Choose the correct fume extraction equipment for welding and fabricating with stainless steel. This can protect you from the dangers and health impacts of hexavalent chromium which is primarily related to welding with stainless steel.
We recommend the MFS (SELF-CLEANING FILTER) be ordered with a high efficiency MERV 16 rated unit for use when welding with stainless steel. The MFS is designed to meet more stringent local air filtration quality standards suitable for welding with stainless steel. Alternatively, the MFD is a mobile fume extractor with disposable filters. The MFD can also be ordered with high efficiency filters.
The MFS must be ordered with a high efficiency filter
A high efficiency filter cartridge is required in applications fabricating stainless steel. The use of a flexible extraction arm is a good method of removing dangerous fumes and dust when working on small or medium size objects. When the extraction arm is properly placed while welding it assists in the removal of fine particulates and hexavalent chrome dust before it enters the breathing zone and lands on materials in the shop environment.
Fume extractors for welding stainless steel
Welding stainless requires a fume extractor with a high efficiency MERV 16 filter. The following mobile fume extractors can be ordered with this specification:
- MFD – mobile fume extractor (disposable filter)
- MFS – mobile fume extractor (self-cleaning filter)
- MobilePro – mobile fume extractor (available with HEPA after filters)
For workshops or environments where floor space is limited, we also have stationary fume extractors with high efficiency MERV 16 filters:
- SFD – stationary fume extractor (disposable filter)
- SFS – stationary fume extractor (self-cleaning filter)
Welding stainless steel produces what gas?
Chromium 6 Cr(VI), or hexavalent chromium is a hazardous form of chromium produced during welding or grinding of stainless steel. Oxidized metal produces fume with hazardous hexavalent chromium. It can be inhaled or swallowed, it can also be penetrated by the skin and is proven to cause diseases.
Risks of metal coatings and hexavalent chromium
Metal coatings make the composition of welding fume more dangerous. Whether welding indoor or outdoors, it is important to use the correct weld fume extraction equipment to capture the fume before it enters the breathing zone. A recent news release from our Plymovent head office talks of the dangers of hexavalent chromium highlighting health risks much greater than previously thought.
Ingredients in coatings expose the welder to a variety of compositions and health risks which can lead to physical complaints and serious diseases. Hexavalent chromium in welding fumes is not only found in paints and coatings, but also in types of welding fumes that involve welding with chromium metal. Chromium metal is used in many steel alloys to harden the material to make it more resistant to corrosion.
The health impacts of hexavalent chromium in welding fumes include targeting the respiratory system, liver, kidneys, skin, nose and eyes. It is also known to be a cause of cancer and COPD¹.
Exposure to hexavalent chromium in welding fume is primarily associated with welding stainless steel. This can effect professionals in the metal working industry. Welders, fabricators and workers who work directly cutting, grinding and sanding chromium metal risk the worse effect. Also forklift drivers, maintenance workers and team leaders. Workers involved in construction work, the transportation sector, military and shipyards could all be impacted as well. Anyone in the work space can be impacted.
Provide clean air for all in the workplace environment.
Learn more from Plymovent
Please read our Plymovent article here to learn more about the dangerous health hazards of exposure to hexavalent chrome. For more information on how to properly place an extraction arm, please read our Plymovent article here.