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FUMES AND GASES IN THE WELDING ENVIRONMENT



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The environment surrounding many welding processes contains fumes (particulate matter) that may be harmful (toxic) or relatively harmless and gases that may have pulmonary or non-pulmonary effects. This report summarizes five experimental studies and several literature surveys (conducted by Battelle Memorial Institute-Columbus Laboratories for the American Welding Society) to evaluate the extent to which ventilation may control the exposure of the welder to these fumes and gases and to investigate the nature of the various fumes and gases generated in arc welding, in brazing with silver-based filler metals, in thermal spraying, and in oxyfuel gas cutting. Comprehensive fume control requires exhaust flow rates adequate to reduce room contamination below critical levels, or cross-draft ventilation (or air-ventilated helmets) to remove fumes from the welder's breathing zone, or sometimes both. Tables in this report show what fumes and gases are generated by fourteen types of covered electrodes for shielded metal arc welding, seven electrodes for flux cored arc welding, eleven gas metal arc solid electrodes, two BAg-class brazing filler metals, seven spraying and surfacing metals, and three thicknesses of carbon steel plate severed by oxyacetylene and oxymethane cutting under various operating conditions. These data can be used in part to determine blower capacity and exhaust flow rates needed for ventilation. ISBN 0-87171-174-5

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