101 Biological effects of copper and zinc containing welding fumes after controlled exposure of humans

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Abstract

Introduction

Copper and zinc containing welding fumes are suspected to induce inflammatory reactions, which, in humans, may result in metal fume fever. In a series of studies, early reactions of such welding fumes were investigated.

Methods

Exposures were performed in the Aachen Workplace Simulation Lab. 15 healthy male subjects were exposed for 6 hours to average welding fume mass concentrations up to 2.5 mg m-3. Welding fumes resulted from Metal-Inert-Gas brazing of zinc coated steel using copper welding wire or resistance spot welding of zinc-coated steel. Inflammatory markers were measured in the blood or in nasal secretions prior to exposure, directly after or 24–29 hours after exposure.

Results

The main results of these studies were:

Discussion

Since increases of CRP, SAA, and IL-6 indicate an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, exposure to zinc and copper containing welding fumes may have to be considered for the prevention of work related cardiovascular disease. Future studies should investigate, if the observed inflammatory reaction persists after repeated exposure

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