The hazards of industrial welding go far beyond the traditional fears of being burned or blinded. There is a much more dangerous aspect to the craft. Each time a welder's torch cuts into a metal, the toxic fumes generated can pose a deadly threat to the welder and anyone else in the immediate area. If inhaled, the fumes can cause serious, and in some cases irreparable, damage to the lungs and overall health.
In many instances, the welding rod itself is the culprit. Some are made of cadmium and will produce fumes which pose a carcinogenic risk
to anyone inhaling them. Just as dangerous is welding into old metal that has paint or oil-solvents on it. Gasses emitted from welding include nitrogen dioxide
, ozone, and fluorides. All have the potential to cause great damage to the respiratory system. However, the greatest threat posed could come from the element manganese
. Found in stainless and carbon steels and in welding rods, manganese has been linked to Parkinson's disease
for well over a century.
Ventilation and respiratory protection are the keys to avoiding risks associated with diseases like Parkinson's. From the shipyard to the backyard, any welder (professional or amateur) should insure he is working in a highly ventilated space and is provided the proper inhalation protective equipment.In October 2003, an Illinois jury awarded $1 million to a 65-year-old man who claimed he developed Parkinson's disease from years of using welding rods. The jury ruled that welding rod manufacturers were responsible for Larry Elam's injuries because they failed to warn him about potential health problems associated with the dangerous tools. The victory was the first in 10 such trials. Analysts expect the number of welding rod claims to rise significantly in 2004 as Elam's victory may spur more litigation.
If you have suffered serious side effects from a welding rod, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Workplace Injuries & Discrimination: Overview
- Lung & Airway Disorders
- Parkinson's Disease: Overview