Welding Fumes

CONTAMINANT: WELDING FUMES
ORGIN: Moldex Technical Services Department
DATE: Updated November 2006
REVIEWED: March 2010

Overview

There are more than 80 different types of welding applications. The process involves heating metals to their melting point which causes fumes. Breathing metal fumes can lead to a condition called “metal fume fever” and other even more serious health effects.

Galvanized metals are those coated with zinc. Stainless steel is a form of iron containing carbon and metals such as chromium, nickel or molybdenum in various combinations. Both of these metals can be worked on using various types of welding processes such as brazing, cutting, arc welding, etc.
We receive many calls on the welding of galvanized and stainless steels and the appropriate product to provide protection. Below you will find a general guide for all types of metals including galvanized and stainless steel. In order to make the appropriate choice, the user will need to know what other contaminants may be present in addition to the metal fumes.

Please remember that since there are numerous types and methods for welding and cutting metals, a qualified expert such as an Industrial Hygienist may need to evaluate the specific workplace conditions prior to properly selecting a respirator. A particular concern is when someone is welding in a confined space. In those cases a supplied air respirator may be required. There are also substance-specific standards (e.g., lead, cadmium), which may apply. Refer to the appropriate regulations for your application for further guidance. Also wear appropriate eye and face protection.

Affected Industries

Welding Shops, Foundries, Machine Shops, Auto Repair and Body Shops & Construction Contractors

Welding Guide Suggestions
<10X PEL
No Oils Present
No Substance Specific Standard
Any N95 or higher mask or filter such as 2300N95, 2310N99, 2315N99, 2700N95, 4200 N95, 4600 N95 or M2700N95
<10X PEL
Oils Present
No Substance Specific Standard
Any R95 or higher mask or filter such as 2740R95, M2740R95, 4300P95, 8970, 7940 or 7990
<10X PEL
No Oils Present
No Substance Specific Standard
Nuisance Level Ozone or Organic Odors
(Note: Arc Welding produces ozone)
Any N95 or higher mask or filter with nuisance OV relief such as 2400N95, 2800N95, 4800 N95 or M2800N95
<10X PEL
Oils Present
No substance specific standard
Nuisance Level Ozone or Organic Odors
(Note: Arc Welding produces ozone)
Any R95 or higher mask or filter with nuisance OV relief such as 2840R95,  M2840R95 or 7960
<10X PEL
No Oils Present
No Substance Specific Standard
Nuisance Level Acid Gases
Any N95 or higher mask or filter with nuisance AG relief such as 2500N95
<10X PEL
Oils Present
No substance specific standard
Nuisance Level Acid Gas Irritants
Any R95 or higher mask or filter with nuisance AG relief such as 2940R95
<10X PEL
No Oils Present
No Substance Specific Standard
Chemical Gases/Vapors Present at or Above PEL
(up to 10X PEL)
Half Mask Reusable Respirator such as 7000 or 7800 Series and 8910 w/Appropriate Chemical cartridge
(7600 particularly useful)
<10X PEL
Oils Present
No Substance Specific Standard
Chemical Gases/Vapors Present at or Above PEL)
(up to 10X PEL)
Half Mask Reusable Respirator such as 7000 or 7800 Series and 8970R95 or 7940 w/Appropriate Chemical cartridge
(7600 particularly useful)

The Moldex® Decision Guide for Welding can be download as a pdf file.

WARNING: The information contained in this Tech Brief is dated and was accurate to the best of Moldex’s knowledge, on the date above. It is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it intended to be used in place of the warning/use instructions that accompany Moldex respirators. Outside of the USA, check with all applicable and local government regulations.

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