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Fume extraction systems are commonly used in workplaces where welding, soldering, and other similar activities are performed. These activities produce fumes as a result of burning metal at such a high temperature. The fumes then float into the air and can enter the lungs by way of the nose and mouth. This is dangerous, as these fumes contain compounds such as heavy metals and toxic gases that can make a worker very ill, possibly fatally so.
These systems come in different shapes and sizes. But how do fume extraction systems work, and why are they so important?
Fume extractors are tools that extract, filtrate, and collect hazardous material from fumes. They vacuum fume-contaminated air into a filtration system that then refreshes the air inside the workplace.
Fume extraction systems come in different formats, including portable units, benchtop units, and mounted units. They’re used for activities such as welding, soldering, sanding, spraying, and chemical applications.
In the US, OSHA regulates how much of a given chemical workers are allowed to be exposed to. Because these fumes can be hazardous to health, it’s important that shops do their best to reduce workers’ exposure to an absolute minimum.
Benefits of Fume Extraction Systems
Fume extraction systems do an excellent job of keeping the amount of hazardous compounds in the air below the permissible exposure limits (PELs) specified by OSHA. Without a fume extraction system, your shop is not going to be able to prevent exposure.
Ventilation and personal protective equipment (PPE) do help a great deal, however, they’re not sufficient for welding and solder fumes as the worker is doing their job very close to the source of the fumes.
Worker safety is of utmost importance, and fumes generated by welding and soldering can have serious health effects on the human body. These fumes contain toxic compounds that can cause irritation, illness, and even death. Some of these compounds are known carcinogens, or cancer-causing compounds, that should never be inhaled.
Possible health effects include:
Dust deposits in the lung (welders’ lung)
Aluminum dust lung
Respiratory system irritation
Metal fume fever
Nervous system damage
Fume extraction systems help protect workers from serious illnesses.
Fume extractors are important for reducing the amount of harmful compounds in the air and meeting OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs.)
Welding fume extractors take fume-contaminated air and clean it by passing it through a system of filters that collect the hazardous compounds.