Sampling from realistic scenarios often poses a problem, however Chang et al. have sampled fume particles from real time welding in order to gain more detailed information on the occupational hazards posed to welders.
One of the key mechanisms responsible for the cardiopulmonary effects welders may experience is oxidative stress. It was hypothesised that nanoparticles, resulting from the combustion during welding, would carry the greatest ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) burden for cells.
By sampling the air as welding was taking place and fractionating it into coarse (2.5–10 µm), fine (0.1–2.5 µm) and nano (<0.1 µm) the group were able to analyse for water-soluble metals, total elemental analysis (49 metals) and ROS using a bio-assay (rat alveolar macrophages).
By comparing the sampling results to the activities being carried out at the time, crucial information was gleaned as to how individual activities uniquely contributed to particulate exposure. In addition it was confirmed that the nano-sized particles had the highest ROS activity level, suggesting that mass dose may not be the most informative measure of the toxicity associated with these activities.
Anyone interested in air sampling, occupational health and exposure studies and designing experiments to incorporate real-life, real-time scenarios would find this HOT article of interest. It’s in Issue 1 and free to access for the next four weeks* and you can download it here:
Physicochemical and toxicological characteristics of welding fume derived particles generated from real time welding processes
Cali Chang, Philip Demokritou, Martin Shaferc and David Christiani
*Free access to individuals is provided through an RSC Publishing personal account. Registration is quick, free and simple
Published on behalf of Sian Evans, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts web science writer. Sian is a PhD student based in Bath, United Kingdom