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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 Jul;7(7):2978-87. doi: 10.3390/ijerph7072978. Epub 2010 Jul 22.

Total fume and metal concentrations during welding in selected factories in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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Environmental Sciences Department, Faculty of Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Welding is a major industrial process used for joining metals. Occupational exposure to welding fumes is a serious occupational health problem all over the world. The degree of risk to welder's health from fumes depends on composition, concentration, and the length of exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate workers' welding fume exposure levels in some industries in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In each factory, the air in the breathing zone within 0.5 m from welders was sampled during 8-hour shifts. Total particulates, manganese, copper, and molybdenum concentrations of welding fumes were determined. Mean values of eight-hour average particulate concentrations measured during welding at the welders breathing zone were 6.3 mg/m(3) (Factory 1), 5.3 mg/m(3) (Factory 2), 11.3 mg/m(3) (Factory 3), 6.8 mg/m(3) (Factory 4), 4.7 mg/m(3) (Factory 5), and 3.0 mg/m(3) (Factory 6). Mean values of airborne manganese, copper, and molybdenum levels measured during welding were in the range of 0.010 mg/m(3)-0.477 mg/m(3), 0.001 mg/m(3)-0.080 mg/m(3) and 0.001 mg/m(3)-0.058 mg/m(3) respectively. Mean values of calculated equivalent exposure values were: 1.50 (Factory 1), 1.56 (Factory 2), 5.14 (Factory 3), 2.21 (Factory 4), 2.89 (Factory 5), and 1.20 (Factory 6). The welders in factories 1, 2, 3, and 4 were exposed to welding fume concentration above the SASO limit value, which may increase the risk of respiratory health problems.


fume; occupational exposure; particulates

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