Clearing the Air on Welder’s Anthrax: Why Dust Collection is Essential

Jan 25, 2024

Welder’s anthrax, also known as metal fume fever, is a common occupational disease affecting welders and other metal workers. This condition is caused by inhaling fumes produced when welding certain metals, such as zinc, aluminum, and magnesium. The fumes produced by welding contain metal oxides that, when inhaled, can cause a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. 

Development and Symptoms of Welder’s Anthrax 

Welder’s anthrax is a type of pneumonia and is caused by a bacteria that produces anthrax toxin. It is generally a short-term condition that usually develops within several hours after exposure to welding fumes. The most common symptoms of welder’s anthrax include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, chills, nausea, and fatigue. In extreme cases, the symptoms can be more severe, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing.

A medical doctor like this should be consulted immediately if you suspect you have welder's anthrax

When to Seek Medical Treatment 

Though the symptoms of welder’s anthrax are similar to those of a common cold or flu, they typically appear more suddenly and can last for several days. In most cases, the symptoms will resolve on their own within a few days. However, in some cases, the symptoms can persist and may require medical attention.  

Your doctor may perform a physical examination and take a blood sample to check for metal fumes in your bloodstream. In severe cases, you may be hospitalized and treated with medications to relieve your symptoms and prevent further exposure to welding fumes. If you suspect that you have welder’s anthrax, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.  

The Importance of Proper Ventilation 

To prevent welder’s respiratory health hazards, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the sources of fumes and dust generated during the welding process. This can include the type of welding being done, the type of base and filler materials used, and the work environment. Based on this knowledge, appropriate dust collection systems can be designed to effectively collect the hazardous particulate. 

Welder’s anthrax is not a long-term condition, but it can cause discomfort and can impact your ability to work. If you employ welders, it is important to take steps to prevent welder’s anthrax. Speaking to professionals to help determine the best solution for your facility is a good first step. 

Partner with Imperial Systems to Help Prevent Welder’s Anthrax

Imperial Systems can partner with you to design a system tailored to your system and facility. We assess your work environment and design a system that integrates with your workflow while ensuring that employees are staying healthy. 

Welder’s anthrax is a common condition that affects welders and other metal workers. Inhaling welding fumes can cause a range of symptoms, from flu-like chills to more severe issues in serious cases. The best way to prevent welder’s anthrax is to ensure any areas where welding takes place are properly vented with a fume extractor.