Summary: Beyond Sparks and Flames

Summary: Beyond Sparks and Flames


Our classic webinar about the dangers of welding and solutions offered by 3M is back. However, this time, we are launching a summary as a valuable tool for your safety and the safety of your employees.

This document will give you an overview of the content presented by SPI and 3M experts during this webinar.

If you still have unanswered questions, don’t hesitate to contact our experts!

What are welding fumes?

Welding fumes are produced by welding. Fumes can contain particulates or gases. The main components of welding fumes are as follows:







Chrome Acetylene


Nickel Nitrogen oxides


What are the dangers associated with welding?

Welding can be dangerous if you are not using the proper protective equipment. Let’s take a look at the hazards of welding.


This grayish-white metal is found in more than 250 natural minerals. It is mainly used in welding rods and filler metals to increase hardness.

An employee exposed to manganese can develop manganism. It is a disease with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease (weakness, lethargy, tremors, etc.).

The metal can also be ototoxic for workers, meaning that your hearing can be affected when manganese is inhaled.

Find out more about the best ways to protect yourself from manganese-related risks.

Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)

Cr6+ is produced when chrome is heated. Chromium, in its hexavalent form, is the most dangerous for humans.

Good to know! Chrome offers great shine that can resist to tarnishing while having a high fusion point.

Chrome can impact your health and cause:

  • Cancers (in particular lung cancer)
  • Irritations
  • Ulcers
  • Allergic reactions

In 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified welding fumes and ultraviolet radiation as “carcinogenic for humans”.

What can influence your respiratory exposure?

Welders are exposed to many particulates that can be harmful to their health. Let’s see how the exposure can vary.

  • The welding process used
  • The coating of these metals
  • The duration of exposure
  • The ventilation
  • The positioning and work location
  • The voltage
  • The intensity and speed

All those criteria influence the particulate concentration in the air.

Important! Approximately 90 to 95% of fumes come from filler metals.

What solutions are available?

It is essential to understand that welding fumes contain particles and that masks are used to block them out. In addition, NIOSH-approved respirators (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) have particulate filters. Therefore, they can filter the particles efficiently from welding fumes.

3M offers reusable respirators with many practical features such as:

  • Low-profile design
  • Compatible with the 3MTM SpeedglasTM welding masks
  • Vast selection of cartridges and filters
  • Electrostatic filter technology
  • 3MTM Cool FlowTM valve

Different filters against welding fumes recommended by 3M

3M 2097 (P100)

3M 2297 (P100)

3M 7093C (P100/HF)

Perfect for protection against ozone concentrations up to ten times the exposure limit.

Perfect for protection against ozone concentrations up to ten times the exposure limit. Protects against harmful concentrations of organic vapors.

Protection against harmful concentrations of organic vapors and acid gases.

Excellent protection against harmful concentrations of organic vapors.

28% easier to breathe compared to the model 2097.

To be used with masks from the Series 6000, 7500 and 7000.

PAPR system

PAPR systems are used frequently when welding. A powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) is a type of personal protective equipment designed to protect workers from inhaling contaminated air.

Here are the components of this protection system.

A case study about the 3M powered air-purifying respiratory was conducted, and the results speak for themselves!

Eye lesions caused by foreign objects have decreased by over 70% compared to the previous year in work zones where the 3TM AdfloTM powered air-purifying respiratory system has been implemented.

Also, the productivity of workers wearing a 3MTM SpeedglasTM welding helmet was 44% higher than if wearing any other type of equipment other than a powered air-purifying respirator.

If you want to learn more, discover the five advantages of using a PAPR system!

Manganese exposure

As mentioned previously, manganese exposure can be hazardous for a human being. The side effects of manganese poisoning are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Nervous system problems
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Parkinson disease
  • Bronchitis
  • Insomnia
Good to know! Manganese is necessary for human survival. It is present in food such as spinach, tea, eggs, nuts, etc. However, manganese is toxic is the concentration found in the body becomes too high.

Here are the 3M respirators to protect you from manganese exposure. You can select your respirator according to the exposure level.

Wear the right equipment!

To shop 3M products, use the link to the reusable masks, filters and cartridges.

Full-mask respirators

Half-mask respirators

Filters and cartridges

Powered air-purifying systems