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  • welding fumes

    Exactly how nasty are the stick welding fumes? I've read places that give me the impression the fumes aren't that bad . . . just some ventilation and you're OK. Then I've talked with welders that say you really have to watch out for them. When I weld small stuff (1/8", 1/4"), the fumes are hardly noticeable.
    TomK

  • #2
    weld fumes

    For hobby welding of short duration, fumes might not be an issue. However for career welding, I would recommend using fans or a fume extractor.

    One of my welding engineer professors died an early death in his 50's from lung cancer, and he never smoked a cigarette in his life. He did spend over 20years every day in a stick welding lab with poor ventilation. That is a smoking gun in my opinion, but maybe I'm just a worry wart.

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    • #3
      Stick welding fumes aren't very good at all. You can consult the MSDS to get the list of all the chemicals in them and what their permissible exposure limit is. But in short, there's stuff that can cause COPD, lung cancer, parkinson's disease, etc.

      If you're a hobby welder, try to do your stick welding outside, otherwise you'll want want ventilation of some sort. Depending on the environment, you may or may not need a respirator.

      If you feel you need a respirator, a 3M 6000 series half face piece unit equipped with P100 filters will work very well, and fit under a welding hood.

      3M, and other manufacturers make units that have a powered positive pressure system that uses a filter unit mounted on your belt, and delivers clean air to the welding hood. Because it's positive pressure, you don't need to wear a face piece. These are very nice, but expensive, and can only be justified if you weld for a living.

      Also, dust created from grinding isn't good for you either. Not only is the metal particulates bad, but the dust created by the grinding wheel as it wears down contains large amounts of silica which can cause lung cancer and COPD.
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      • #4
        weld fumes

        One the guys on one of these welding forums made his own downdraft weld helmet. He used on old computer cooling fan and mounted it to the top of his weld helmet and connected it to a 12v power supply. It only cost him a few bucks and he said it worked well. He had a picture of it posted.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by obewan View Post
          One the guys on one of these welding forums made his own downdraft weld helmet. He used on old computer cooling fan and mounted it to the top of his weld helmet and connected it to a 12v power supply. It only cost him a few bucks and he said it worked well. He had a picture of it posted.
          I think that was only for cooling purposes. There's no way that would be filtering out fumes and providing clean air. Homemade respiratory protection is never a good idea.
          Lincoln Idealarc 250
          Lincoln Weldanpower CC/CV engine drive
          Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder
          Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
          Various oxy-fuel setups featuring Victor, Harris, and Prest-o-lite products

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          • #6
            Originally posted by moya034 View Post
            I think that was only for cooling purposes. There's no way that would be filtering out fumes and providing clean air. Homemade respiratory protection is never a good idea.
            Come to think of it, you are probably right. Still, for home use, a simple downdraft hood would be better than nothing. I would envision a length of flexible plastic dryer tube/hose to get the intake away from the smoke stream.

            I once worked for a very cheap employer who reluctantly gave me a small fan connected to a flexible dryer hose to use as "fume extractor". It was a pretty poor rig, but it helped a lot because I was having asthma problems spot welding zinc coated steels in a robotic welding lab job.

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            • #7
              Well you can get a 3M 6000 series half face respirator and P100 filters for less then $20. That'd be alot better then anything homemade.

              If you shave, properly fit the respirator, and do positive/negative pressure checks, it will offer all the protection you need. Some people may find them uncomfortable, but I personally think once you get used to it, it's a very small price to pay for your health.

              That being said, respirators are only meant for short term exposure, so if you're welding for a living, the $1400 or so a real positive pressure hood/filter assembly costs is worth the $.
              Lincoln Idealarc 250
              Lincoln Weldanpower CC/CV engine drive
              Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder
              Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
              Various oxy-fuel setups featuring Victor, Harris, and Prest-o-lite products

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              • #8
                Or weld out in the open air, with a fan (not for MIG). I do all my welding under a covered carport with fans moving the air across. Seems to work very well. I realize ti is a "Texas Weather" solution, and may present problems to those stuck up north..Brrrr....
                "Good Enough Never Is"

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                • #9
                  Google +manganese +parkinsonism +welding

                  Probably not a concern for a hobbyist but it might be for a career weldor.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Krunch View Post
                    Google +manganese +parkinsonism +welding

                    Probably not a concern for a hobbyist but it might be for a career weldor.
                    Yeah, but think about the pretty weaves you could achieve if you got the "shakes" under your control.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by moya034 View Post
                      I think that was only for cooling purposes. There's no way that would be filtering out fumes and providing clean air. Homemade respiratory protection is never a good idea.
                      OF COURSE IT CAN FILTER OUT WELDING FUMES.If you have ever had to weld galvanized steel outside woth no respirator you can always rely on some wind to give you the occasional breath of fresh air.whats the difference between the two?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pkts1474 View Post
                        OF COURSE IT CAN FILTER OUT WELDING FUMES.If you have ever had to weld galvanized steel outside woth no respirator you can always rely on some wind to give you the occasional breath of fresh air.whats the difference between the two?
                        "the occasional breath of fresh air"? I prefer to be able to breathe on a regular basis.

