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topic 10641

Welding galvanized pipe


My son worked as a welder for many years. About the last 5 years he welded galvanized pipe. During that time, he was always having stomach problems and his employer showed no concern. All he had to work with was a small respirator cup. No breathing apparatus. He has been off that job since December---. He continues to have stomach problems. Diarrhea and vomiting. Could his health problem be related to the galvanized pipe welding?

Thanks for your help,

Betty Pitts
Blythe, California

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Search internet web sites like google or for 'metal fume fever' for more information.

tom pullizzi monitor
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township,

May 31, 2009

Hi, Betty. Sorry for your son's troubles. He should not have been asked to weld without proper equipment, as going home from work sick due to overexposure to zinc is not acceptable.

However, his current condition is probably not related as a lot of studies have been done, and it seems that most authorities currently believe that there is no cumulative or long-term effect. There are dozens of letters on this site about "metal fume fever" / "zinc fume fever" if you want to search the site for further info.

Cadmium electroplating is different than galvanizing. Cadmium is a cumulative poison. If there is a chance that he was welding cadmium plating, then a cumulative problem is more likely. Good luck and have confidence in his doctor.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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