Studies support increased risks of lung cancer for welders and employees.
In the recent evaluation by IARC welding fumes and UV radiation from welding have been classified as carcinogenic (Group 1).
The carcinogenicity of welding fumes was re-evaluated and welding fumes 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 welding fumes. Welding fumes are unhealthy and dangerous. Capturing the fume before it enters the breathing zone is a way to give protection to welders and other employees working in the environment. The use of fume extraction equipment and 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 welding fumes, molybdenum trioxide and indium tin oxide. In 1989 scientists classified welding fumes as being ‘possibly carcinogenic’, but the group of scientists that met at the IARC last year concluded that there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that welding fumes cause lung cancer and there is ‘limited evidence‘ for kidney cancer.
Most studies support increased risks of lung cancer in welders and other workers that are exposed to welding fumes. 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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