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  • Breathing in smoke from welding...

    How bad is it to weld without a respirator or 3m disposable mask? Lets assume you were fabricating and welding for 8 hours a day minimum, so it is not constantly welding as you have to stop and measure, make cuts, line up, clamp, etc, then weld for a few minutes maybe. What about gasless flux vs dual shield flux vs MIG? Just curious under what set of circumstances you would choose to put a filter on.
    9
    I always wear a filter while welding anything in shop or outdoors
    11.11%
    1
    I never wear any type of filter regardless of in shop or outdoors
    55.56%
    5
    I only wear a filter if welding in a shop, but not outdoors
    11.11%
    1
    I just run a fan on low while indoors and never wear a filter indoors or outdoors
    22.22%
    2

  • #2
    Nobody?

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    • #3
      Only time I've ever worn a respirator was welding galvanized tube with silicon bronze. Used a speedglas hood with the air filter/pump thing. Other than that never. Use a dust mask during excessive grinding. But dust masks do nothing for welding fumes I'm pretty sure. They're for small particles not heavy metals and stuff

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      • #5
        Type of welding makes a difference............including positioning yourself to the weld zone.........w/ TIG I see no issue as with the 15 CFM of gas hitting the zone just about everything is blowing away from you and in most cases the materials are much cleaner.............Arc and MiG is a different story as most times you are welding on dirtier materials and sometimes the positioning is not the best............I do have a small fan that is battery operated and when welding in a confined place where fumes migrate back to the mask I have it on low to the side and behind and it seems to do a good job of keeping clean air in the mask...............but confined areas , and welding all day I think a fume evac system and a clean air mask should be used always............standard disposal masks are a waste of time on welding fumes.

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        • #6
          Every situation is different.

          Most TIG welding I never wear a mask. That being said, it's usually inside with a rather controlled environment and I'm generating little fumes/smoke with a gentle air current drawing stuff away from me. If it was an enclosed space then that's a different story.

          Mig welding mild steel with short arc/pulse/spray usually no mask, but also conscious of not sticking my head right above my welding. Also if I am for instance welding a lot of arc on time, like welding out some large project that has all been fit up already I might wear a mask and or introduce more aggressive exhaust. I pretty much always wear a mask when running dual shield wire or mig welding aluminum. I most ALWAYS wear a mask when I am doing a lot of grinding, sanding work on a large weldment or some frame type of build (dressing butt welds, etc)

          I don't do a lot of stick welding, but when I do, it's usually outside and I try to stay upwind of what is being welded and therefore usually don't wear a mask.

          Anything with galvanised, masks come out always. Stainless I probably should be more careful when TIG welding (hexavalent chromium) but usually ventilation seems to be adequate.

          As far as masks, I use either a 6000 series 3M half mask with P100 filters or Miller half mask with P100 (both are basically a HEPA filter)

          I'd get a hood with supplied battery powered waist filter if I was doing heavy welding every day. Other than that I've only once had to use full supplied air welding hood with area fume exhaust when doing a beryllium job.
          Last edited by xryan; 01-18-2017, 01:20 AM.
          Ryan
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          • #7
            Ok, after a lot more searching, this is what I found directly from 3M:

            "Fumes produced by basic welding of iron or steel can often be blocked by wearing a simple N95 mask such as the 3M 8212 N95 Welding Particulate Respirator or as a step up, an N99 mask such as the Moldex Premium Disposable Welding Respirator. Both of these have exhalation valves to keep the mask cool. However, these types of disposable masks are only good for simple welding.

            Once you start arc welding, the ozone created by the electrical arc produces fumes that require a more robust system of respiratory protection. Since the face shields worn to protect from infrared restrict the type of respirator and cartridge or filter that can be used, many welders prefer soft P100 filters like the 3M 2097 Particulate Mold Filter P100 because they have a layer of charcoal to absorb fumes and organic vapors and also can block far more of the particles carried on the air. The 2097s can be worn on the 3M 6000 Series half-face masks or the 3M 7500 Series which is made of soft silicon and is more comfortable when worn for long periods of time."

            So after reading this, I ordered a 7500 series half mask and the 2097 Filter P100. I do a lot of grinding, cutting (chop saw) and welding at work. Out of a 8 hour day I would guess I am grinding, welding or cutting about 4 hours. Currently I do not wear anything when doing this. I will from now on wear the half mask. Thanks for the information guys. This might seem like overkill, but then again, if you look at history, there are probably a lot of people who wished they had on masks back when they use to deal with asbestos. You never know what they are going to find out years down the road, will end up harming you until you have breathed it in every day for 20 years. Can't hurt to filter out most of this crap.

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            • #8
              Short answer ALWAYS WEAR A MASK FOR YOUR HEALTH!!!! but in real life most people don't. Welding fumes are bad for you to breath they will kill you. however unless you are hyper-sensitive it will take many decades of unprotected welding to kill you. Back in the 80's I worked at a company where it was mandatory to wear a mask when welding (smart) but since then it's maybe 60/40 no mask to mask for me. That 3M 2097 is my filter of choice these days.

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              • #9
                I use Millers halfmask, works great and fits pretty good under my Titanium hood. Doesn't fit under the goggles though..... such a shame.
                if there's a welder, there's a way

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                • #10
                  Yeah the filters are only about $7 for the pair so it is just too cheap to not wear one. Even one $75 copay to the doctor would pay for MANY filters. I think I will just make a habit of wearing one constantly while cutting and welding. I wonder how often you are suppose to change those filters?

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                  • #11
                    When they clog! If you use the 2097 filters and you can smell an odor, time for a new filter or if when you breath in, the mask gets sucked into your face, time for new filters or if the color of the filter is all brown or black with no pink left, time for a new filter or if you pass out because it's to hard to breath, time for a new filter. I think that covers the most common reasons to change the filters.

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                    • #12
                      Yup, bout sums it up.

                      Most people (including me) don't wear them as much as we should due to it being just plain annoying, they can be as comfortable as they may be but its still annoying to breathe through them and when it gets hot it gets even worse so I just limit myself to use it when its dangerous metals that can sicken me right away or are very toxic.

                      But if you don't mind it, wear it as much as you can, it will pay off down the road for sure.
                      if there's a welder, there's a way

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                      • #13
                        I use the same mask as Oli does. Fits well, light weight, no clearance problems under the hood and I usually forget I'm wearing it. I almost always wear it when I tig stainless or weld on something that had galvanized goop, powder coating or any other substance that probably contains methylethylbadstuff. But I generally don't for everything else. When I stick weld, I have a fan behind me that keeps my hood full of fresh area. When I cut and grind, I generally wear just a dust mask.

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                        • #14
                          Wow, I barely ever wear anything to protect my respiratory airways... I probably should though. I know chrome is dangerous to weld on due to it turning hexavalent which can cause cancer and not just in the state of California. Aluminum I normally will because it makes me feel sick after a while, oh well, room for improvement I guess.

                          Ryan, a buddy of mine is doing a custom paint job on my Titanium helmet, looks awesome at the moment but still a bit to go. Just thought I would share that with you since I know you care.
                          if there's a welder, there's a way

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                          • #15
                            These rock. Nuisance Level Organic Vapor Relief

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                            HTP Microcut 875SC

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