Immunotoxicology of arc welding fume: worker and experimental animal studies

J Immunotoxicol. 2012 Oct-Dec;9(4):411-25. doi: 10.3109/1547691X.2011.652783. Epub 2012 Jun 26.


Arc welding processes generate complex aerosols composed of potentially hazardous metal fumes and gases. Millions of workers worldwide are exposed to welding aerosols daily. A health effect of welding that is of concern to the occupational health community is the development of immune system dysfunction. Increased severity, frequency, and duration of upper and lower respiratory tract infections have been reported among welders. Specifically, multiple studies have observed an excess mortality from pneumonia in welders and workers exposed to metal fumes. Although several welder cohort and experimental animal studies investigating the adverse effects of welding fume exposure on immune function have been performed, the potential mechanisms responsible for these effects are limited. The objective of this report was to review both human and animal studies that have examined the effect of welding fume pulmonary exposure on local and systemic immune responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / chemistry
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / immunology
  • Animals
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects*
  • Hazardous Substances / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / complications
  • Immune System Diseases / immunology*
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lung / immunology
  • Metals / adverse effects*
  • Metals / chemistry
  • Metals / immunology
  • Models, Animal
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / immunology*
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Welding*


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Metals
  • Smoke