Category: Welding Fume Hazards
Environment, Health & Safety
The valency states of chromium, including trivalent and hexavalent chromium are outlined. The valency, (oxidation state), of chromium, as an alloying constituent of stainless steels, is 0, (zero). The chromium in solid stainless steels should not be regarded as a health hazard, but care should be taken with the fumes from welding stainless steels.
Both flux- and gas-shielded processes for welding stainless steels generate fume. So does plasma arc cutting. Fume consists of both particles and gases, including ozone. Concerns that fume, particularly particles containing hexavalent chromium, is a cause of cancer have not been supported by extensive studies, although there is a slight excess of lung cancers among all welders. Therefore it is sensible to limit contact with welding fume and there are statutory requirements.
This technical paper by Dr Mike Fletcher, Metallurgical and Welding Consultant to Huntingdon Fusion Techniques Ltd, explores the development in the composition of electrodes used in the GTAW, (TIG), process. He concludes that refractory oxide doping is beneficial, in particular lanthana and ceria.
The Third Edition of Safe Use of Nickel in the Workplace was released in May 2008 to inform
downstream users of nickel about the anticipated outcome of the European Nickel Risk
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