Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions
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  1. #1

    Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    All the talk with hexavalent chromium has me bit put off about welding stainless in my garage. Some of the comments I’ve seen and heard make it sound akin to tossing old asbestos all over the family garage.

    As a hobbyist, who welds mostly mild steel, what precautions should I be taking when I do weld stainless? I'm particularly concerned with exposing others to fumes and any left over dust.

    Are there post cleanup items that should be followed?

    This is exactly what I’d be doing:

    • Cutting Stainless steel (304 & 409) exhaust tubbing with abrasive cut off wheels, sawzall blades, wire wheeling.
    • Welding using GMAW and 308 wire in a small garage with the door open. Total welding time probably under 30 minutes.

    I have a 3m respirator with P100 filters.

    This is what I have gleaned from the sources I listed below:

    Hexavalent Chromium Cr (VI) may be released when grinding, (Plasma and Laser) cutting, or welding (SMAW biggest offender), as a dust of fume when the Stainless Steel is heated to roughly 400° F and may continue to release Cr(VI) all the way up to its melting point.

    Most of the Cr(VI) is likely to come from welding fume of the wire, however the base metal may also produce fume during welding.


    http://www.air-quality-eng.com/weldi...ty/#Hexavalent
    https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OS...47_Welding.pdf

    http://consultants.asse.org/assets/6..._0116.pdf?9154
    http://wingermechanical.com/content/...s-pwse1pdf.pdf

  2. #2
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    You'd be good to do that all day with the p100 (3m 2097) filters. Plasma cutting is the worst, grinding then MIG. With the door open you're below the PEL. Sawing is close to zero hazard, other than cutting off your fingers. Grinding dust is pretty rough on a nice clean garage, what else is in there?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    -some stainless depending on it applications stainless can have cadmium and a bunch of other stuff in it, which is very bad for you
    -the slag from stainless steel welds are razor sharp and literally explode off the bead, wear safety glasses, guys lose eyes doing that stuff

    make sure when you weld to have a very good fan as well as open windows or doors, have a respirator (3M is good) and monitor the environment for pollution and takes breaks as necessary, put a towel under the door opening to the garage from the house so no contaminants draft there way under the door
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  4. #4
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    watch erin brockovich lol, i just saw it for the first time yesterday. actually was a good movie

    i work around and with stainless 300 series alloys constantly and am surprised at the lack of ppe worn by the guys that do it day in and day out. i got paranoid about the stuff a while back, but trying to work all day with a respirator is pretty crappy, so i guess i've decided i just dont care much about it anymore.

    i have a good ten years into it, and have never been to a funeral where somebody said "if he had just gotten away from that gosh darn stainless steel".

    not saying it isn't absolutely DEADLY, but, i believe most weldors encounter it in very minute doses under typical conditions. welding inside of a confined space is when i really start paying attention to air inflow and outflow to make sure im not setting myself up for disease.

    mild steel has manganese (less now than before) gives parkinsons

    ss has chromium, turned hex chromium, gives any disease you can think of

    aluminum, turned aluminum oxide, gives Alzheimers.

    pick your poison
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  5. #5
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    i work with stainless when fixing stuff in the laundry/sick bay. never wore a respirator for it but regret it now. if you're welding stainless in your garage and that's where your air handler is i'd be concerned.
    i.u.o.e. # 15
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  6. #6

    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Brazin View Post
    You'd be good to do that all day with the p100 (3m 2097) filters. Plasma cutting is the worst, grinding then MIG. With the door open you're below the PEL. Sawing is close to zero hazard, other than cutting off your fingers. Grinding dust is pretty rough on a nice clean garage, what else is in there?
    Welcome to the forum!

    Nothing is in the garage, other than my tools and a car. No oily rags, or other flammables. The air handler is no where near the garage. It's an attached garage below a bedroom, which is a concern.
    Last edited by lees02ws6; 07-02-2017 at 07:52 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    Jim Fixx, the author and probably the most famous proponent of modern running craze...died of a heart attack.

    Not much in life that doesn't pose a risk, use your head, some common sense. Use PPE. As Norm always says,

    "Before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses."

    Add all the appropriate gear when welding...
    Ryan

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  8. #8
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    The Hex Chrome issue is more of a chronic one. Short term, occasional exposure in a home shop (unless you are going full home-shop production) won't really cause concerns. That said, I wear a respirator when i do pretty much any welding. The smells and fumes do bug me, and if I am doing a lot of it, i will feel sick for a while afterwards. Not common, but it happens to me, and more importantly it is easy to prevent. So I wear a half mask, similar to yours. Your P100 setup is exactly what you need. This is not like nerve agent you are dealing with, it is a chronic long term workplace exposure issue. Wear the mask, ventilate well, and you will be more than fine. For ventilation, I often keep the garage closed for a bit so i don't get wind affecting the shield gas, then open up while I am setting up the next thing and put the big fan on. That does the trick.

    Thinking about good safety practices is a good thing. Overthinking it until you are paralyzed is not. Wear the mask, ventilate as needed.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    I've welded a LOT of stainless and chrome pipe, and until the last year, never took any special precautions from it. The only reason I have to take precautions now is because of work regulations. But the first time they went crazy over PPE for chrome and stainless, I had to do a blood test for chromium before and after, and my before was just fine even after years of welding the stuff.

  10. #10
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    WARNING. Life causes death !
    I probably have more 317L particles in my lungs than any person on earth. But, I AM an idiot.

  11. #11

    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    I appreciate all the comments, and this helps draw a line between the alarmist stuff from the reality. Sounds like I'll be just fine with what I got.

  12. #12
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    Just watch for hot sparks ( grinding and welding ) hitting the car and you should be fine
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  13. #13
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    Quote Originally Posted by lees02ws6 View Post
    I appreciate all the comments, and this helps draw a line between the alarmist stuff from the reality. Sounds like I'll be just fine with what I got.
    The first time I had to wear extra PPE, they were so ridiculous about it, we had to wear coveralls that we had to remove before going to lunch and they had someone washing every day. We had to wear fresh air supplied welding hoods, and had to have a fume extractor with a special filter even though we were outside. Then to top it off, we had our own designated porta potty so that we couldn't "contaminate" other people. That's about as alarmist as it gets haha.

  14. #14
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBFA View Post
    The first time I had to wear extra PPE, they were so ridiculous about it, we had to wear coveralls that we had to remove before going to lunch and they had someone washing every day. We had to wear fresh air supplied welding hoods, and had to have a fume extractor with a special filter even though we were outside. Then to top it off, we had our own designated porta potty so that we couldn't "contaminate" other people. That's about as alarmist as it gets haha.
    WHAT THE!!!! i've been trying to get my own bathroom for years!

    i'll have to try this hex chrome thing out and see how it works for me.. . . . .if they dont buy it, i'll just sneeze rediculously loud. . . . . . .like this:

    "ooshhhhaaaaa!!!!! phew! excuse me!"
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  15. #15
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    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    Cut in a gable type exhaust fan with self closing louvers. Oversize it if possible and that should suffice-its what I did in my garage. I use mostly 6010-7018 and grinding pull smoke out really quick. my fan 1250 cfm garage is approx. 6500 cubic feet.

  16. #16

    Re: Stainless Welding & Cr(VI) Safety questions

    If you do what Weldboy suggested, make sure you compensate for the air you're exhausting. Crack open the garage door so replacement air can come in.

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