Welding Fume

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Subcategories

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Known Synonyms

stainless steel welding fume
steel
Steel ?
weld fumme
Welding Carbon Mild Steel
welding fume (mild steel)
Welding Fumes

Welding of stainless steel is a well recognised cause of occupational asthma, the chrome in the fume has been shown to be the cause in some challenge tests. Non-stainless steel welding is more problematic as specific causative agents have not been demonstrated, but nevertheless occupational asthma occurs. Probably the best evidence comes from longitudinal studies of apprentice welders.   

El-Zein, M, European Respiratory Journal 2003; 22: 513 is a study in Canada of 286 students entering welding profession apprenticeship with assessments before exposure and on average 15 months later. About 3% (6 of 194) developed occupational asthma and 11.9% new bronchial reactivity, often a precursor of asthma. There have also been studies of populations, looking at the excess of amount of asthma seen in welders as opposed to the general population.  One in Sweden – Toren K, Scandinavian Journal of Work Environmental Health 1999; 25:430.  Welding fume exposure was amongst those with increased odds ratio for developing physician diagnosed asthma.

There is one report of non chrome, non cobalt welding causing occupational asthma and confirmed by Specific bronchial provocation testing (Vandenplas O, Thorax 1995; 50:587).

There are several studies of workplaces looking at welders v others, finding more respiratory disease in welders.  One more recent study is by Loukzadeh Z, Occupational Medicine 2009; 59:267 showing that spot welding fumes at levels less than the exposure limits associated with significantly lower FEV1 values and increased respiratory symptoms.

Finally, there is evidence from the reporting schemes for occupational asthma in the UK from chest physicians (SWORD) and from occupational physician (OPRA).   The evidence required for reporting is more likely than not (i.e., in the balance of probabilities) to be due to the agent specified.  A core group report all cases whereas most report one month out of every twelve (the values are therefore multiplied by 12 for those reporting one month in twelve).  Welding fume is one of the more commonly recognised causes of occupational asthma.  There have been 121 actual cases of occupational asthma from non stainless steel welding reported 1989-2007 with 268 estimated.

Agent Welding fume
Other Names
Arc, MIG, TIG, Spot welding
Sources of Exposure
Welding of non-chrome steels
Jobs Welder, fabricator, arc air gouger, flame cutter
Epidemiological Studies
Many; Loukzadeh Z, Occupational Medicine 2009; 59:267 showed that spot welding fumes at levels less than the exposure limits associated with significantly lower FEV1 values and increased respiratory symptoms.
Air Measurements
Specific IgE/ Skin prick test Not available
Biological Monitoring Not available
Specific Challenge

Only case report

Vandenplas O, Thorax 1995; 50:587.

Early References
Oxhoj H, Bake B, Wedel H, Wilhemsen L, Effects of electric arc welding on ventilatory lung function, Arch Environ Health, 1979; 34: 211-217
Substitutes
Other methods of jointing, eg glueing, bolting

References for: Welding Fume See published papers on "Welding Fume" from this website.
Haz-Map information on: Welding Fume See information on "Welding Fume" from the HazMap (Information on Hazardous Chemicals and Occupational Diseases) website.

Oasys Notifications for Welding Fume

The Oasys Audit scheme started midway through 2010 and collects agents typed in through the Oasys program. The years before 2010 show old data entered during 2010 or later and are likely to have many fewer notifications. We expect Oasys to become more widely adopted as time goes by so increasing notifications does not necessarily mean an increasing problem.

Occupational asthma notifications to the Oasys Audit Scheme for Welding Fume

Selected References for Welding Fume

Abstract Available for Pulmonary effects of spot welding in automobile assembly Loukzadeh Z, Sharifian SA, Aminian O, Shojaoddiny-Ardekani A, Pulmonary effects of spot welding in automobile assembly, Occup Med (London), 2009;59:267-269,

Full Text Available for Incidence of probable occupational asthma and changes in airway calibre and responsiveness in apprentice welders El-Zein M, Malo J-L, Infante-Rivard C, Gautrin D, Incidence of probable occupational asthma and changes in airway calibre and responsiveness in apprentice welders, Eur Respir J, 2003;22:513-519,
Jean-Luc Malo, Hôpital de Sacré Coeur, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, an author of 'Incidence of probable occupational asthma and changes in airway calibre and responsiveness in apprentice welders' Denise Gautrin, Hôpital de Sacré Coeur, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, an author of 'Incidence of probable occupational asthma and changes in airway calibre and responsiveness in apprentice welders'

Abstract Available for Adult-onset asthma and occupational exposures Toren K, Jaervholm B, Brisman J et al, Adult-onset asthma and occupational exposures, Scand J Work Environ Health, 1999;25:430-435,
Kjell Toren, Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Goteborg, an author of 'Adult-onset asthma and occupational exposures' Jonas Brisman, Sahlgrenska Hospital, Gothenburg, an author of 'Adult-onset asthma and occupational exposures'

Abstract Available for Occupational asthma due to gas metal arc welding on mild steel Vandenplas O, Dargent F, Auverdin J, Boulanger J, Bossiroy J, Roosels D, Vande Weyer R, Occupational asthma due to gas metal arc welding on mild steel, Thorax, 1995;50:587-589,
Olivier Vandenplas, Universite Mont-Goginne, Yvoir, an author of 'Occupational asthma due to gas metal arc welding on mild steel'

Abstract Available for Effects of electric arc welding on ventilatory lung function Oxhoj H, Bake B, Wedel H, Wilhemsen L, Effects of electric arc welding on ventilatory lung function, Arch Environ Health, 1979;34:211-217,

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