2020 Welding Fume Update — The Current State of Play

AWS Pty Ltd

Monday, 11 November, 2019


If you are involved in the welding industry, the new 2020 Welding Fume Update released by AWS is a must read. The Welding Fume Update takes a closer look at a 2019 study on welding fume and lung cancer that pulled together data from over 60 years of research and over 16 million people worldwide. The Welding Fume Update summarises this information into an easy to read eight-page document so that welders and those who employ welders in Australia and New Zealand can make better decisions regarding welding fume and respiratory protection.

As you are likely aware, in 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified welding fume from ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’, as was its position from 1989, to ‘carcinogenic to humans’. The reclassification of welding fume by the IARC was qualitative in nature and was the result of a systematic review of all available literature published on the subject. The recent statistical analysis on welding fume and lung cancer published in 2019, instead quantifies the risk of lung cancer, and explores exposure and effect associations.

The two studies, qualitative and quantitative, taken together send a clear and important message to welders and those who employ welders in Australia and New Zealand. Recognising welding fume as carcinogenic and the increased lung cancer risk faced by welders should encourage the welding industry to introduce or reassess control measures to better protect their workers.

As well as reviewing the major conclusions of the 2019 welding fume study, the Welding Fume Update also explores: “How workplace exposure standards work in Australia and New Zealand”, “How this study changes what we already know about welding fume”, “What you can do as an employer of welders”, “What you can do as a welder” and “What respiratory PPE should be worn by welders”.

Download the 2020 Welding Fume Update for Free here: https://www.awsi.com.au/welding-safety-white-papers

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/kerkezz

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