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Old 07-23-2009, 09:09 AM
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Welding safety/Cleaning chemicals

A buddy of mine just sent me this and since there has been a lot of discussion about welding safety here and because body panels are likely to be cleaned with chemicals I thought I would post this in this section. This is something we all can be exposed to if not careful there and there can never be enough warnings because some will miss them and some will forget but it CAN happen!


www.brewracingframes.com/id75.htm



I myself got very sick a few years back when I welded on a heavy steel casting that had just returned from the machine shop and there was some cutting fluid (or maybe cleaning fluid) still in a hole that had been threaded. The hole had been drilled in the wrong place and I was going to plug weld it so it could be re-drilled, even though I blew the hole out with compressed air there was still enough fluid left in the threads to cause a real problem. Since it was just a "quicky" weld I did not bother with my respirator (BIG mistake!) but as soon as I hit that 1 1/2"hole with the MIG welder I hit the floor! When I was able to stand after a few seconds I felt as if I was breathing ice cold air and I was weak and trembly for about an hour then I had a headache and muscle aches for about two weeks. I don't know if there was any permanent damage or not but even after 15 years sometimes when I don't feel so good I have to wonder. Anyway what happened to me was not nearly as bad as what happened to this guy but as I said IT CAN HAPPEN!!!

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Old 07-23-2009, 10:28 AM
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Wow, that's really freaky. Having worked for DuPont we are made acutely aware of various chemicals. Phosgene was one of the more devastatingly dangerous chemicals. I believe it was part of the chemical warfare inventory also.

Vince
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
A buddy of mine just sent me this and since there has been a lot of discussion about welding safety here and because body panels are likely to be cleaned with chemicals I thought I would post this in this section. This is something we all can be exposed to if not careful there and there can never be enough warnings because some will miss them and some will forget but it CAN happen!


www.brewracingframes.com/id75.htm



I myself got very sick a few years back when I welded on a heavy steel casting that had just returned from the machine shop and there was some cutting fluid (or maybe cleaning fluid) still in a hole that had been threaded. The hole had been drilled in the wrong place and I was going to plug weld it so it could be re-drilled, even though I blew the hole out with compressed air there was still enough fluid left in the threads to cause a real problem. Since it was just a "quicky" weld I did not bother with my respirator (BIG mistake!) but as soon as I hit that 1 1/2"hole with the MIG welder I hit the floor! When I was able to stand after a few seconds I felt as if I was breathing ice cold air and I was weak and trembly for about an hour then I had a headache and muscle aches for about two weeks. I don't know if there was any permanent damage or not but even after 15 years sometimes when I don't feel so good I have to wonder. Anyway what happened to me was not nearly as bad as what happened to this guy but as I said IT CAN HAPPEN!!!
Thanks for the warning oldred. I remember a few weeks ago getting sick after tig welding some aluminum after cleaning it with brake cleaner, I distinctly remember the chlorine like smell that seemed to stick in my nostrils for about a week after. Will be very careful about what I use from now on.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrimshaw
I remember a few weeks ago getting sick after tig welding some aluminum after cleaning it with brake cleaner,

Sounds like you were exposed to the same thing he was! If that's so then with the small amount that caused that guy the problems it did you must have come really close but got lucky, it can happen so easy and we rarely even think about it until it happens.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 302 Z28
Phosgene was one of the more devastatingly dangerous chemicals. I believe it was part of the chemical warfare inventory also.

I heard it was the most widely used chemical in the Nazi death camps during the war. Cheap, easy to make and very effective!
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:37 PM
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Holy Crap!!! I use brake cleaner all the time before I TIG. Not any more. That is way scary. I guess from now on it is either don't clean it, or use the blaster on it first. I don't know about you guys but I can not get a decent respirator under my welding helmet and I can not believe the dust masks with the little filter on the front really do much. They don't even seal that well.

Dang... the more informed I am about health risk the more inclined I am to start building hot rods with Elmer's Glue. Oh wait... not really sure what is in that either but I think it has something to do with dead horses.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:20 PM
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The really troublesome aspect of gas poisoning is that the effects may not show up immediately but be cumulative over time as a result of numerous exposures. Good thing to know about..

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Old 07-23-2009, 04:39 PM
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Ah Sh*^.... Thank for making me feel even better about what I have been doing!
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:52 PM
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Wow, that is serious. Thanks Red for the heads up, probably will save someone.
I have gotten industrial poisoning before, painting and even once using Waterlox, which is used on wood.
I think my body has lost all tolerance to a lot of chemicals from exposure over the years. And brake cleaner is one I have used a lot.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:30 PM
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I used acetone today and seemed to work very well. No noticeable fumes.

