Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1982;8 suppl 1:117-121    pdf

Respiratory status of stainless steel and mild steel welders.

by Kalliomaki PL, Kalliomaki K, Korhonen O, Nordman H, Rahkonen E, Vaaranen V

Eighty-three full-time stainless steel and 29 mild steel welders from one shipyard were examined clinically, and their lung function was measured. The stainless steel welders had used both tungsten inert-gas (low-fume concentration) and manual metal-arc (MMA) (high-fume concentration) welding methods. The individual exposure of the welders was estimated based on the time spent doing MMA welding, the amount of retained contaminants in the lungs (magnetopulmography), and urinary chromium excretion. The results suggest that there is a greater prevalence of small airway disease among shipyard mild steel MMA welders than among stainless steel welders. Among the stainless steel welders the impairment of lung function parameters was associated with the MMA welding method. The type of welding, then, is important when the health hazards of welders are studied, and welders cannot be regarded as a single, homogeneous group.