Assessment of Technologies for Measuring Exposure to NO2 during Welding on Aluminum Alloys

  •  Thomas Neil McManus    
  •  Assed Haddad    


Arc welding is a complex process that results in many air contaminants of health significance to humans. As a result, regulators worldwide require employers to determine exposure of welders and other workers to these contaminants. The very small Exposure Limit for NO2 limits the technology available for assessing exposure. Bias caused by ozone, a known interferent in the measurement of NO2, is a major concern. This investigation involved side-by-side comparison of results provided by handheld instruments containing electrochemical sensors for NO2 to those produced by an air pollution analyzer specific to NO2 using bag samples of plumes collected during production welding (Gas Shielded Metal Arc Welding [GMAW] commonly known as Metal Inert Gas [MIG welding]) on aluminum alloys. The shield gas was argon. Monitoring to confirm utility of the method was performed on welders. Results from all instruments were similar despite differences in measurement technology and instrument and sensor manufacturer. Levels experienced during confirmatory testing on welders to determine exposures of short duration and long intermittency as occur during real-world activity were comparable to the Threshold Limit Value for NO2 of 0.2ppm (parts per million) expressed as a Time-Weighted Average over 8 hours, and were less than the Ceiling Limit of 1ppm used by some jurisdictions. Hand-held instruments containing electrochemical sensors for NO2 and datalogging capability are suitable for use in this application. The ability to draw the sample to the instrument by a pump is an important consideration in providing welder safety and protecting the instrument.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1927-0488
  • Issn(Onlne): 1927-0496
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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