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Comparison of stainless and mild steel welding fumes in generation of reactive oxygen species.

Leonard SS; Chen BT; Stone SG; Schwegler-Berry D; Kenyon AJ; Frazer D; Antonini JM
Part Fibre Toxicol 2010 Nov; 7:32
Background: Welding fumes consist of a wide range of complex metal oxide particles which can be deposited in all regions of the respiratory tract. The welding aerosol is not homogeneous and is generated mostly from the electrode/wire. Over 390,000 welders were reported in the U. S. in 2008 while over 1 million full-time welders were working worldwide. Many health effects are presently under investigation from exposure to welding fumes. Welding fume pulmonary effects have been associated with bronchitis, metal fume fever, cancer and functional changes in the lung. Our investigation focused on the generation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species from stainless and mild steel welding fumes generated by a gas metal arc robotic welder. An inhalation exposure chamber located at NIOSH was used to collect the welding fume particles. Results: Our results show that hydroxyl radicals [.OH] were generated from reactions with H2O2 and after exposure to cells. Catalase reduced the generation of .OH from exposed cells indicating the involvement of H2O2. The welding fume suspension also showed the ability to cause lipid peroxidation, effect O-2 consumption, induce H2O2 generation in cells, and cause DNA damage. Conclusion: Increase in oxidative damage observed in the cellular exposures correlated well with .OH generation in size and type of welding fumes, indicating the influence of metal type and transition state on radical production as well as associated damage. Our results demonstrate that both types of welding fumes are able to generate ROS and ROS-related damage over a range of particle sizes; however, the stainless steel fumes consistently showed a significantly higher reactivity and radical generation capacity. The chemical composition of the steel had a significant impact on the ROS generation capacity with the stainless steel containing Cr and Ni causing more damage than the mild steel. Our results suggest that welding fumes may cause acute lung injury. Since type of fume generated, particle size, and elapsed time after generation of the welding exposure are significant factors in radical generation and particle deposition these factors should be considered when developing protective strategies.
Biological-effects; Biological-factors; Biological-monitoring; Cell-biology; Cytotoxic-effects; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Fumes; Inhalation-studies; Lung-cells; Particle-aerodynamics; Particulates; Physiological-effects; Physiological-response; Quantitative-analysis; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-irritants; Statistical-analysis; Welders; Welding-industry; Work-environment; Worker-health; Work-performance; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Welding; Stainless-steel; Lipid-peroxidation; Hydroxyl-groups; Metal-oxides
Stephen S. Leonard, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
7440-47-3; 7440-02-0
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Particle and Fibre Toxicology
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division