Air Monitoring Applications - Welding

Metals & Metal Fumes from Welding

Air Sampling Media by Regulatory Method Welding Processes main page
Method Contaminants of Interest Sampling Media
OSHA
OSHA ID 103 Chromic Acid and Chromates (Hexavalent Chromium) Filter- PVC (23387)
OSHA ID 121 Metal and Metalloid Particulates (Pb, Cr, & Cd) Filter – MCE (23381)
OSHA ID 125G Metal and Metalloid Particulates (Pb, Cr, & Cd) Filter – MCE (23381)
OSHA ID 140 Mercury Vapor in Workplace Atmospheres Passive or active sampling device p/w Hydrar® or Hopcalite
OSHA ID 145 Mercury, Particulate Filter – MCE (23381)
OSHA ID 172 Carbon Dioxide in Workplace Atmospheres Gas Sampling Bag – Tedlar 5L (24655)
OSHA ID 182 Nitrogen Dioxide in Workplace Atmospheres Sorbent Tube – TEA molesieve (Custom-Inquire)
Passive – Radiello (RAD166 w/ RAD1201)
OSHA ID 189 Cadmium Filter – MCE (23381)
NIOSH
NIOSH 6009 Mercury Sorbent Tube-6 mm OD x 4 mm ID, 7 cm L w 200 mg Hopcalite (N/A)
NIOSH 7024 Chromium and Compounds Filter – MCE (23381)
NIOSH 7048 Cadmium and Compounds Filter – MCE (23381)

Related Products


Metals

Welders can be exposed to particles of lead, nickel and mercury and other metals depending on the types of metal they are working with.

Hexavalent Chromium
One of the most dangerous metals to health is hexavalent chromium. Exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs mainly among workers who handle pigments containing dry chromate, spray paints and coatings containing chromate, operate chrome plating baths, and weld or cut metals containing chromium, such as stainless steel. Workers who have long-term exposure over many years may be at increased risk of developing lung cancer. Breathing high levels can irritate or damage the nose, throat, and lungs. Irritation or damage to the eyes and skin can occur from exposure of these organs to high concentrations or for a prolonged period of time. For more information please visit our Paints and Coatings Section on Hexavalent Chromium.

Lead
See Paints & Coatings section to find exposure limits and references for Lead.



Metal Fumes

Metal fumes arise during processes involving: the manufacture of metallic materials such as galvanized metals like steel, brass, and other alloys; application of rust preventative coatings onto steel; alloying elements such as iron in steel manufacture; and the inhibition of foliage growth in marine environments.

 

Health Hazards Associated with Metal Fumes
Metal Fumes Formation Health Hazards
Cadmium From welding stainless steel materials containing cadmium or plated metals, and zinc alloy. Acute: Severe lung irritation, pulmonary edema, and in some cases, death. Long-term exposure to low levels of cadmium in air can damage the kidneys. Cadmium is classified by OSHA, NIOSH, and EPA as a potential human carcinogen.
Iron Oxides Arise from base metal and electrode Irritation of nasal pathway, throat, lungs
Zinc Oxides From manufacturing of galvanized metals such as zinc-plated steel and brass casting at high temperatures above 900 ºC; welding painted metals. Acute: Irritation of lungs and difficulty breathing. Long-Term: “Metal Fume Fever”, “Zinc Chills”, “Brass-Founders Ague” similar to influenza in symptoms and duration, with low grade fever, chills, and shakes.
Aluminum Oxides From welding some alloys which contain metals such as copper, zinc, steel, iconels, magnesium, brass and filler metals Irritation of nasal pathway, throat, lungs
Beryllium Alloying element found in copper, magnesium and aluminum; electrical contacts Acute exposure to high concentrations can result in chemical pneumonia. Long-Term: shortness of breath, chronic cough, and significant weight loss, accompanied by fatigue and general weakness. “Metal Fume Fever”, “Zinc Chills”, “Brass-Founders Ague” similar to influenza symptoms and duration w/low grade fever, chills, and shakes. Known Carcinogen to Humans-Lung Cancer
Mercury Arise from welding metals that are coated with mercury compounds commonly found in rust and plant growth inhibitors in marine environments (such as marine paints). Exposure to these vapors may produce stomach pain, diarrhea, kidney damage, or respiratory failure. Long-term exposure may produce tremors, emotional instability, and hearing damage.
Manganese Fume From welding processes involving high-tensile strength steel. Acute: Irritation of lungs and difficulty breathing. Long-Term: “Metal Fume Fever”, “Zinc Chills”, “Brass-Founders Ague” similar to influenza symptoms and duration w/low grade fever, chills, and shakes.

