Cadmium Exposure from Welding and Allied Processes

Certain fumes and dust from welding processes such as brazing, soldering, and thermal spraying can contain cadmium or cadmium oxide compounds.
Overexposure to these fumes may result in death.
The composition and concentration of cadmium found in fumes and dust is based on the configuration of the filler metal, base metals, metal coatings, atmosphere, flux, and weld process.

Acute Effects of Overexposure to Cadmium

Similar to fume and dust produced from other metals but much more severe. Inhalation exposure to high concentrations of fume may cause symptoms such as:
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • lung complications
  • death
  • Chronic Effects of Exposure to Cadmium

    Long-term exposure to cadmium or cadmium oxide fumes and dust has resulted in severe chronic effects and kidney failure. Higher concentrations and/or longer exposure can eventually cause severe respiratory disease and death.
    Smokers who inhale cadmium may increase the development of respiratory diseases.
    There is evidence that chronic overexposure to cadmium may result in lung cancer.

    How to Protect Against Overexposure

  • Comply with OSHA regulations for cadmium
  • Identify composition of all base metals, coatings, and consumables; substitute non–cadmium containing materials wherever possible
  • Do not breathe fumes and gases. Avoid even brief exposure to high concentrations
  • Keep your head out of the fumes
  • Use enough ventilation, exhaust at the arc, or both, to keep fumes and gases from your breathing zone and the general area.
  • If ventilation is questionable, use air sampling to determine the need for corrective measures–air supplied respirators may be required.
  • Avoid ingestion. Do not eat or smoke in areas containing cadmium fume or dust.

  • Resource: AWS Health and Fact Sheet No. 22 - Cadmium Exposure from Welding and Allied Processes