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  1. #1

    Default Welding stainless steel is just as bad as asbestos?

    First I would like to briefly introduce myself. My name is Nathan and I am 19 years old and just graduated high-school back in June. I was a welder for 2 years in high-school in my vocational class and I also did my internship at a welding school and then after I graduated I paid to go there and took the full 6 weeks class and did amazing with it and I had a lot of fun with it. I finished everything in 3 weeks and was working more advanced stuff. But now I feel like I have just been stabbed in the back! I had to go back for my 10hour OSHA training course 2 weeks ago because when I was going to the school back in November I was the only student their. Which is unheard of because he usually has a lot of people and their facility is one of the few facilities in New England that can give you AWS certification right on the spot. But it is just so that when I was doing my OSHA training the OSHA trainer told us that welding stainless steel is like the next asbestos and you can develop lung cancer if you breathe it in. which if you are smart you would have proper ventilation and a respirator and overall from your regulars. But he also said that the dust from the welding can get on your clothes can get on your regular clothes and you can bring it home to your family and if you get it on their clothes by accident they can get it on their clothes an inhale it by accident and then you just gave them a greater percentage of getting cancer. So I feel betrayed like this is a job not for me anymore. can I get a second opinion on this please and thankyou?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Edmonton, Alberta


    I think your instructer had a little too much to drink that day, sure welding smoke is bad, as are cigarettes, and eating at McDonalds. Now stainless isn't half as bad as welding Galvenized. Even then sure a respirator might be a good idea.

    Now getting this magical cancer causing welding dust on your clothes seems completely bogus. Thats a new one on me.
    Last edited by cruizer; 01-06-2013 at 08:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by Welderman2500 View Post
    the OSHA trainer told us that welding stainless steel is like the next asbestos
    In other words, "outlawed"?

    Thank God for our wise and benevolent babysitters in Washington.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Guess I should stop cooking in stainless pots.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Welding stainless steel is just as bad as asbestos?

    Welding stainless is way worse for you than welding galvanized. Prolonged exposure to hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen released when stainless steel is welded, cut with a plasma torch or cast. Can cause lung cancer.
    I don't think it's as bad as your instructor said it is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default $.02

    In my opinion asbestos is not as bad as asbestos if you get my drift. High temperature related industries lost a valuable tool when asbestos use was banned and again IMHO ceramic fiber compounds are a poor second cousin. Does anyone believe that breathing up ceramic fiber dust is any better for you than asbestos fiber? Comparing asbestos to chrome is a bit of an apples and oranges situation. Excluding the common entry points to the body they have different pathologies.
    Scare mongering is not as valuable a teaching strategy as you instructor thinks it is. Obviously there are precautions that can and should be taken but if its going to keep you up nights forever you might want to re-consider (Let me know when you find a risk-free occupation). That said. there are lots of fields in welding that do not involve chromium or do so in very small amounts.
    Literally millions of hours are spent welding, cutting, grinding, and casting chromium compounds every year. Has there been an exponential increase in chrome related cancers? I don't know but for the most part it is not making the news.
    By age 50 nearly 100% of humans have potentially cancerous tumors. Happily most do not develop the blood supply to allow them to metastasize. Why do some become cancer? Start with your ancestors. Next check your lifestyle and diet. Maybe occupational hazards.Then throw the dice.
    I will say that if you are a smoker or work/live/play around smokers get up from your chair right now and throw those thing in the trash cause they will kill you in so many ways as well as exacerbate the effects of asbestos, chrome, silica, alcohol etc.,etc.
    IMHO standard protocols should protect you from most of the ill effects of welding. Should you change careers? Only you can decide. In 50 years you'll know if you made the right choice. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Salem, NJ


    Insurance companies are probably the biggest influence that OSHA has to deal with because the more regulations they put out, the less insurance companies will pay and the more they can charge.

    Also, lets not forget how much smog you breathe in during rush hour/Mc Donalds stand stills...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Oswego IL

    Default dust, dirt, grit

    It does not take a doctor to realize that enough of any small particle in the lungs is going to be bad for your health, but lets be serious all jobs have risks. As welders we need to control what we do and take any steps we can do to reduce exposure to welding and grinding fumes. Will it shorten the life of the welder maybe, but not making a decent living is going to shorten your life much faster.
    I accept that being a field mechanic, working on heavy diesel engines, welding, grinding, oil will not be the best for my health, however i get to work in the fresh air, get to enjoy what i do,. All jobs have risks, sitting in an office breathing the same stale air as 300 others is not good either. Just a lot easier for a lawyer to sue a welding contractor for hazard.
    XMT 304
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    British Columbia, Canada

    Default Stainlessness

    I have been Welding in a All Stainless shop for close to two years, and Religioiusly wear my respirator. Stainless has Chromium in it, which CAN be really bad for you. However, If you are being safety concious, and wearing a respirator, you are going to greatly reduce the chance of it getting into your lungs. About twice a week, I have to crawl inside of the tank that I am fabricating, and grind and polish out my welds to make the tank sanitary inside. Sometimes I can spend several hours inside. By the time I come out, I am absolutley covered head to toe in stainless grinding dust. But in order to not bring the dust home with me, I blow the dust off of my coveralls, and then leave my coveralls at work when I go home. Stainless dust is going to be way more of a hazzard to you and your family when it is floating around in the air. However by the time you get home, any dust that has managed to get onto your clothes is not really a hazzard to them because it has settled onto your clothes and is no longer floating. So unless your family regularly sit beside you and start trying hard to sniff your clothes; they will be fine. (And if they ARE doing that, they problaly already have something wrong with them) As other people on here have said, your family has a way greater chance of getting cancer, from walking past the occaisional person smoking. I am all for Stainless, and really enjoy working with it. Ultimatley however, your health and safety is up to you, and the measures you take to protect it. A respirator is a great first step. Anyways, Best of Luck!

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