                        If one of these two conditions is not met, you DO NOT have reasonable protection: a) a supply of air that is uncontaminated (a good breeze outdoors from behind may do this, or a fan behind the welder bowing air from far enough away that the air is clean, or in a confined space, a supplied air system that draws air from a location that is uncontaminated) or b) a filter system sufficient to remove the contaminants.

                        A computer fan mounted in the hood will bring in air from around the welders head, which is the same air that he would breathe without the fan. This is the the air where the contamination is.

                        The methods that work well are a) those already mentioned: a supply that draws uncontaminated air, generally through a hose; a proper filter; a sufficient ventilation system to insure that fresh air is supplied faster than fumes are produced (such as a fan behind the welder drawing from a clean area) while sweeping the fumes away and b) those that remove the fumes at the source: a fume collector vented to the outside or a collector with proper filtration to allow the air to recirculate, either of which should collect the fumes at the source.

                        As a side note, a variety of respirators are available. The cheap 'dust mask' type (disposable) are NOT suitable for protection when welding. They provide a level of comfort against nuisance, but are not a suitable sole solution. Most respirators have replacable filters which must be matched to the particular hazard, and the respirator must be properly fit to the wearer to insure protection. A clean shave is generally needed, but there are a few models that have mouthpieces, though I don't know of any that are MSHA approved (nose plugs are needed with these to prevent nose breathing, they do not protect the skin around the nose and mouth, and it is possible to draw air around the mouthpiece)
                        I may not be good looking, but I make up for it with my dazzling lack of personality

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                        • #13
                          Those Grinding Wheels Are Slightly Radioactive.

                          Also, dust created from grinding isn't good for you either. Not only is the metal particulates bad, but the dust created by the grinding wheel as it wears down contains large amounts of silica which can cause lung cancer and COPD.[/QUOTE]

                          I never used to give it much though and I don't grind all that much but you are right about the dust. Try to do it outside or use a fan. There is gamma radiation just like the radon in some basements in those wheels. Where I work we have radiation alarms for the trucks that come through. If one shows up with grinding wheels or even raw silica on board it alarms every time. Think lung cancer if you get enough of that stuffed into your lungs long term especially if you smoke.
                          For myself I use one of those big 24" window box fans you get at Wallyworld for $12. Lots of CFM and nice and quiet. Its good for painting too. While its not something to get all excited about it is worth noting as I never knew anyone who ever really survived lung cancer. An ounce of prevention...................

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by drizler View Post
                            ... There is gamma radiation just like the radon in some basements in those wheels....
                            Uhh, no, radon is an alpha emitter and grinding wheels aren't radioactive.


                            Originally posted by drizler View Post
                            ... If one shows up with grinding wheels or even raw silica on board it alarms every time.
                            JUMING JEEBUS ON A POGO STICK!!!! then you never, ever want to visit the beach!!! I mean all that radioactive raw silica!!!!
                            Silica is sand.

                            Originally posted by drizler View Post
                            ... Think lung cancer if you get enough of that stuffed into your lungs long term especially if you smoke.
                            .
                            Silicosis is not cancer, it is a lung disease, but it's not cancer.

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                            • #15
                              Yup, No Crap Grinding Wheels Sets Off Radiation Alarms & Inhaled Sand Dust is Bad

                              So does a truck loaded with limestone for that matter or someone who has had a radioactive tracer blood test recently. It is real sensitive scan gear we have but anyways I wouldn't want to snuff grinding dust 8 hours a day for 20 years either. Who knows what give someone cancer but I do know regular silica sand is one of the bigger worrys. Just ask anyone with a sandblasting shop why they use beads and not sand. Way too many safety considerations and OSHA headaches to deal with in most states.
                              On the other hand radon gas in your basement is the second leading cause of lung cancer and how many of you ever tested your basement for $10 to see if you have any in there?

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