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Short-term inhalation exposure to mild steel welding fume had no effect on lung inflammation and injury but did alter defense responses to bacteria in rats.

Antonini-JM; Roberts-JR; Stone-S; Chen-BT; Schwegler-Berry-D; Frazer-DG
Inhal Toxicol 2009 Feb; 21(3):182-192
Many workers worldwide are continually exposed to complex aerosols generated from welding processes. The objective was to assess the effect of inhalation exposure to mild steel (MS) welding fume on lung injury, inflammation, and defense responses. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to MS fume at a concentration of 40 mg/m3 3 h/day 3 or 10 days using a robotic welding fume generator. Controls were exposed to filtered air. To assess lung defense responses, a group of animals were intratracheally inoculated with 5 104 Listeria monocytogenes 1 day after the last daily exposure. Welding particles were collected during exposure, and chemical composition and particle size were determined. After exposure, lung injury, inflammation, and host defense (bacterial clearance) were measured. The particles were composed of iron (80.6 %) and manganese (14.7 %) with a mass median aerodynamic diameter of 0.31 µ m. No significant difference was observed in lung injury or inflammation after MS fume inhalation at 1, 4, and 11 days after the last exposure. However, there were significantly more bacteria at 3 days after infection in the lungs of the animals exposed to MS fume compared to air controls. Acute exposure of rats to MS fume had no effect on injury and inflammation, but suppressed lung defense responses after infection. More chronic inhalation studies are needed to further examine the immune effects and to elucidate the possible mechanisms of the suppressed lung defense response to infection associated with the inhalation of MS welding fume.
Aerosol-generators; Aerosols; Inhalation-studies; Particulates; Respirable-dust; Fumes; Welding-industry; Laboratory-animals; Laboratory-testing; Airborne-particles; Airborne-dusts; Air-treatment; Pulmonary-function-tests; Lung-irritants; Pulmonary-system-disorders
James M. Antonini, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Mailstop 2015, Morgantown, WV 26505
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Manufacturing
Source Name
Inhalation Toxicology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division