The Impact of Welding Fumes on the Health of Welders

Especially, please allow me to dedicate my acknowledgement of gratitude toward the following significant advisors and contributors: First and foremost, would like to thank Mrs.. Kathleen Davis for support and encouragement. She kindly read my paper and offered invaluable detailed advices on grammar, organization and theme of the paper. The product of this research paper would not be possible without them. Second, I would like to thank Dry. Judy Rematch and Dry. Frank Joseph who proof read my paper and provide valuable advices.

Finally, I sincerely thank my parents, family and friends, who roved advice. The product of this research paper would not be possible without all of them. Abstractive the past few years welding has developed into a process which has a wide range of application over a number of industries in Point Portion. Industrial growth in this area has been stimulated by improvements in production rates and quality, but technologically the process is still not fully understood.

This work aims to contribute to the understanding and emphasis on the hazardous effects associated with welding fume exposure and how best limiting the exposure can be achieved. A simplified method of interviews and questionnaires were used to gather relevant data that determined how welders are exposed to fumes. This enabled one to conclude that there are hazardous effects associated with welding fume exposure. Consequently one of the recommendations will consist of a lobby to establish exposure limits for welders, and new legislation and alternatives methods to welding.

Table of Contents TCO “1-3” Ii student Research paper PAGER _TOC393107792 declaration PAGER _Toc393107793 h acknowledgement PAGER _Toc393107794 Ii abstract PAGER _ Toc393107795 arable of contents PAGER _TOC393107796 introduction PAGE-REF _TOC393107797 Nh paper Title PAGE-REF _Toc393107798 maims PAGER _Toc393107799 objectives of Research paper PAGER _TOC393107800 statement of the problem PAGER _Toc393107801 significance of the study PAGER _Toc393107802 Ii statement of the Research Question PAGER _Toc393107803 la Literature Review PAGER _ TOC393107804 1 1 Neurological effects associated with welding fumes.

PAGER _Toc393107805 h 1 1 Pulmonary effects of welding fumes PAGER _Toc393107806 Nh reproductive effects of welding fumes PAGER _TOC393107807 assumptions PAGE-REF Toc393107808 limitations PAGER _Toc393107809 methodology PAGER _ TOC393107810 Ii findings PAGER _TOC393107811 analysis from Observations PAGER _Toc393107812 h misanalysis of Data PAGER _ Toc393107813 concussion PAGER _ TOC393107814 recommendations PAGER TOC393107815 la establishment of exposure limits to welding fumes in the workplace PAGER _Toc393107816 Ii 29th use of Engineering Controls to Protect Welders from Welding Fumes PAGER _Toc393107817 It, ventilation Systems PAGER _Toc393107818 new Legislation PAGER _Toc393107819 31 Lobbying PAGER TOC393107820 31 Definition and Terms PAGER TOC393107821 biography’s PAGER _Toc393107822 references PAGER _Toc393107823 questionnaire PAGE-REF _Toc393107824 interview Questions PAGER _TOC393107825 la 37 Introduction’s Athlete impact of welding fumes on the health of welders in Point For-tin. Aims To discover and understand the debilitating extent of exposure to welding fumes. To determine the mitigation measures necessary to guard against welders susceptibility to welding fumes.

Objectives of Research Overdevelop an instrument that would capture the various health effects caused by eliding Recommend to the SSH Authority the need to develop welding Mitigation Regulations To commence lobbying drive with the labor movement for Welding Mitigation Regulation by December 2014. “Welding is the process of joining together two pieces of metal so that bonding, accompanied by appreciable inter-atomic penetration takes place at their original boundary surfaces. ” Sarah Hanley (2010). The boundaries more or less disappear at the weld. It is carried out by the use of the heat or pressure (or both) and with or without added metal.

There are many different types of welding which can be used for different purposes. Metal Arc Welding is a procedure that employs an electric arc to heat the joint to fusion, and inert gas to prevent oxidation of the weld. Submerged arc welding is the most common arc welding process. It requires a continuous feed of consumable solid or tubular (flux cored) electrode. The molten weld and the arc zone are protected from atmospheric contamination by being “submerged” under a blanket of granular fusible flux consisting of lime, silica, manganese oxide, calcium fluoride and other compounds. When molten, the flux becomes conductive, and provides a current path between the electrode and the work.