What are other people using?
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:05 PM
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soap and distilled water.
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Old 07-25-2009, 04:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
I myself got very sick a few years back when I welded on a heavy steel casting that had just returned from the machine shop and there was some cutting fluid (or maybe cleaning fluid) still in a hole that had been threaded. The hole had been drilled in the wrong place and I was going to plug weld it so it could be re-drilled, even though I blew the hole out with compressed air there was still enough fluid left in the threads to cause a real problem. Since it was just a "quicky" weld I did not bother with my respirator (BIG mistake!) but as soon as I hit that 1 1/2"hole with the MIG welder I hit the floor! When I was able to stand after a few seconds I felt as if I was breathing ice cold air and I was weak and trembly for about an hour then I had a headache and muscle aches for about two weeks. I don't know if there was any permanent damage or not but even after 15 years sometimes when I don't feel so good I have to wonder. Anyway what happened to me was not nearly as bad as what happened to this guy but as I said IT CAN HAPPEN!!!
That was most likely a specialty tapping fluid in the hole. Most of them have perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene in them, so they'd give off the same sorts of gases as in the article you linked to.

Anything with "chloro" in the chemical name can be a real threat. Burning Freon 12 or 22 can also produce phosgene. Freon is especially dangerous around flames because it contains compounds with both chlorine and fluorine.

Some heavily chlorinated solvents will absorb thru bare skin like its a piece of screen wire. There used to be a product called lacquer removing compound that would liquefy lacquer like no lacquer thinner ever could. You could get a little of that stuff on your hand, and within a minute or less you could taste it (a sort of sick sweet taste) due to transdermal absorption. I can't remember its chemical name, but it was removed from the market for that purpose probably 25 years ago.

Carbon tetrachloride, the old time dry cleaning fluid, was another dangerous one. Sometimes hear it called carbon tet. Its also been off the market for years, yet I still hear people every once in a while talking about how they wish they could get ahold of some carbon tet because its such a good solvent.

I'm no safety sherrif, not by a long shot. But fooling around with some of those chemicals and assuming they won't hurt you is about like figuring its okay to shoot yourself since you likely won't bleed to death if you pick a good safe spot to aim at. I figure I've already got a bumper crop of dead brain cells, and sure don't need to add any more unnecessarily
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TubeTek
Carbon tetrachloride, the old time dry cleaning fluid, was another dangerous one. Sometimes hear it called carbon tet. Its also been off the market for years, yet I still hear people every once in a while talking about how they wish they could get ahold of some carbon tet because its such a good solvent.
Carbon Tet is still around, but it is now a controlled substance. The DuPont unit I retired from, Hypalon still uses carbon tet in it's process. When the Montreal Protocol was about to go into effect DuPont bought up the U.S. inventory of carbon tet. Carbon tet is used to dissolve polyethylene pellets in the production of Hypalon a synthetic rubber. The slurry with other ingrediants is cast onto steam heated drums for drying and hoods above the drums pull a vacuum that removes the carbon tet fumes. The carbon tet fumes are then fed through one of four enormous cabon beds for adsorption (not a misspelling). DuPont was able to convince the EPA that they were able to recover 98% of the carbon tet and received an exemption for the Montreal Protocol that allowed them to continue to operate the Hypalon unit.

FYI
Vince
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:20 AM
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Breathing or absorbing carbon tet in moderate amounts usually did not cause any noticeable adverse effects, that is until the victim went out and had a beer or drink after exposure! If mixed with alcohol this "un-noticeable" exposure to carbon tet could turn deadly causing multiple organ failure (kidney and liver damage was what I was told) if the alcohol was consumed within 8 hrs or so of exposure. When carbon tet was easily available these illnesses and even deaths at first puzzled doctors as to why it would seemingly affect some people but not others until the alcohol connection was made. At least this was what we were told at a safety meeting some years ago when the subject came up because there had been a bunch of old fire extinguishers (of all things! ) containing carbon tet that were found in a storage building at a mine shop.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:41 PM
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Added info on phosgene poisoning to our wiki Safety article:

Brake parts cleaner, welding, and phosgene poisoning.

That section could use a photograph of the warning on the back of a can of brake parts cleaner, that specifically mentions phosgene.

In addition, if someone would like to get a wiki listing of safe cleaning chemicals started, we could link that up from the phosgene warning section.

We could also add info on carbon tetrachloride, but, as its been banned in the US in consumer products since the 1970's, then we might not need more than a passing reference to it in the safety article.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:07 AM
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WOW, thats not good
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