Welders are exposed to airborne particles from the welding environment and often develop symptoms work-related from the airways. A large fraction of the particles from welding are in the nano-size range. In this study we investigate if the welders' airways are affected by exposure to particles derived from gas metal arc welding in mild steel in levels corresponding to a normal welding day.
In an exposure chamber, 11 welders with and 10 welders without work-related symptoms from the lower airways and 11 non-welders without symptoms, were exposed to welding fumes (1 mg/m3) and to filtered air, respectively, in a double-blind manner. Symptoms from eyes and upper and lower airways and lung function were registered. Blood and nasal lavage (NL) were sampled before, immediately after and the morning after exposure for analysis of markers of oxidative stress. Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) for analysis of leukotriene B4 (LT-B4) was sampled before, during and immediately after exposure.
No adverse effects of welding exposure were found regarding symptoms and lung function. However, EBC LT-B4 decreased significantly in all participants after welding exposure compared to filtered air. NL IL-6 increased immediately after exposure in the two non-symptomatic groups and blood neutrophils tended to increase in the symptomatic welder group. The morning after, neutrophils and serum IL-8 had decreased in all three groups after welding exposure. Remarkably, the symptomatic welder group had a tenfold higher level of EBC LT-B4 compared to the two groups without symptoms.
Despite no clinical adverse effects at welding, changes in inflammatory markers may indicate subclinical effects even at exposure below the present Swedish threshold limit (8 h TWA respirable dust).
Cites: Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol. 1973;45(1):57-604580380
The Swedish Navy has operated submarines equipped with air independent propulsion for two decades. This type of submarine can stay submerged for periods far longer than other non-nuclear submarines are capable of. The air quality during longer periods of submersion has so far not been thoroughly investigated. This study presents results for a number of air quality parameters obtained during more than one week of continuous submerged operation. The measured parameters are pressure, temperature, relative humidity, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and microbiological contaminants. The measurements of airborne particles demonstrate that air pollutants typically occur at a low baseline level due to high air exchange rates and efficient air-cleaning devices. However, short-lived peaks with comparatively high concentrations occur, several of the sources for these have been identified. The concentrations of the pollutants measured in this study do not indicate a build-up of hazardous compounds during eight days of submersion. It is reasonable to assume that a substantial build-up of the investigated contaminants is not likely if the submersion period is prolonged several times, which is the case for modern submarines equipped with air independent propulsion.