â–· Welding and cancer, what you need to know | DACAR
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Welding and cancer, what you need to know

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New scientific research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer reveals that exposure to all welding fumes carries a risk of lung cancer and it is not ruled out that it may also cause kidney cancer. The Expert Committee on Workplace Health has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.

Any exposure to welding fumes requires adequate respiratory protection. Residual fumes which are dispersed after the welding process and which will also affect personnel in the vicinity of the welding station must be taken into account.

For the welder, it is determined that for effective protection, the use of FFP3 type masks as a minimum or powered positive pressure equipment with P SL / P R SL filters is recommended.

Monitoring cancer risk will require appropriate engineering controls in all welding activities. One example is full exhaust ventilation in indoor spaces. Exhaust in turn measures exposure to manganese, a metal present in mild steel welding fume, which can cause neurological damage similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Regardless of the length of exposure time, the International Agency for Research on Cancer will not accept any welding carried out without adequate exposure control measures, including outdoor welding, as there is no known safe level of exposure.

proteger del cáncer en soldadura

Dacar has one of the most comprehensive ranges of welding fume respiratory protection equipment available. We can advise you comprehensively on the preventive measures to be taken in each particular scenario.

How to avoid welding dangers

Now that we know the dangers we face when welding, we will tell you how we can avoid them and with which products we will be the best protected as possible.

First of all, an excellent option to protect our airways are the half masks from Shigematus STS, such as the RS01 model and the RS01S with P3R filters.

The RS01 half mask is an extremely lightweight mask weighing only 105 grams, reducing the strain on the wearer’s neck. Made of TPE. 

The RS01S is slightly heavier at 140 grams, but being made of silicone it is highly resistant to high temperatures.

Both should be fitted with P3R filters, with a very narrow profile to fit under welding helmets, and with very low breathing resistance to allow the worker to work safely and comfortably.

media máscara rs01 shigematsu

P2R filters and filters for gases and vapours are also available, but for welding, we recommend P3R for greater safety.

But how do we achieve maximum safety during welding? Undoubtedly, to achieve full safety at all times, we recommend CleanAir motorised equipment, with various models available depending on the function we are going to give it and what our work is.

cleanair aergo

One of the best options available is the CleanAir AerGO Powered Air Purifying Respirator. It is compact, lightweight (less than 1kg), with ergonomic belt, very quiet and very versatile.

It has 4 air speeds (160-175-190-210 lpm) and is fitted with P R SL filters to which particulate or activated carbon pre-filters can be added for organic vapours and bad odours as well as anti-spark protection grilles.

With a total of more than 12 head unit options including lightweight hoods, face shields with or without work helmets or welding helmets, the CleanAIR AerGO offers maximum versatility of use not only for welding and related techniques but also for work with chemical products, as it also accepts other types of filters such as A1P3 or ABEP3, for working with parts that emit organic, inorganic or acid vapours or for other tasks such as painting. It also has, as an accessory, a battery to extend the time of use up to 20 hours.

This equipment has a very flexible tube that is kept next to the worker’s back. It is connected to the motor by means of a thread and to the head unit with a quick connector called QuickLOCK, so that the worker can connect and disconnect the head unit without removing his gloves.

As for the welding helmets that complement the motor-fans, we recommend the DC-1 Air and DC-2 Air helmets approved for AerGO engines in class TH3, which is the highest possible classification in terms of respiratory protection, offering a protection factor of 500 x TLV (A FFP3 mask offers a protection factor of 50 x TLV). But there are also many other options, such as the new Verus Air or Omnira Combi Air masks with folding window to combine welding and grinding work without changing the head unit, or the CA-40 model with built-in work helmet for when working in an area where the use of an EN397-approved helmet is mandatory.

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