Posts Tagged ‘welders health Side Effects of Galvanized Steel Welding alternative remedy NAFDAC’

Welding Fumes and Other Hazards In the Life of a Welder

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Welder and welding fumes

Harmful welding fumes, loud noises, intense heat, glaring light—these may be an unwelcome part of your work day. The extent of the problem depends upon the type of welding you do, and the precautions that you take. The content of the welding rods, coatings, filler metals, and base materials also greatly impacts your health.

Manganese in Welding Fumes

Your biggest on–the–job risk is exposure to the manganese contained in fumes that are given off during welding. Inhaling manganese can cause very serious damage to your brain and nervous system.

Many workers who are exposed to welding fumes suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a major disorder affecting movement and balance. They often develop “manganism,” a disease closely related to Parkinson’s, that also makes it difficult to walk and move properly. Both manganism and Parkinson’s disease cause tremors, shaking, and loss of muscle control. These conditions can become more severe as time passes.

Although the law restricts your exposure to manganese in welding fumes, its limits may not be enough to protect you. See Manganese Exposure From Welding Fumes: Know the Legal Limits.

Other Harmful Metals in Welding Fumes

When the welding rod or base metal is iron or mild steel, iron oxide may be

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contained in the welding fumes in addition to manganese. Breathing in iron oxide irritates your nasal passages, throat, and lungs.

Working with stainless steel may produce welding fumes containing nickel and chromium. If you have asthma, exposure to nickel can make your illness worse. Chromium can aggravate or cause sinus problems. Both nickel and chromium may cause cancer, according to NIOSH (Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 4, American Welding SocietyWelding Fumes and Gases, Center to Protect Workers’ Rights).

Hazardous Coatings

Welding on some plated or painted metals may be especially hazardous (Welding Fumes Sampling, Mine Safety and Health Administration). Cadmium is often used as a coating on steel to prevent rust. However, cadmium in welding fumes causes the lung disease, emphysema, as well as kidney failure (Cadmium Exposure from Welding, American Welding SocietyWelding Health Hazards, OSHA).

If you cut a metal that has been coated with paint that contains lead, it may give off welding fumes containing lead oxide. Inhaling these welding fumes can cause lead poisoning, a condition in which you become weak and develop anemia (a low red blood cell count). Lead also harms your nervous system, kidneys, and reproductive system (Lead, ATSDR).

Some welding rods are coated with asbestos. If you inhale asbestos dust that is released into the air, you are at risk for developing serious asbestos–related diseases. These include lung cancer, an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma, and asbestosis, which is a scarring of the lungs.

Heat, Light, and Mechanical Injuries

Arc welding involves ultraviolet light. If welding is done near solvents

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containing chlorinated hydrocarbons, the ultraviolet light can react with the solvents to form phosgene gas, which is deadly in even small amounts (Welding Hazards, AFSCME Fact Sheet). Do not take a chance—never do arc welding near degreasing equipment or solvents.

Looking at ultraviolet light without proper eye protection may lead to “welder’s flash,” which is damage to the cornea of your eye (Ultraviolet Keratitis, Reed Brozen, M.D.). You may already know about this problem. Symptoms include blurred vision and a burning sensation in your eyes. Although the condition takes about a week to heal, you risk permanent eye damage if you are often exposed to ultraviolet light for long periods of time, so it is important to wear your face shield and goggles.

Constant loud noise from machinery is another on–the–job hazard. It can lead to hearing loss and stress. Your employer must keep your exposure to noise at certain levels specified by law. For more information about safety standards, see Welder Safety Tips. That section discusses how to reduce exposure to welding fumes and other welding hazards.

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Welders Health: Side Effects of Galvanized Steel Welding

May 12, 2011 2 comments

Welding galvanized steel is common in the metal fabricating industry. Most welders will at some point in their career perform a weld on galvanized steel and encounter galvanize poisoning or “metal fume fever.” Galvanize poisoning is a short-term reaction to overexposure of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is produced when the steel’s galvanized coating is heated and evaporates.

  1. What is Galvanized Steel

    • Galvanized steel is iron that is coated with zinc. When hot-dipped, the zinc chemically reacts with the base metal to form a corrosion resistant coating. The outer layer of the coating is pure zinc and subsequent layers gradually change in composition until they reach the iron base metal.

      Between the zinc outer layer and iron base metal, zinc oxide is present in varying percentages of zinc to iron. The zinc oxide has the same chemical make-up as the white powder used by lifeguards to protect their noses against sunburn.

    Signs of Galvanizing During Welding

    • Proper prep work to remove galvanizing from the weld area will reduce your exposure to zinc oxide fumes, but some galvanize will remain in the weld area. Yellowish-green smoke, white powdery particles floating in the air and white residue around the weld are sure signs that zinc oxide is present while welding.

      Exposure to large amounts of the yellowish-green zinc oxide fumes will result in galvanize poisoning, commonly referred to as metal fume fever. The amount of exposure will have a direct effect on the severity of your symptoms.

    Symptoms of Galvanize Poisoning (Metal Fume Fever)

    • Signs of galvanize poisoning are similar to flu symptoms. The onset of metal fume fever begins shortly after the body is exposed to zinc oxide and the symptoms include a slight headache and nausea. With increased exposure, flulike symptoms begin to set in.

      Moderate zinc oxide exposure results in chills, shaking, slight fever, vomiting, and cold sweats. When the listed symptoms begin, it is time to stop welding and get fresh air. The symptoms can quickly become debilitating and you may need to go home and let the symptoms subside.

      Fatalities have been associated with extreme cases of galvanize poisoning. Therefore when metal fume fever symptoms begin, you should immediately avoid further exposure.

    How Long “Metal Fume Fever” Lasts

    • Metal fume fever is short-lived and the symptoms begin to fade within four hours of exposure and generally completely fade within 24 hours. Extreme cases of overexposure may see metal fume fever symptoms last for as long as 48 hours.

      Drinking milk can quicken the recovery process as calcium helps remove the zinc build-up from your body.

      There have been studies performed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the long-term effects of welding galvanized steel. No studies have shown long-term health problems due to continued exposure to zinc oxide fumes or repeated cases of metal fume fever.

    Avoiding Overexposure to Galvanize Fumes

    • Proper ventilation, avoiding direct contact with zinc oxide smoke, and proper pre-welding prep work will reduce the chances of your getting metal fume fever. Experienced welders that have had metal fume fever will tell you that drinking milk before, during and after welding galvanized steel will help eliminate the galvanize poisoning.

      There are specialized fresh air welding hoods available for welders who frequently weld galvanized steel.

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Detoxify your body with Swissgarde’s NAFDAC approved AloePower!

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Aloe Power

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