WELDING FUMES AND CANCER: THE NEW RESEARCH WILL SURPRISE YOU
There are currently over 400,000 welders in the United States and the number keeps rising everyday. While welding is considered a source of income for many people, this new research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer should definitely make you take extra precautions if you’re a welder. The new research has found a linkage between welding and cancer.
According to the new research, welding fumes and UV radiation produced during welding activities pose a great health risk to welders. While the carcinogenicity of welding gases’ studies date back to 1989, back then they were classified as Group 2B. However, in March 2018, a group of scientists from different countries found that welding fumes and UV radiation can cause eye, lung and kidney cancers, hence being classified as Group 1 carcinogens. It doesn’t end there. Solvents such as trichloroethylene, which are used in cleaning metals while welding, have also shown to increase the risk of one getting kidney cancer. If you’ve wondered “does welding cause cancer”, there you have it. But how do you avoid these hazardous gases?
Having a fume filtration system at welding facilities is the first step in evading hazards of inhaling fumes.
Other welding hazards found in welding facilities
Fumes produced during welding are a complex combination of silicates, fluorides and metallic oxides. Apart from cancer, other health hazards of inhaling the fume include: nose, eye and throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, lung damage, stomach ulcers and suffocation. Having an efficient VOC air cleaner installed at your welding workplace is the best decision you can make for your health, your colleagues’ and your loved ones.
How to avoid dangers of welding fumes
- While at work, read the safety instructions by your manufacturer, safety procedures at work and safety data sheets (SDSs) to avoid dangers of welding gases.
- Replace welding solvents such as trichloroethylene with water-based or high flash point ones.
- Avoid welding on surfaces that are still wet after using degreasing solvents.
- Avoid welding close to degreasing baths.
- Avoid using chlorinated hydrocarbon degreasers.
- Ensure there’s enough ventilation at your welding facility so as to prevent oxygen displacement and prevent flammable atmospheres from forming up.
- Ensure you put on the appropriate respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
If you’re still not sure of how to protect yourself and your workmates from welding gases, learn more about why having a Fume Extraction System is important.