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Development of a novel robotic welding fume inhalation and exposure system.

Afshari-A; Antonini-J; Stone-S; Fletcher-G; Castranova-V; Frazer-D
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :89-90
Epidemiological studies suggest that the long-term inhalation of welding fumes may lead to lung disease, neurotoxicity, and cancer. The fume generated during the welding process has been shown to consist of ultrafine particulates (e.g., chromium and nickel) as well as gases (e.g., ozone, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide). Laboratory studies are needed to further investigate the adverse effects of exposure to welding fume. The objective of this study was to design an inhalation exposure system to be used in the evaluation of the toxicity of welding fume in rats. To ensure continuous delivery of the welding fumes without interruption of exposure, an automated computer-controlled robotic welder has been constructed. The robotic torch is combined with a programmable head stock capable of welding at a continuous rate of 30 cm/min for 6 hr/day. A flexible exhaust trunk is attached to the robotic arm and is used to collect the generated fume from the welding arc region and transport it to the animal chamber. Initial characterization studies of the fume generated with this system indicate that aerosol size characteristics (less than 1 micron) and ozone levels (0.24 ppm) are comparable with welding fumes formed in the workplace. With the development of this novel robotic welding fume generation system, we will be able to address some of the unanswered questions concerning the heath effects of welding fumes.
Welding; Welders-lung; Welding-industry; Inhalation-studies; Occupational-exposure; Epidemiology; Lung-disease; Neurotoxicity; Lung-cancer; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Laboratory-testing; Nanotechnology
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Work Environment and Workforce: Mixed Exposures
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia