Modern fabrication practice in the automotive industry involves resistance welding through, and MAG welding close to, adhesives and sealants These are added to joints to improve structural strength or prevent the ingress of dirt and water.
The heat generated during welding causes the adhesives and sealants to emit fumes that could be harmful but, without knowledge of their composition, it is impossible to assess their toxicity and any associated health risks.
TWI has constructed apparatus and defined laboratory techniques that allow the generation of fumes under simulated workshop conditions and their sampling and eventual analysis for the benefit of member companies. The work performed so far shows that the emission products and their relative concentrations will vary, depending upon the exact welding conditions and the materials used, making the data generated process and product specific.
There is a legal obligation for manufacturers of products to supply sufficient information to ensure their safe use. At the same time, employers must conduct a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to health arising from work activities. Consequently, fume data of the kind that can be generated by TWI are an essential requirement to ensuring safe working conditions. Further, the data may be used by occupational hygienists to aid the definition of exposure monitoring strategies.
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