This thick layer of flux completely covers the molten metal thus preventing spatter and sparks as well as suppressing the intense ultraviolet radiation and fumes that are part of the shielded metal arc welding (SWAM) process. In Trinidad and Tobago, the most commonly practiced types of welding techniques are the Submerged Arc and Metal Arc welding. “Welding is a potentially dangerous process and also produces fumes. ” Keith R. Scott (2007). Fumes are formed when hot metal vapors cool and condense into very small particles that stay suspended in the vapor or the gas. The articles may be metal or metallic compound, and are often smaller than one micrometer (One-fiftieths) the width Of human hair. The fumes may be visible or not.

Welding “smoke” is an example of a visible fume. Even if the fumes cannot be seen, its particles are still present in the atmosphere. Statement of the Parliamentarian and Tobago is a developing Caribbean country that hopes to achieve first world status by the allotted year of 2020. As part of this achievement, the nation would also strive to attain the position as laid down by the Borderland Commission 1 987, “To be able to maximize and be sustainable developed, this effective means of achieving standards and reputations that could be recognized globally”. It should be noted that due to the rapid expansion in the oil industry, as stated by U. S.

Energy Information Administration 201 3 “Natural gas production currently accounts for just over 85 percent of the country’s natural resource base” a subsequent upsurge in adverse impacts on the health and safety of the workers within this faction. Increased calls for the institution (or revision) and enforcement of health and safety regulations from local and foreign investors alike were made. As a result, the Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Safety and Health Bill was enacted. The Act which addressed health and safety issues in the workplace is the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and was enacted by the Parliament in 2004, and amended in 2006. Other regulations continue to be drafted by the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, the local body established to enforce the act.

However, “given the potential for injury and limited opportunities to engineer hazards” Safes Management Group (2011 safety regulations, codes of practices and general safety systems relating to the hazards associated with welding fumes exposure are one of the major loop holes present in the system. Legislation has to be created locally to limit that. At present, safety professionals in Trinidad and Tobago use foreign health and safety legislations (for e. G. OSHA Welding Standard 1910. 254- Arc Welding and Cutting, amongst others) as the best practice in the absence of our local legislation to protect workers because of its effectiveness and low failure rates. In Trinidad and Tobago, welding is one of the more popular trades taught to young adults looking to enter the workplace, and is one of the most assured job options available.

Today’s need for highly trained welders is compounded by the fact that construction and oil industry is experiencing a skilled worker shortage” The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) Unfortunately, because there are no local standards or safety regulations available to protect our workers from welding fume exposure, many of the workers at the ground level are still unsure of their rights, and are oblivious to their effects of their health, until ifs too late. Many welders, non-welders (welder helpers) and fabricators are unaware of the dangers they are being exposed to everyday in their line of work. This is partly due to the lack of knowledge, and availability of specific training on this sensitive topic in institutions in Trinidad. Copied with the glaring reality of disregard for personal safety by workers on the job, workers in the welding profession are inadvertently exposed to the possibility Of adverse impacts daily on the job. This prompted the researcher to dig deeper into this arena.

Significance of the Study It has been observed that welders become ill and that fumes from their jobs might be responsible. One such welder who was closely linked to the researcher succumbed to his work related illness. Therefore, this gave great cause for concern. This study is important because as it will investigate welders’ perceptions, attitudes, viewpoints and their participation towards safer welding practices and environmental protection. Consequently, this research will offer significant information to welders about safe practices and improvements to legislation pertinent to them. Statement of the Research Questions exposure to welding fumes hazardous enough to affect the health of welders?

Literature Riverview of studies on the health effects experienced by welders as a result of ‘the inhalation of welding fumes have hon. conclusive evidence that there are acute and chronic health effects, associated with any type of welding procedure”. Antonio et al. , 2004 However, this other study contradicts the above statement indicating that “these effects are often times difficult to assess because of differences in worker populations, industrial settings, work area ventilation, welding processes and materials used, and other occupational exposures besides welding fumes. ” Sassafras and Becket, (1991) It has been established that “most full-time welders experience some type of respiratory disorder during their time of employment” Martin et al. (1997) Neurological effects associated with welding fumes.

