Had an interesting phone call this week. A welder who’s been plying his trade for 18 years called to talk about some job-related health concerns he has. He called me because of an article I wrote eight years ago: “Welding fume health hazards.” Since the article was written, various class-action lawsuits against consumable manufacturers have wound their way through the courts, most of which have been resolved in favor of the defendants. Also since then, several welders, like the one who called this week, have shared their concerns with me. In each case, I have told the welders that I am not a doctor, and they should schedule appointments with their physicians to discuss their concerns. Each time, I have listened to their concerns and worried about them long after the call ended.
This call was a little different than the others. Where others simply had described various ailments they felt might be attributed to their occupation, Chet (not his real name) mentioned something none of the others described. (more...)