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N Z Med J. 1991 Aug 28;104(918):365-7.

Exposure to fumes in typical New Zealand welding operations.

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Auckland District Health Office.


Sixteen welders, welding under typical New Zealand conditions, had ambient air within their welding helmets sampled and analysed for ozone, nitrogen oxides, fluoride, carbon monoxide, aluminium, chromium, iron, nickel, zinc and total dust. Postshift urinary metals were also analysed, and a respiratory questionnaire completed for each welder. Levels above the New Zealand Workplace Exposure Standard (WES) were found for nitrogen dioxide in four welders (two TIG, one MMA and one plasma cutter), and for total chromium in one plasma cutter, who also had a nickel level of 24% of the WES. Dust levels were highest in the plasma cutters, with one reaching 8.67 mg/m3 (WES = 5 mg/m3). Urinary levels however did not indicate excessive short or long term uptake. Where efficient fume extraction was in use, levels of air contaminants were lower than with natural ventilation. Respiratory symptoms were reported by 67% of welders, 38% meeting criteria for chronic bronchitis (relative risk = 2.0). Smoking welders reported more symptoms than nonsmoking welders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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