CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress HalfDork
6/14/22 7:13 p.m.

Looking to finally get a welding setup by the end of this year and saw that used and Chinese PAPR (powered air purifying respirator) helmets were finally getting cheap enough for me to consider. 

They became more popular after 2017 when the EU ruled that welding fumes caused cancer. Looks like most helmets aren't sealed to the outside air but just use positive air pressure from a fan/filter unit that passes clean air through the helmet. 

Anybody try one yet or have any advice?

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/14/22 8:10 p.m.

I wouldn't worry about fumes if you are welding mild steel or aluminum. Stainless steel and galvanized are another story.

Honsch
Honsch Reader
6/14/22 8:43 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Don't weld galvanized stuff without removing the coating. 

Metal Fume Fever is nasty.

Oapfu
Oapfu New Reader
6/14/22 8:57 p.m.

Probably obvious, but check the cost/ availability of filters.  I expect all the flat or low-profile filter elements are proprietary.

I got a used fan unit off ebay which takes 40mm round filters, with the intent of piecing together the rest of the system, but I have not gotten anything done with it.

burdickjp
burdickjp Reader
6/14/22 9:24 p.m.

I wear a Miller respirator under my helmet when welding at home.
At work I wear a 3M PAPR. Work is metal 3D printing, which is basically robotic welding. They're very comfortable. Much more comfortable than the respirator.

There's one problem with the PAPR, and that's farts. They're awful. 3M sells a "nuisance filter" for the PAPR which is basically activated charcoal. It helps.

Still better than sneezing in a respirator, though.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa PowerDork
6/14/22 10:02 p.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

I wouldn't worry about fumes if you are welding mild steel or aluminum. Stainless steel and galvanized are another story.

This is not good info.  Welding is, at a minimum, showing a strong link to cancer risks.  Not just stainless and galvanized, but all welding.

Cancer is not something to berkeley with, everything now a days causes it, but if you can lessen your risk you might as well.

Link of a random study from the first google hit

Excess cancer risk among welders has been reported in several cohort [5][6][7] and case–control [3][8][9][10][11] studies and in meta-analyses [4][12][13][14]. Contemporary epidemiological evidence points to an increased lung cancer risk, particularly among stainless steel welders [15]. Stainless steel welding fumes contain high levels of nickel and chromium VI compounds, which are established human lung carcinogens. Several studies have corroborated the excess risk among stainless steel welders [13]. However, an increasing body of evidence has also suggested a risk among welders who work with materials other than stainless steel [3][4][12], indicating additional or alternate sources of carcinogenicity. In addition to nickel and chromium exposure, common in stainless steel welding, welders are potentially exposed to hazardous agents including iron and manganese, common in mild steel welding [14], and known carcinogens including aluminum, cadmium, silica, lead, UV radiation, and asbestos [14][16]. A convincing body of evidence has recognized an elevated risk of lung cancer among welders, with the excess estimated at 20–40% [6][12][17]. However, despite some epidemiological evidence and proposed biological plausibility, there were insufficient data for welding fumes as a whole to establish a causal link.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress HalfDork
6/14/22 10:41 p.m.
burdickjp said:

At work I wear a 3M PAPR. [snip] They're very comfortable. Much more comfortable than the respirator.

There's one problem with the PAPR, and that's farts. They're awful. 

Thanks-do you know the model of the 3m PAPR? The fart thing is funny as hell.

burdickjp
burdickjp Reader
6/15/22 10:54 a.m.
CrustyRedXpress said:
Thanks-do you know the model of the 3m PAPR? The fart thing is funny as hell.

This is 3M's welding mask for M-series helmets, which is the helmet I'm familiar with. I think other companies also sell this system.

https://www.3m.com/wps/portal/en_US/3M/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Versaflo-M-Series-Helmet-Assembly-with-Speedglas-Welding-Shield-M-153SG-No-ADF-1-EA-Case//ERR_CD/404/

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/15/22 3:47 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

I do not pretend to be an expert, and I grew up in an age when people in my business were a lot more cavalier about safety. That said, IMO the amount of exposure that a hobbyist gets welding mild steel or aluminum is pretty darn minor. It'd be a different matter if you were doing deep root passes on structural steel all day long.

 

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