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Relationship Between Welding Fume Concentration and Systemic Inflammation After Controlled Exposure of Human Subjects With Welding Fumes From Metal Inert Gas Brazing of Zinc-Coated Materials

Brand, Peter PhD; Bauer, Marcus MD; Gube, Monika MD; Lenz, Klaus Dipl Ing; Reisgen, Uwe Dr Ing; Spiegel-Ciobanu, Vilia Elena Dr Ing; Kraus, Thomas MD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: January 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 1 - p 1–5
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000061
Original Articles

Objectives: It has been shown that exposure of subjects to emissions from a metal inert gas (MIG) brazing process of zinc-coated material led to an increase of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in the blood. In this study, the no-observed-effect level (NOEL) for such emissions was assessed.

Methods: Twelve healthy subjects were exposed for 6 hours to different concentrations of MIG brazing fumes under controlled conditions. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein was measured in the blood.

Results: For welding fumes containing 1.20 and 1.50 mg m−3 zinc, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was increased the day after exposure. For 0.90 mg m−3 zinc, no increase was detected.

Conclusions: These data indicate that the no-observed-effect level for emissions from a MIG brazing process of zinc-coated material in respect to systemic inflammation is found for welding fumes with zinc concentrations between 0.90 and 1.20 mg m−3.

From the Institute for Occupational and Social Medicine (Drs Brand, Bauer, Gube, and Kraus) and ISF—Welding and Joining Institute (Mr Lenz and Dr Reisgen), Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany; and Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Woodworking and Metalworking Industry (Dr Spiegel-Ciobanu), Hannover, Germany.

Address correspondence to: Peter Brand, PhD, Institute for Occupational and Social Medicine, Aachen University of Technology, Pauwelsstr 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany (pbrand@ukaachen.de).

This project was funded by the Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Woodworking and Metalworking Industry (BGHM), Hannover, Germany, and by unrestricted grant (no. 360582) to the University Hospital Aachen, RWTH Aachen University.

Authors Brand, Bauer, Gube, Lenz, Ing, Reisgen, Ing, Spiegel-Ciobanu, Ing, and Kraus have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine