Exposure to respirable dust and manganese and prevalence of airways symptoms, among Swedish mild steel welders in the manufacturing industry

  • Maria Hedmer
  • Jan-Eric Karlsson
  • Ulla Andersson
  • Helene Jacobsson
  • Jörn Nielsen
  • Håkan Tinnerberg
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Welding fume consists of metal fumes, e.g., manganese (Mn) and gases, e.g., ozone. Particles in the respirable dust (RD) size range dominate. Exposure to welding fume could cause short- and long-term respiratory effects. The prevalence of work-related symptoms among mild steel welders was studied, and the occupational exposure to welding fumes was quantified by repeated measurements of RD, respirable Mn, and ozone. Also the variance components were studied.

Method

A questionnaire concerning airway symptoms and occupational history was answered by 79 % of a cohort of 484 welders. A group of welders (N = 108) were selected and surveyed by personal exposure measurements of RD and ozone three times during 1 year.

Results

The welders had a high frequency of work-related symptoms, e.g., stuffy nose (33 %), ocular symptoms (28 %), and dry cough (24 %). The geometric mean exposure to RD and respirable Mn was 1.3 mg/m3 (min–max 0.1–38.3 mg/m3) and 0.08 mg/m3 (min–max <0.01–2.13 mg/m3), respectively. More than 50 % of the Mn concentrations exceeded the Swedish occupational exposure limit (OEL). Mainly, low concentrations of ozone were measured, but 2 % of the samples exceeded the OEL. Of the total variance for RD, 30 and 33 % can be attributed to within-worker variability and between-company variability, respectively.

Conclusions

Welders had a high prevalence of work-related symptom from the airways and eyes. The welders’ exposure to Mn was unacceptably high. To reduce the exposure further, control measures in the welding workshops are needed. Correct use of general mechanical ventilation and local exhaust ventilation can, for example, efficiently reduce the exposure.