Manganese is an essential ingredient in the welding of steel because it increases hardness and strength, it also prevents steel from cracking during manufacture, improves metallurgical properties, and acts as a digitizing agent to remove iron oxide from the weld pool to form a stable weld. “Manganese in welding consumables is considered the causative factor for the neurological deficits seen in welders. ” Harris, 2002. Depending on the welding process and the composition of the welding electrode, manganese may be present in different oxidation states and have efferent solubility properties. These differences may affect the biological responses to manganese after the inhalation of welding fumes. Manganese intoxication and the associated neurological symptoms have been reported in individual cases of welders who have been exposed to high concentrations of manganese-containing welding fumes due to work in poorly ventilated areas”. James M. Antonio et al. , (2006). In many of the research studies reviewed, “The relationship of Manganese and Parkinson disease was explored to determine if manganese inhalation from welding fume exposure was one of he root causes of Parkinson induced symptoms” Baxter et al. ,2000; 108 “Exposure to manganese first produces nonspecific symptoms such as weakness, apathy, headaches, muscle cramps, and joint pains” Levy et al. , 2003. A second stage includes uncoordinated speech and gait. Both stages may include a form of psychosis known as “manganese madness. Parkinson, involving tremors and movement disorder, develops as the last stage. It is apparent that manganese can reach the body’s circulation after inhalation of welding fumes, and would be transported directly to the central nervous system. It has been observed by using brain MR. “that manganese can accumulate in the globes palladium after exposure to high concentrations of welding fumes” Nelson et al. , 1993;. The globes palladium is a structure in the brain which is involved in the regulation of voluntary movement. It is part of the basal ganglia, which, among many other things, regulate movements which occur on the subconscious level. If the globes palladiums is damaged, it can cause movement disorders, as its regulatory function will be impaired” S. E. Smith, 2012. In an important study conducted by Recreate et al. (2001), hey compared the clinical features of Parkinson disease in 15 full-time welders with novo control groups with an idiopathic form of the disease. It was observed that “the welders had a younger onset (46 years) of Parkinson disease that was significantly different than the onset (63 years) in the controls”. The authors concluded that Parkinson disease in welders was didst anguished only by age at onset, suggesting that welding may be a possible risk factor for the development of early onset Parkinson disease.

To corroborate the above, in another study conducted by Krishna SRAM et l;2012, indicated that “there is the belief that occupational exposure to welding fumes is thought to cause Parkinson disease -like neurological dysfunctions, and there is an apprehension that it is plausible that welding fumes may accelerate the onset of Parkinson disease”. However, although it has been hypothesized that manganese-containing welding fumes are a possible neurological hazard, a number of issues regarding the association of welding fume exposure needs to be addressed with future studies. Some of these studies have limitations due to a lack of complete and accurate oracle exposure data and little information on exposures to other neurotically in the workplace.

The findings from the research conducted indicated that “It appears that the case reports of manganese intoxication in welders are mostly limited to exposure to very high levels Of welding fumes, where welding has taken place in confined spaces, or during welding that has used electrodes high in manganese content. ” Nelson et al. , 1 993; In addition, questions exist as to whether “the risk of neurotically is dependent on the welding process or industry, where fume concentrations may be potentially Geiger or more hazardous. ” Kim et al. , 1999. Additionally, “it needs to be determined whether or not exposure to long-term low levels of manganese in welding fumes can lead to neurotically in welders. ” Eased et al. , 2003). In the study conducted by Lucking et al. (1999), results showed that “in preferably workers, cumulative exposure to low levels of manganese oxides may cause neuron-functional changes. ” Another study done by Bernhard et al. 2003) revealed that “in addition to manganese exposure, risk factors that can influence the incidence of neurological disease amongst welders include liver impairment, carbon monoxide poisoning, organic solvent exposure, and brain accumulation of iron”. It has been observed that “a significant number of liver cirrhosis patients exhibited moderate to severe Parkinson. ” Therefore, along with standard liver function tests, alcohol consumption should be evaluated when studying neurological effects in welders. “A different probable cause for the onset of Parkinson in welders was that it could be a possible neurological result of carbon monoxide poisoning” (Soon et al. , 2000).

