What Makes Welding Fumes So Hazardous?

What are welding fumes?

Welding fumes are toxic metal fumes produced during welding operations.

They usually have different compositions, depending on the metals that are used for welding, and for this reason they contain several contaminants.

Kemper Extraction TableWhat types of fumes and gases are produced during welding?


  • Aluminum
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium Oxides
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Fluorides
  • Hexavalent Chromium
  • Iron Oxides
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc Oxides


  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Hydrogen Fluoride
  • Nitrogen Oxide
  • Ozone

How can welding fumes and gases enter your body?

Welding fumes enter our body through the lungs, that is, we inhale them together with the air we breathe.

How can welding fumes affect your health?

Exposure to different types of welding fumes produces different health effects.

If over the years you breathe in gases, fumes, and vapors in large quantities, your health will suffer.

Short term health effects are of inhaling welding smoke are:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and chest
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bronchitis
  • Fluid in the lungs (Edema)
  • Inflammation of the lungs (Pneumonitis)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cramps
  • Nausea / Vomiting

Long term health effects of inhaling welding smokes are:

  • Chronic lung problems (such as Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Asthma, Emphysema, Silicosis, Siderosis, etc.)
  • Lung Cancer
  • Cancer of the Larynx
  • Cancer of the Urinary Tract
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Skin Diseases
  • Hearing Loss
  • Gastritis, ulcers of the stomach
  • Kidney damage
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease

Individual toxic fumes that cause certain health problems:

  • Chromium – Can cause breathing difficulty, sinus problems, “holes” between the nostrils, and cancer.
  • Manganese – Can cause Parkinson’s disease, which attacks the nerves and the muscles.
  • Cadmium – Can cause kidney problems and cancer

How can welders be protected?


Ventilating a complete workshop does not prevent hazardous substances to reach the welders breathing zone!

Local extraction is by far the most effective method: The hazardous substances are captured right at the source – before they reach the welders breathing zone. This is the only guarantee of sufficient protection and to provide clean breathing air at workplaces.