Exposure Limits
Contaminant/
Agency
Exposure Limit
Cadmium
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 5 µg/m³ TWA; 2.5 µg/m³ Action Level
for Construction Industry: 5 µg/m³ TWA; 2.5 µg/m³ Action Level
for Maritime: 5 µg/m³ TWA; 2.5 µg/m³ Action Level
ACGIH (TLV) 0.01 mg/m³ TWA; 0.002 mg/m³ - Respirable Fraction (see Appendix C, paragraph C) TWA; Appendix A2 - Suspected Human Carcinogen
NIOSH (REL) Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens; (REL applies to all Cadmium compounds as Cd)
Iron Oxide Fume
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 10 mg/m³ TWA; 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table
for Construction Industry: 10 mg/m³ TWA; 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
for Maritime: 10 mg/m³ TWA; 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
ACGIH (TLV) 5 mg/m³ TWA; Respirable Fraction; see Appendix C, Paragraph C. Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen
NIOSH (REL) 5 mg/m³ TWA
Zinc Oxide Fume
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 5 mg/m³ TWA; 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table
for Construction Industry: 5 mg/m³ TWA; 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
for Maritime: 5 µg/m³ TWA; 5 mg/m³ TWA; 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
ACGIH (TLV) 2 mg/m³ TWA; 10 mg/m³ STEL - Respirable fraction; see Appendix C, paragraph C
NIOSH (REL) 5 mg/m³ TWA; 10 mg/m³ STEL
Aluminum Oxide Fume
ACGIH (TLV) 5 mg/m³ TWA
NIOSH (REL) 5 mg/m³ TWA
Beryllium Fume
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 2mg/m³ TWA; 5 mg/m³ Ceiling (not to be exceeded for more than 30 min at a time); 25 mg/m³ Peak - NEVER to exceed
for Construction Industry: 2mg/m³ TWA; 5 mg/m³ Ceiling (not to be exceeded for more than 30 min at a time); 25 mg/m³ Peak-NEVER to exceed
for Maritime: 2mg/m³ TWA; 5 mg/m³ Ceiling (not to be exceeded for more than 30 min at a time); 25 mg/m³ Peak-NEVER to exceed
Reference: OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin for Beryllium
ACGIH (TLV) 0.05 mg/m³ TWA
Mercury Vapor
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 0.1 mg/m³ Ceiling
for Construction Industry: 0.1 mg/m³ Ceiling
for Maritime: 0.1 mg/m³ Ceiling
ACGIH (TLV) 0.025 mg/m³ TWA for a normal 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek and considers mercury vapor an A4 substance (not classifiable as a human carcinogen). The ACGIH also assigns a "Skin" notation to mercury vapor.
NIOSH (REL) 0.05 mg/m³ TWA for up to a 10-hour workday and up to a 40-hour workweek. NIOSH also assigns a "Skin" notation, which indicates that the cutaneous route of exposure, including mucous membranes and eyes, contributes to overall exposure.
Manganese Fume
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 5 mg/m³ Ceiling (PEL listed under Manganese Compounds and Manganese Fume as Mn]; 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table
for Construction Industry: 5 mg/m³ Ceiling (PEL listed under Manganese Compounds and Manganese Fume as Mn); 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
for Maritime: 5 mg/m³ Ceiling (PEL listed under Manganese Compounds and Manganese Fume as Mn); 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
ACGIH (TLV) 0.2 mg/m³ (TLV listed under Manganese and Inorganic Compounds, as Mn)
NIOSH (REL) 1 mg/m³ TWA; Appendix D - Substances with No Established RELs
(TWA=Time-weighted average; TLV=Threshold Limit Value; PEL=Personal Exposure Limit, REL=Recommended Exposure Limit, STEL=Short Term Exposure Limit; IDLH=Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health concentration)