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Why Having A Fume Extraction System Is Important

Published: July 6, 2020

Health Effects of Welding Fume

Fume extraction systems are commonplace in many businesses that perform dangerous activities. Welding, soldering, spraying, and chemical applications all produce fumes that can be harmful to your workers’ health.

Fume extraction systems aim to reduce the amount of danger that workers encounter while doing these tasks. So why is having a fume extraction system so important?

How Do Fume Extraction Systems Work?

Fume extractors extract, filtrate, and collect hazardous material from fumes. They vacuum fume-contaminated air into a filtration system that then recirculates the scrubbed air back into the workplace.

Fume extraction systems can look and behave differently depending on what you need them for. Types of units include portable units, benchtop units, and mounted units. Portable units are great for jobs that are done by multiple people in multiple spaces. Benchtop units work well for soldering, small welding jobs, and even have a use in nail salons. Mounted units are stationary and can be mounted on a wall, a shelf, or at the workspace.

Why Fume Extraction Systems Are Important

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.

They Keep Toxic Compound Emissions Below OSHA’S PELs

Fume extraction systems are used to reduce hazardous compounds in the air below the permissible exposure limits (PELs) specified by OSHA. These regulations were put in place to protect workers from common health problems.

Compounds such as iron oxide, aluminum oxide, magnesium oxide, titanium dioxide, lead oxide, beryllium oxide, cobalt oxide, and formaldehyde can be present in welding and soldering fumes. Chemical applications can have a wide array of dangerous compounds in the fumes.

Lowering these to acceptable levels is important for keeping compliant with OSHA. To see a full list of PELs, check out the OSHA website.

They Keep Workers Safe

Fumes generated by various work such as welding, soldering, laser marking and spraying of solvents can have grave health effects. These fumes contain toxic compounds that can cause irritation, illness, and even death in extreme cases.

Some of these compounds such as Hexavalent Chromium are known to cause cancer and must be properly filtered with true HEPA grade filters.

Possible health effects include: Dust deposits in the lung, problems with the respiratory system, and metal fume fever. More serious complications include liver damage, brain damage, kidney damage, pulmonary edema, and even cancers of the lungs and throat.