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Ultraviolet (UV) light inherent to welding processes generates ozone (O(3)) with subsequent formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through photochemical reactions when UV light is present with O(3). This study aimed to determine the performance of filters used as respiratory protective devices by welding personnel to simultaneously mitigate particulate and gaseous inhalation hazards. Four respiratory protective devices were selected for this study, including a surgical facemask, a cotton-fabric facemask, an activated-carbon facemask, and an N95 respirator. The removal efficiencies for the particulates in welding fumes were all above 98%. For particulate-phase ROS, the removal efficiencies of the different respiratory protective devices ranged from 83.5% to 94.1%; however, the removal efficiencies for gaseous ROS were only 1.3% (active carbon facemask) to 21.1% (N95 respirator). The data indicated that the respiratory protective devices commercially available cannot block the passage of the gas-phase ROS found in welding fumes.


Hsiu-Ling Chen, Shih-Hsiang Chung, Ming-Lin Jhuo. Efficiency of different respiratory protective devices for removal of particulate and gaseous reactive oxygen species from welding fumes. Archives of environmental & occupational health. 2013;68(2):101-6

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PMID: 23428060

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