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    Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 43.

    July 25, 2019

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 43:
    Welding Fume: A Known Carcinogen.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 43:
    Welding Fume: A Known Carcinogen.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 43:
    Welding Fume: A Known Carcinogen.


    In this episode Terry Gorman, 3M’s Occupational Hygienist for the Personal Safety Division in Australia and New Zealand joins us to discuss welding fume…a known carcinogen.

    In early 2017, welding fume was reclassified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) from a classification of Group 2B, possibly carcinogenic to humans, to Group 1, Carcinogenic to humans. This change was mostly related to the effects of UV exposure on the skin and eyes, for lung cancers and limited evidence for kidney cancer, from welding fume exposures.




    Guest Bio:

    Terry Gorman (pictured left) is a Certified Occupational Hygienist who has been involved in workplace safety for nearly 30 years. He has worked for 3M Australia and New Zealand in the Personal Safety Division for 18 years.

    Terry is a current member of the Australian/New Zealand Standard Committees responsible for respiratory protection (AS/NZS 1715 & 1716) as well as the Eye/Face Protection Standards Committee (AS/NZS 1337 & 1338).

    He currently represents Standards Australia on the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Committee TC94/SC15, a team of international specialists creating a set of global respiratory standards.

    LinkedIn Profile


    In this episode, Mark & Terry discuss the following:

    • In 2017 there was a reclassification of welding fume by the IARC, can you explain what happened here?
    • What does this new classification mean for Australian workplaces?
    • Is there a way to reduce the amount of welding fumes being produced when welding? Do the different types of welding affect this?
    • What is actually in welding fumes? Does it make a difference in regards to what metal you are welding?
    • What are the workplace exposure standards for welding fumes and some of the contaminants that may be present in them?
    • How would a workplace determine how much welding fume and other contaminants their welders may be getting exposed to?
    • In light of the recent IARC reclassification, has the Australian exposure standard been revised?
    • If Australian welders are operating under the exposure standards are they safe?
    • How do the Australian exposure standards stack up to the rest of the world?
    • If I am an Australian workplace with welding operations, what can I do to protect my welders from this known carcinogen?
    • What welding fume controls should a workplace be thinking about based on the hierarchy of control?
    • Where can workplaces go to get more information around welding hazards and welding controls?

    The reclassification of welding fume by the IARC as a known carcinogen authenticates concerns related to the dangers posed by long-term workplace exposures and the potential for cancers occurring decades later. The agency concluded that there is “sufficient evidence in humans” that welding fumes cause lung cancer and workers who are regularly subjected to them have an increased incidence of lung cancer and pneumonia related to lifelong cumulative exposure, along with mounting evidence that welding fumes increase the risk of welders developing kidney cancer. Based on this reclassification, what can be done to protect welders from this known carcinogen? Tune in as we discuss this issue and look at the exposure standards and control measures required to safeguard our welders from this hazardous fume.


    Additional Resources:

    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information.