It was shown previously that fumes generated from stainless steel (SS) welding induced more pneumotoxicity and were cleared from the lungs at a slower rate than fumes collected from mild steel (MS) welding. These differences in response may be attributed to the metal composition of SS and MS welding fumes. In this study, fumes with vastly different metal profiles were collected during gas metal arc (GMA) or flux-covered manual metal arc (MMA) welding using two different consumable electrodes, SS or MS. The collected samples were suspended in saline, incubated for 24 h at 37 C, and centrifuged. The supernatant (soluble components) and pellets (insoluble particulates) were separated, and their effects on lung macrophage viability and the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by macrophages were examined in vitro. The soluble MMA-SS sample was shown to be the most cytotoxic to macrophages and to have the greatest effect on their function as compared to the GMA-SS and GMA-MS fumes. Neither the soluble nor insoluble forms of the GMA-MS sample had any marked effect on macrophage viability. The flux-covered MMA-SS fume was found to be much more water soluble as compared to either the GMA-SS or the GMA-MS fumes. The soluble fraction of the MMA-SS samples was comprised almost entirely of Cr. The small fraction of the GMA-MS sample that was soluble contained Mn with little Fe, while a more complex mixture was observed in the soluble portion of the GMA-SS sample, which contained Mn, Ni, Fe, Cr, and Cu. Data show that differences in the solubility of welding fumes influence the viability and ROS production of macrophages. The presence of soluble metals, such as Fe, Cr, Ni, Cu, and Mn, and the complexes formed by these different metals are likely important in the pulmonary responses observed after welding fume exposure.
Welding; Welders-lung; Welding-industry; Welders; Steel-industry; Stainless-steel; Fumes; Inhalation-studies; In-vitro-study; Statistical-analysis; Lung-disease; Lung-disorders; Lung-irritants; Pulmonary-congestion; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Laboratory-animals; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Metal-fumes; Metal-dusts; Metal-poisoning; Metal-industry-workers; Metallic-dusts; Metallic-fumes; Metallic-poisons; Metallic-poisoning