It is possible that the poisoning effects of carbon monoxide generated urine welding processes have been mistakenly attributed to manganese intoxication. In addition, welders may be exposed to organic solvents through activities that are typically performed in the workplace. “Exposure to a number of solvents has been associated with alterations of cognitive and psychosomatic function following short-term exposures at or near the Tilt’ Spikier and Morris, 2001. Also, most welders are continuously exposed to airborne concentrations of iron that are considerably higher than that of manganese. It has been hypothesized “that accumulation of iron in the brain ay be associated with Parkinson disease” Berg et al. , 2001 and Rider et al. , 2001. Iron levels are increased in the substantial Niagara of patients with Parkinson disease post-mortem” (Dexter et al. , 1987 and Sofia et al. , 1988). “There are hundreds of thousands of workers who are exposed to welding fumes worldwide, but very little is known or has been reported about the association of welding fume exposure and the potential development of neurotically” Lucking et al. 1999. In light of the above, a number of studies reviewed, provides conclusive evidence that exposure to manganese via the inhalation of welding fumes can result in hazardous health effects to welders, it may not be accurate to infer that this may be the root cause of Parkinson or any other neurological effects experienced by welders.

Pulmonary effects of welding fumaroles studies have been conducted with a view to establishing the potential link between exposure to the welding fumes through inhalation and the occurrence of lung function deficiency in welders. Ambiguous results have been observed because some studies have been conducted in laboratories, others in controlled work environments, and some urine actual workplace conditions. (Stern, 1981). A number of uncontrolled variables in the workplace pose challenges to researchers to conclusively conclude that lung function can be affected solely by the act of welding fume exposure, In the study conducted by Stern, (1981), indicated that “the severity of exposure to welding fumes varies due to differences in welding processes and materials, duration of exposure, and ventilation of the exposure area. In addition, other factors may confound the results of pulmonary function tests in welders, such as tobacco smoking. In the study conducted by Shoo et al. (1979); documented “shipyard welders, who are exposed to higher fume conditions because of work in confined, poorly ventilated areas, had greater decrements in lung function than welders who worked in well ventilated places”. In a comparison Of workers in the same plant, Murk et al. (1985) demonstrated that “welders who worked in confined spaces had reduced lung function as compared with those who worked in well-ventilated areas”. One would be inclined to infer from the above that ventilation of the exposure area is a critical factor in determining the effect, if any, from welding fume inhalation.

Interestingly, in the research conducted by Sufferable and Becket (1 991 concluded the opposite that “most studies suggest that there are little to no measurable effects due to welding exposure alone on lung function. Additionally, a number of susceptible welders who work in heavily exposed areas may account for the differences in lung function observed between welders and control populations”. In the study by Wang et al. (1 994); Commission et al. (1995); Beach et al. (1 996), they argued that some studies have indicated “that exposure to welding fumes may even be a possible cause of asthma, another possible health effect”. However, a definitive association between welding and occupational asthma has yet to be determined.

No firm evidence could be found to link the two, since similarly, as with lung function, the development of asthma after exposure to welding fumes is difficult to determine because of differences in worker populations and the types of welding exposure. Extensive studies have been also been conducted on the potential association between welding and the development of lung cancer. Whilst it may be argued that the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (ARC) could be flawed due to actors such as limited evidence in humans and inadequate evidence in animals, after a review of 23 epidemiological studies examining the incidence of cancer in welders, the ARC concluded that “welding fumes were “possibly carcinogenic” to humans” (ARC, 1990).

The recognition that the evidence collected was inadequate could provide meaningful information for researchers, and could very well provide the impetus for enhancing future test protocols, due to the gravity of the illnesses that could possibly develop from inhalation of welding fumes. This view is supported by the study done by Hansen et al. (1 996), who alluded that “the interpretation of an excess lung cancer risk in welders is often difficult because of uncertain exposure assessment and inadequate information on smoking habits and exposure to other work-related carcinogens, such as silica and asbestos”. Also, in a nine nation historical cohort study which pooled data from 21 case control and 27 cohort studies of 1 1 ,092 welders in Europe, Simonton and colleagues (1991 ) “observed a significantly greater mortality rate from lung cancer among welders, but asbestos exposure was implicated as a confounding factor. The lath effects of asbestos have been well documented, and as such, it could be inferred that this factor could possibly play a major role in increasing lung cancer risk in welders. Some studies have not accounted for the duration of the welding experience. Beaumont and Weiss (1 981 ) suggested that “the increased lung cancer risk observed in welders was not apparent until at least 20-?30 years after the first exposure to welding fumes”. In general, epidemiology studies have shown that a large number of welders experience some type of respiratory illness, ranging from bronchitis, siderites, asthma, ND possible increase in the incidence of lung cancer, especially for full-time welders.

