Proposed Extension of Advanced REACH Tool Includes Welding Fume Exposure

The Advanced REACH Tool (ART) is a mechanistic higher-tier model to estimate inhalation exposure to chemicals using a Bayesian approach. Currently, the ART model does not include exposure to welding fumes within its applicability domain; it has only been calibrated for vapors, mists, and dusts. To extend the scope to metal fumes, it is necessary to review the model structure to ensure that it is appropriate and to calibrate the updated model using available welding fume exposure measurements.

This paper provides a discussion of the key modifying factors that should be considered to extend the ART model to include welding fume exposure.

Based on a literature review, welding process type, input power level, shield gas, and welding electrodes have an important effect on fume formation rates. In addition, the convective dispersion of the fume away from the weld and the interaction of the welder with the fume plume should be incorporated into the ART model.

Other aspects of the ART, such as the local ventilation, do not require modification to accommodate welding fume exposure. The ART does not include the effect of wearing personal protective equipment, so this is not included in the evaluation. Proposals are made for extending the scope of the ART to include welding processes.

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