Studies support increased risks of welding fume being a cause of lung cancer for welders and employees in the workplace.
A recent evaluation by IARC shares welding fumes and UV radiation from welding are classified as carcinogenic (Group 1).
The carcinogenicity of welding fume was re-evaluated. Weld fume and UV radiation from welding are now classified as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1) by the IARC. The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization. Learn more
When metals are heated above the melting point, they condense and vaporize into unhealthy and dangerous fumes. Capturing the fume before it enters the breathing zone is a way to give protection to welders and other employees working in the environment. Its very important to use fume extraction equipment and other personal protection equipment help to minimize the health risks that are involved with welding.
Evidence supports welding fume can cause lung cancer and limited evidence supports possibly kidney cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a special division of the World Health Organization, evaluated the carcinogenicity of fumes, molybdenum trioxide and indium tin oxide found when welding. In 1989 scientists classified the fume as being ‘possibly carcinogenic’, but the group of scientists that met at the IARC last year concluded that there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that welding fume causes lung cancer and there is ‘limited evidence‘ for kidney cancer.
Most studies support increased risks of lung cancer in welders and other workers exposed over time. While asbestos exposure and tobacco smoking are also potential risks for welders, these factors do not account for the excessive lung cancer risk among welders. The results persisted after adjusting the data for smoking, asbestos exposure or both.
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