Keywords

Welding Respirable dust Manganese Symptoms Occupational exposure Mild steel 

References

  1. Antonini JM (2003) Health effects of welding. Crit Rev Toxicol 33:61–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonini JM, Santamaria AB, Jenkins NT, Albini E, Lucchini R (2006) Fate of manganese associated with the inhalation of welding fumes: potential neurological effects. Neurotoxicology 27:304–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beckett WS (1996) Industries associated with respiratory diseases. In: Harber P, Schenker MB, Balmes JR (eds) Welding: occupational and environmental respiratory diseases. Mosby, St. Louis, pp 704–717Google Scholar
  4. Blomqvist A, Duzakin-Nystedt M, Ohlson CG, Andersson L, Jönsson B, Nielsen J, Welinder H (2005) Airways symptoms, immunological response and exposure in powder painting. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 78:123–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boelter FW, Simmons CE, Berman L, Scheff P (2009) Two-zone model application to breathing zone and area welding fume concentration data. J Occup Environ Hyg 6:298–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boojar MM, Goodarz F (2002) A longitudinal follow-up of pulmonary function and respiratory symptoms in workers exposed to manganese. J Occup Environ Med 44:282–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowler RM, Roels HA, Nakagawa S, Drezgic M, Diamond E, Park R et al (2007) Dose-effect relationships between manganese exposure and neurological, neuropsychological and pulmonary function in confined space bridge welders. Occup Environ Med 64:167–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Drexler H, Schaller KH, Nielsen J, Weber A, Weihrauch M, Welinder H, Skerfving S (1999) Efficacy of measures of hygiene in workers sensitised to acid anhydrides and the influence of selection bias on the results. Occup Environ Med 56:202–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ellingsen DG, Dubeikovskaya L, Dahl K, Chashchin M, Chashchin V, Zibarev E, Thomassen Y (2006) Air exposure assessment and biological monitoring of manganese and other major welding fume components in welders. J Environ Monit 8:1078–1086CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ewing W, Harris M (2005) Manganese and welding fume. The AIH Diplomate, issue 05–2Google Scholar
  11. Ferris BG (1978) Epidemiology standardization project (American thoracic society). Am Rev Respir Dis 118:1–120Google Scholar
  12. Fitsanakis VA, Au C, Erikson KM, Aschner M (2006) The effects of manganese on glutamate, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid regulation. Neurochem Int 48:426–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Flynn MR, Susi P (2010) Manganese, iron, and total particulate exposures to welders. J Occup Environ Hyg 7:115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Flynn MR, Susi P (2012) Local exhaust ventilation for the control of welding fumes in the construction industry—a literature review. Ann Occup Hyg 56:764–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Furbee B (2011) Welding and parkinsonism. Neurol Clin 29:623–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goller JW, Paik NW (1985) A comparison of iron oxide fume inside and outside of welding helmets. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 46:89–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Han D-H (2002) Correlations between workplace protection factors and fit factors for filtering facepieces in the welding workplace. Ind Health 40:328–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hobson A, Seixas N, Sterling D, Racette BS (2011) Estimation of particulate mass and manganese exposure levels among welders. Ann Occup Hyg 55:113–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. HSE (2006) Exposure measurement: air sampling. COSHH essentials general guidance G409. Health and safety executive, London. Available as http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/g409.pdf. Accessed 27 Nov 2012
  20. IARC (1990) Monographs on evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Vol. 49: chromium, nickel and welding. IARC Press, Lyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  21. Isaxon C, Dierschke K, Pagels J, Löndahl J et al (2013) A novel system for source characterization and controlled human exposure to nanoparticle aggregates generated during gas–metal arc welding. Aerosol Sci Technol 47:52–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet AB (2006) Krom och mangan vid svetsning—exponering och behov av åtgärder. IVL Rapport B1675. [Swedish Environmental Research Institute (2006) Chromium and manganese during welding–exposure and need of measures]Google Scholar
  23. Janssen LL, Nelson TJ, Cuta KT (2007) Workplace protection factors for an N95 filtering facepiece respirator. J Occup Environ Hyg 4:698–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jönsson LS, Nielsen J, Broberg K (2011) Gene expression analysis in induced sputum from welders with and without airway-related symptoms. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 84:105–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jönsson LS, Tinnerberg H, Jacobsson H, Andersson U, Axmon A, Nielsen J (2013) Exposure to particles and ocular symptoms in welders. A study of dose-response relationship. Int Arch Occup Environ Health (in preparation)Google Scholar
  26. Klos KJ, Chandler M, Kumar N, Ahlskog JE, Josephs KA (2006) Neuropsychological profiles of manganese neurotoxicity. Eur J Neurol 13:1139–1141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Korczynski RE (2000) Occupational health concerns in the welding industry. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 15:936–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Larsson B, Karlsson J-E, Nielsen J (2007) Respiratory and ocular symptoms in workers exposed to potassium aluminium-tetrafluoride soldering flux. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 80:627–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lehnert M, Pesch B, Lotz A et al (2012) Exposure to inhalable, respirable, and ultrafine particles in welding fume. Ann Occup Hyg 56:557–567Google Scholar
  30. Liu SA, Hammond SK, Rappaport SM (2011) Statistical modeling to determine sources of variability in exposures to welding fumes. Ann Occup Hyg 55:305–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meeker JD, Susi P, Flynn MR (2007) Manganese and welding fume exposure and control in construction. J Occup Environ Hyg 4:943–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nemery B (1990) Metal toxicity and the respiratory tract. Eur Respir J 3:202–219Google Scholar
  33. Peretz C, Goldberg P, Kahan E, Grady S, Goren A (1997) The variability of exposure over time: a prospective longitudinal study. Ann Occup Hyg 41:485–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rappaport SM, Weaver M, Taylor D et al (1999) Application of mixed models to assess exposures monitored by construction workers during hot processes. Ann Occup Hyg 43:457–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roels H, Lauwerys R, Buchet JP, Genet P, Sarhan MJ, Hanotiau I, de Fays M, Bernard A, Stanescu D (1987) Epidemiological survey among workers exposed to manganese: effects on lung, central nervous system, and some biological indices. Am J Ind Med 11:307–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sarić M, Piasek M (2000) Environmental exposure to manganese and combined exposure to gaseous upper respiratory irritants: mechanism of action and adverse health effects. Rev Environ Health 15:413–419Google Scholar
  37. Schoonover T, Conroy L, Lacey S, Plavka J (2011) Personal exposure to metal fume, NO2, and O3 among production welders and non-welders. Ind Health 49:63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sferlazza SJ, Beckett WS (1991) The respiratory health of welders. Am Rev Respir Dis 143:1134–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sharifian SA, Loukzadeh Z, Shojaoddiny-Ardekani A, Aminian O (2011) Pulmonary adverse effects of welding fume in automobile assembly welders. Acta Med Iran 49:98–102Google Scholar
  40. Smargiassi A, Baldwin M, Savard S, Kennedy G, Mergler D, Zayed J (2000) Assessment of exposure to manganese in welding operations during the assembly of heavy excavation machinery accessories. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 15:746–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Susi P, Goldberg M, Barnes P et al (2000) The use of a task-based exposure assessment model (T-BEAM) for assessment of metal fume exposures during welding and thermal cutting. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 15:26–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Swedish Work Environment Authority (2011) AFS 2011:18. Occupational exposure limits, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  43. Taube F (2013) Manganese in occupational arc welding fumes–aspects on physicochemical properties, with focus on solubility. Ann Occup Hyg 57:6–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Temel O, Sakar Coşkun A, Yaman N, Sarioğlu N, Alkaç C, Konyar I, Ozgen Alpaydin A, Celik P, Cengiz Ozyurt B, Keskin E, Yorgancioğlu A (2010) Occupational asthma in welders and painters. Tuberk Toraks 58:64–70Google Scholar
  45. Wallace M, Shulman S, Sheehy J (2001) Comparing exposure levels by type of welding operation and evaluating the effectiveness of fume extraction guns. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 16:771–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wambach PF (2002) Variation in exposure levels for high hazard frequently monitored agents. AIHA J 63:421–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wastensson G, Sällsten G, Bast-Pettersen R, Barregard L (2012) Neuromotor function in ship welders after cessation of manganese exposure. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 85:703–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wolf C, Pirich C, Valic E, Waldhoer T (1997) Pulmonary function and symptoms of welders. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 69:350–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zeidler-Erdely PC, Erdely A, Antonini JM (2012) Immunotoxicology of arc welding fume: worker and experimental animal studies. J Immunotoxicol 9:411–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zimmer AT, Biswas P (2001) Characterization of the aerosols resulting from arc welding processes. J Aerosol Sci 32:993–1008CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Hedmer
    • 1
  • Jan-Eric Karlsson
    • 1
  • Ulla Andersson
    • 1
  • Helene Jacobsson
    • 2
  • Jörn Nielsen
    • 1
  • Håkan Tinnerberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Laboratory MedicineLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Competence Centre for Clinical ResearchSkåne University HospitalLundSweden

Personalised recommendations