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Old 06-13-2017, 08:20 AM
GeorgeG93 GeorgeG93 is offline
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Default Breathing in Mig fumes and abrasives question

Hi guys hoping to get some second opinions on some health related aspects of mig welding and general body repair. Basically I'm wondering if other people get sick like I do from inhaling mig welding fumes and dust particles from flap discs and abrasives, even when the metal has been cleaned as much as possible to remove paints, primers, chemicals etc. I've gone to the lengths of buying a face mask which helps a lot and having a fan nearby to increase fresh airflow helps too, but no one else I know takes these measures and I don't know if it's just me that's affected like this.
My symptoms when affected are:

Feeling thirsty
Inability to sleep easily
Clouded thinking
Lethargy

I'm particularly affected by galvanized metals which I rarely work on, it gives off this thin, opaque but wispy white smoke, if I go anywhere near that I'm in for feeling rough for a couple of days. There is a primer on some sheet metal that I sometimes have to use, that also gives off similar smoke and has similar effects but it's not galvanized that's for sure. I always do as much as I can to get all possible coatings off metals.

When I first started serious welding 2 years ago, it was on a monster weldathon on a Ford Transit that was literally 6 months of weekends welding, and during that time I (naively) didn't use any real body protection other than a welding mask and goggles, and since then I seem to have had these adverse reactions to welding fumes which I never remember having before. I'm unsure if my condition was caused by all that unprotected welding or if it's just a normal thing that I'm affected by, which I'd much prefer as I'm concerned that I've just breathed in too many nasty fumes from paint, under seal, rust and welding in the past and I've made myself extra sensitive to it.

Does anyone else regularly go to such lengths to protect themselves from working?

Many thanks
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:49 AM
zekeymonkey zekeymonkey is offline
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None of these fumes are good for you and can cause different health issues depending on your exposure level and how sensitive your body is. Sometimes it's just allergies, but other issues can be caused too. Galvanized is particularly bad for you and can cause metal fume fever.

Most of us should probably have better ventilation and personal protection when welding and grinding. How many of us have blown our nose and black grime comes out from grinding? As I've gotten older, I've gotten better, but still not good, about wearing a mask when grinding. I've even been considering buying a PAPR welding helmet since I've found that I get a headache and a stuffy nose after welding for more than a few minutes.
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:12 AM
Gareth Davies Gareth Davies is offline
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The nausea you feel is caused by ozone (O3 - unstable oxygen) created during the welding process. I'd recommend an air fed welding screen and to get one that will allow you to use it as a grinding screen. There is no harm in taking extra precautions with your health as you only get one shot at it. I've known people in the past who flatly refused to weld anything that was galvanised, even out in the open. Welding fumes are nasty anyway without breathing in a load of toxic zinc fumes. Don't be put off by people who tell you they aren't affected by it - I've worked for an idiot who told me that I was being fussy when I used to feel sick - it's your health, look after it!
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:51 AM
crystallographic crystallographic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeG93 View Post
I'm wondering if other people get sick like I do from inhaling mig welding fumes and dust particles from flap discs and abrasives,

I don't know if it's just me that's affected like this.

I'm particularly affected by galvanized metals

since then I seem to have had these adverse reactions to welding fumes which I never remember having before.

Does anyone else regularly go to such lengths to protect themselves from working?

Many thanks
Hi George,

We are indestructible until we aren't.

Sensitivity increases with exposure.

Galvanized will give you "zinc chills" if you breathe the smoke from welding it. Drink lots of milk to neutralize it.

Wear good breathing protection, good enough that you cannot smell the smoke from burning primers, or solvents.

Take the precautions now, even when those around you have not learned the life lessons, yet.

Stay healthy, for youthful vigor does not last forever.
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:04 AM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
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Your body does change, including sensitivity to various substances. Listen to it.

Air screen, air supply respirator, proper air filter/mask (fume and/or particulate rated- not all are equivalent, no matter what the ad says...), proper suction to remove fumes from the work area , protective clothing, technique and more. The folks who scoff at your concerns aren't the ones to heed.

Breathing fumes and dust is easy to consider. Don't overlook your skin and the clothing you wear. It will greatly extend exposure & contact, as well as transfer contaminants well beyond the original field of work. So when you get into your vehicle after working, the irritants puff out of your seat and it starts all over again- maybe even with the a/c cycling it endlessly in the cabin. Same thing happens when you plop down on the couch or your favorite chair at home....

It may seem like overkill, but kill is the key part of the statement. Be safe and do what you think is necessary. Knowing your limits is important. Sometimes you have to change directions and no longer do it. There's no reason to destroy your body or even your life to prove a point....

Take care.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:50 AM
Marc Bourget Marc Bourget is offline
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Just placed to rest a friend of 43+ years. Depending on the "victim", the insidious part of the warnings, above, is that onset of his COPD was delayed until after he stopped working and really "gutted" his retirement years.
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:28 PM
KAD KAD is offline
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Miller makes some really nice small welding masks with replaceable filters meant to be worn behind your welding helmet.

There pretty inexpensive and since they were made for welding might provide better protection than a generic dust filter.

They make a couple of different models for different applications and they run about $30 dollars.

Nothing beats a pressurized mask but everyone can't afford them and they can be really cumbersome to use at times.

just my .02
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