Reproductive disorders caused by occupational exposure for male welders

The welders are exposed to many chemicals , strong physical constraints and  nanoparticles. A lot of epidemiological studies have shown reproductive disorders among welders.

Possible role of exposure to heat on reproduction
Possible role of boron exposure on reproduction
Possible role of cadmium exposure on reproduction
Possible role of chromium exposure on reproduction
Possible role of nickel and manganese exposure on reproduction

Generally, the studies speak about the welding but give no details about the welding technique . However, there are two different welding techniques  :

  • brazing : the filler metal and the base metal are different,
  • TIG, MIG weldings :  the base metal and the welding cord are the same however the température is more higher than for brazing eand workers are exposed  to metal fumes.

The welders are subjected to multiple exposure, depending on the welding technique.

 Possible role of exposure to heat on reproduction

 The heat is the main cause of reproductive disorders amog welders (  found in the scientific literature).

It is not the ambient temperature which is in issue but the temperature which results from infrared radiation around the testicles.

Oligospermia is often found in the welders.

 Possible role of boron exposure on reproduction

Since 1972, this effect was seen in the rat

Boron is classified as probably reprotoxic in Europe, since 2008.

At high levels, boron causes testicular atrophy.

Possible role of cadmium exposure on reproduction

Since 2011, Europe has forbidden cadmium in the welding cords.

The scientific literature demonstrates that cadmium is reprotoxic : it decreases hormone production and movements of spermatozoids.

 Possible role of chromium exposure on reproduction

Chromium is present in stainless steels (stainless still is composed of  iron and carbon,  however to be stainlees, it must contain at least 10% chromimum)
Stainless stills are welded with TIG technique.

Chromium is reprotoxic through various méchanisms :

  • decreases testosterone secretion,
  • disturbs the movements of spermatozoids,
  • decreases the concentration of spermatozoids,
  • oxidative stress.

 Possible role of nickel and manganese exposure on reproduction

Nickel and  manganèse are known to cause reproductive disorders among welders.


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