Arc welding and health

Laughlin, Sherry Sherry.Laughlin at metrokc.gov
Mon Apr 1 11:19:59 EST 1996

Who better to protect your health but yourself??  I agree, unfortunately
OSHA cannot respond to all possible issues around worker safety as much
as individuals may like.   But in bringing up the issues and being
proactive you have taken a positive step towards protecting your own
health and raising the awareness of your co-workers.  To answer your
questions you may have to do your own investigative work.  Call the
manufactures of the filters you use and find out how to tell when
breakthrough occurs.  If you do not have a health and safety committee
or safety officer for your company find out why not.   Get a copy of the
federal and state ccupational health and safety regulations and look to
see if your company is following the applicable regulations for worker
protection.  Call your local chapter of Labor and Industries and ask for
informational pamphlets (free of charge) on issues of concern.   For
your chemical exposure information look at the Material Safety Data
Sheets that are required by law to accompany any chemical purchased. 
You can even call Universities that have a School of Public Health that
offers degrees in industrial hygiene (University of Washington has a
NIOSH program) for information.    I'm assuming from your comment about
your father that you are worried about meeting the same fate as he. 
Remember, there are a lot of attributable factors that can cause cancer.
 Genetics is only one.    Cigarette smoking alone is a major factor
without any industrial exposures and can increase risks greatly when
exposed to other carcinogenic compounds.  Additionally, your exposures
over your lifetime and your lifestyle will determine your own risks. 
The bottom line is the information you are looking for is probably out
there.  Hopefully this helped.

Sherry Laughlin
Safety and Environmental Compliance Specialist
Sherry.laughin at metrokc.gov
>>>From: GKandziora at ultra1.corenet.net
>>>To: toxicol at net.bio.net
>>>Subject: Arc welding and health
>>>Date: Sunday, March 31, 1996 11:26AM
>>>As a arc welder in a factory and the son of a father who died
>>>of cancer at age 58 from posible effects
>>>of smoking and PCB contamination at the factory where he
>>>worked I must say I hope someone is
>>>watching out for us. I never hear welders mentioned in health
>>>reports nor do I see employers or OSHA
>>>looking out for us. I hope if any students out there read
>>>this that if there ever was a calling its to protect
>>>the working environment from outside the company. Not as an
>>>employee. My dealings with OSHA, the
>>>EPA, and the state DNR tells me plainly that they are only
>>>doing what they must to get by, Putting it on
>>>paper is there job. Don't rock the boat. Someone should help
>>>and protect the workers from their own
>>>ignorance in health and safty matters. We work with many
>>>kinds of materials, metals, chemicals, and
>>>gases. I wear an air supplied welding helmet. What am I
>>>breathing, Is the filter breaking down, Is there
>>>Carbon dioxide comeing through. Doctors and OSHA
>>>investigators dont come around and just say hey
>>>you cant do that. No one knows except us .

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