No one would ever accuse a welder of having a safe job, but most people mistakenly believe that the danger comes from the intense heat. A few scars and an occasional burn are definitely a possibility if you spend a lot of time welding, but they are not the true occupational hazard. The real danger comes from toxic fumes. You can limit the possibility of inhaling any hazardous fumes with Welding Fume Exhausts and other forms of Welding Smoke Extraction systems, but preparation is crucial. You need to have all of the safety measure in place before work begins and use them religiously.
The act of welding two pieces of metal together results in the welder being exposed to manganese contained in the fumes. Manganese can cause extensive damage to a person’s brain and central nervous system. With enough exposure, it will lead to diseases like Parkinson’s and Manganism. Both result in tremors and an inability to walk or move correctly.
Some metals have coatings that contain hazardous chemicals in them that are released when welded. A few of the worst include:
Cadmium – Steel is sometimes given a coating of cadmium to prevent rusting. When it is inhaled into the lungs it can cause lung disease, emphysema and even kidney failure
Lead Oxide – Some paint contains lead and when it is welded it will produce lead oxide. When inhaled it can lead to lead poisoning which causes damage to your nervous system, kidneys and your reproductive organs. Some cases have even resulted in anemia.
Asbestos – Surprisingly, some types of welding rods are made using asbestos. As you probably already know, asbestos can cause serious damage to your lungs. Aggressive lung cancer and scarring of the lungs are not uncommon given enough exposure.
Keep your safety firmly in mind. Contact Kemper America for Welding Smoke Extraction solutions.