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Hexavalent chromium exposure and control in welding tasks.
J Occup Environ Hyg. 2010 Nov; 7(11):607-15.JO

Abstract

Studies of exposure to the lung carcinogen hexavalent chromium (CrVI) from welding tasks are limited, especially within the construction industry where overexposure may be common. In addition, despite the OSHA requirement that the use of engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation (LEV) first be considered before relying on other strategies to reduce worker exposure to CrVI, data on the effectiveness of LEV to reduce CrVI exposures from welding are lacking. The goal of the present study was to characterize breathing zone air concentrations of CrVI during welding tasks and primary contributing factors in four datasets: (1) OSHA compliance data; (2) a publicly available database from The Welding Institute (TWI); (3) field survey data of construction welders collected by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR); and (4) controlled welding trials conducted by CPWR to assess the effectiveness of a portable LEV unit to reduce CrVI exposure. In the OSHA (n = 181) and TWI (n = 124) datasets, which included very few samples from the construction industry, the OSHA permissible exposure level (PEL) for CrVI (5 μg/m(3)) was exceeded in 9% and 13% of samples, respectively. CrVI concentrations measured in the CPWR field surveys (n = 43) were considerably higher, and 25% of samples exceeded the PEL. In the TWI and CPWR datasets, base metal, welding process, and LEV use were important predictors of CrVI concentrations. Only weak-to-moderate correlations were found between total particulate matter and CrVI, suggesting that total particulate matter concentrations are not a good surrogate for CrVI exposure in retrospective studies. Finally, in the controlled welding trials, LEV reduced median CrVI concentrations by 68% (p = 0.02). In conclusion, overexposure to CrVI in stainless steel welding is likely widespread, especially in certain operations such as shielded metal arc welding, which is commonly used in construction. However, exposure could be substantially reduced with proper use of LEV.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA. meekerj@umich.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

20845207

Citation

Meeker, John D., et al. "Hexavalent Chromium Exposure and Control in Welding Tasks." Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, vol. 7, no. 11, 2010, pp. 607-15.
Meeker JD, Susi P, Flynn MR. Hexavalent chromium exposure and control in welding tasks. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2010;7(11):607-15.
Meeker, J. D., Susi, P., & Flynn, M. R. (2010). Hexavalent chromium exposure and control in welding tasks. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 7(11), 607-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2010.510105
Meeker JD, Susi P, Flynn MR. Hexavalent Chromium Exposure and Control in Welding Tasks. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2010;7(11):607-15. PubMed PMID: 20845207.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Hexavalent chromium exposure and control in welding tasks. AU - Meeker,John D, AU - Susi,Pam, AU - Flynn,Michael R, PY - 2010/9/17/entrez PY - 2010/9/17/pubmed PY - 2010/12/21/medline SP - 607 EP - 15 JF - Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene JO - J Occup Environ Hyg VL - 7 IS - 11 N2 - Studies of exposure to the lung carcinogen hexavalent chromium (CrVI) from welding tasks are limited, especially within the construction industry where overexposure may be common. In addition, despite the OSHA requirement that the use of engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation (LEV) first be considered before relying on other strategies to reduce worker exposure to CrVI, data on the effectiveness of LEV to reduce CrVI exposures from welding are lacking. The goal of the present study was to characterize breathing zone air concentrations of CrVI during welding tasks and primary contributing factors in four datasets: (1) OSHA compliance data; (2) a publicly available database from The Welding Institute (TWI); (3) field survey data of construction welders collected by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR); and (4) controlled welding trials conducted by CPWR to assess the effectiveness of a portable LEV unit to reduce CrVI exposure. In the OSHA (n = 181) and TWI (n = 124) datasets, which included very few samples from the construction industry, the OSHA permissible exposure level (PEL) for CrVI (5 μg/m(3)) was exceeded in 9% and 13% of samples, respectively. CrVI concentrations measured in the CPWR field surveys (n = 43) were considerably higher, and 25% of samples exceeded the PEL. In the TWI and CPWR datasets, base metal, welding process, and LEV use were important predictors of CrVI concentrations. Only weak-to-moderate correlations were found between total particulate matter and CrVI, suggesting that total particulate matter concentrations are not a good surrogate for CrVI exposure in retrospective studies. Finally, in the controlled welding trials, LEV reduced median CrVI concentrations by 68% (p = 0.02). In conclusion, overexposure to CrVI in stainless steel welding is likely widespread, especially in certain operations such as shielded metal arc welding, which is commonly used in construction. However, exposure could be substantially reduced with proper use of LEV. SN - 1545-9632 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/20845207/Hexavalent_chromium_exposure_and_control_in_welding_tasks_ L2 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15459624.2010.510105 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -