, L., Shaw, D., Hardisty, M., Britz-McKibbin, P., & Verma, D. K. (2020). Relationships between inhalable and total hexavalent chromium exposures in steel passivation, welding and electroplating operations of Ontario. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 230, 113601.