Pulmonary infections are increased in terms of severity, duration, and frequency among welders. Inhalation exposure to welding fumes may vary due to differences in the materials used and methods employed Whilst studies conclusively indicate that welding fume exposure can result in pulmonary effects, they cannot confirm that exposure to welding fumes were the sole reason for the negative symptoms experienced. More in-depth research needs to be carried out, with a broader scope in study to include there possible factors, such as lifestyle habits of the sample population which may produce more definitive results than the above studies have shown.

Reproductive effects of welding fumes view that welding may be detrimental to the male reproductive system has been used as a hypothesis for research conducted internationally, as “it has been estimated that in industrialized nations about 1% of workers is engaged in the welding of metals and could possibly be a greater percentage in developing nations” Detained. ; et al 2003) However, it should be noted that prolific research has not been done on this specific link. As such, supporting evidence at this time is limited, but the research that has been conducted does show a clear risk so far to welders. Completed studies of patients from fertility clinics suggested that welders may have an increased risk of reduced semen quality.

In this study conducted by K Detained; et al 2003, welders and non-welders from the same plants were asked to provide blood, urine, and semen samples. Urine was analyzed for chromium and nickel, and for mutagen activity and metal concentration; blood for metal concentrations, mucilaginous G, total protein, and measures of egocentricity in lymphocytes; and semen was valuated by standard semen analysis. “Results of the semen evaluation, showed no difference in semen quality between welders and non-welders. ” The metal dust exposure of non-welders in the plant may be higher than that in the general population, welders were also compared to referents not working in the metal industry. Again, no decrease in semen quality associated with welding was demonstrated.

In the study conducted by the British Journal of Industrial Medicine (1 990), the results established on their research of “the reduction of semen quality and sex hormones among mild steel and stainless tell welders in Denmark”, slightly contradicts that of the above. Semen quality was examined in 35 stainless steel welders, 46 mild steel welders, and 54 Nan-welding metal workers and electricians. The semen quality of each participant was determined by a sample population, particular semen parameters in three semen samples delivered at monthly intervals in a period with occupational exposure in a steady state. The sperm concentration was not reduced in either mild steel or stainless steel welders.

The sperm count per ejaculate, the proportion Of normal sperm forms, the degree Of sperm utility, and the linear penetration rate of the sperm were significantly decreased and the sperm concentration of follicle stimulating hormone (FISH) was non-significantly increased in mild steel welders. A dose response relation between exposure to welding fumes and these semen parameters (with the exception of sperm count) was found. Semen quality decreased and FISH concentrations increased with increasing exposure. Significant deterioration’s in some semen parameters were also observed in stainless steel welders. Therefore, the health effects of welding are of interest, specially in the welding of stainless steel where the fumes and dusts generated contain hexameter chromium and nickel. Several chromate and nickel compounds have been shown to be carcinogenic in animals and humans.

Several studies have indicated a worldwide decreasing trend in average sperm counts and sperm quality, raising the possibility of a causative role for environmental exposures such as heavy metals. The results of the current investigation indicated by K Detained; et al Grover 2003 “significant reduction in semen quality of the male welders occupationally exposed to nickel and chromium. These welders showed a significant decrease in sperm count when compared to control men. In addition, the men exposed to welding fumes revealed a decrease in sperm motility. Only limited studies have addressed nickel and chromium-induced reproductive dysfunction. Additionally, smoking did not show an effect on semen parameters in welders or in control men. Alcohol consumption also had no effect on semen parameters.

Similarly, another study also demonstrated no significant difference in semen parameters between smokers and nonsmokers and no significant influence of alcohol intake on semen quality in men exposed to dead. From our findings it can be concluded that welding is associated with abnormal semen parameters and might affect the reproductive success of welders. Exposed workers with normal semen parameters may be fertile; it is not possible from our data to evaluate possible effects of exposure on fertility, which was not directly assessed. Additional studies on the association between nickel and chromium and male fertility will be necessary. In the book written by Harold I.