Manganese and welding fume exposure and control in construction.
Meeker JD; Susi P; Flynn MR
J Occup Environ Hyg 2007 Dec; 4(12):943-951
Overexposure to welding fume constituents, particularly manganese, is of concern in the construction industry due to the prevalence of welding and the scarcity of engineering controls. The control effectiveness of a commercially available portable local exhaust ventilation (LEV) unit was assessed. It consisted of a portable vacuum and a small bell-shaped hood connected by a flexible 2 inch (50.8 mm) diameter hose, in both experimental and field settings. The experimental testing was done in a semi-enclosed booth at a pipefitter training facility. Five paired trials of LEV control vs. no control, each approximately 1 hr in duration and conducted during two successive welds of 6 inch (152.4 mm) diameter carbon steel pipe were run in random order. Breathing zone samples were collected outside the welding hood during each trial. In the field scenario, full-shift breathing zone samples were collected from two pipefitters welding carbon steel pipe for a chiller installation on a commercial construction project. Eight days of full-shift sampling were conducted on both workers (n = 16), and the LEV was used by one of the two workers on an alternating basis for 7 of the days. All samples were collected with personal sample pumps calibrated at 2 L/min. Filter cassettes were analyzed for total particulate and manganese concentration by a certified laboratory. In the experimental setting, use of the portable LEV resulted in a 75% reduction in manganese exposure (mean 13 microg/m3 vs. 51 microg/m3; p < 0.05) and a 60% reduction in total particulate (mean 0.74 mg/m3 vs. 1.83 mg/m3; p < 0.05). In the field setting, LEV use resulted in a 53% reduction in manganese exposure (geometric mean 46 microg/m3 vs. 97 microg/m3; p < 0.05) but only a 10% reduction in total particulate (geometric mean 4.5 mg/m3 vs. 5.0 mg/m3; p > 0.05). These results demonstrate that LEV use can reduce manganese exposure associated with welding tasks in construction.
Welders; Welding; Welding-equipment; Manganese-compounds; Fumes; Construction-industry; Occupational-exposure; Exhaust-ventilation; Breathing-zone; Air-sampling; Particulates; Exposure-assessment; Control-equipment;
Author Keywords: construction; exposure control; local exhaust ventilation; manganese; welding
Pam Susi, 169 Crown Prince Drive, Marlton, NJ 08053
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, Maryland