May 6, 2024

Health Risks From Laser Cutting Emissions

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Health Risks From Laser Cutting Emissions

What is Laser Cutting?

Throughout history, industrial cutting has been a necessary means of producing goods. The need to cut, shape, and size materials has always been, and always will be, a necessary part of manufacturing. Laser-cutting is considered the most versatile, precise, and timely of the different methods. This technologically advanced process can produce emissions that make workers sick unless proper indoor air quality measures are in place.

From tiny diamond earrings to engine parts, from a leather wallet in your back pocket to beams and pipes in your home and office, everyday objects made by laser-cutting are abundant and widespread.

Laser cutters use highly charged laser beams to cut through various materials. The process is prized for its accuracy and precision and for the ability to cut a multitude of materials like wood, glass, acrylic, and metal while maintaining a high rate of speed and efficiency.

The cutting machine’s heat-charged laser is fixed on the material, resulting in a clean cut with a high-grade edge.

Health Concerns from Laser Cutting

While laser-cutting maintains many advantages over other cutting methods, it shares the potential to create indoor air pollution that may prove hazardous to workers.

How sick a person may become depends on their existing health, types of materials cut, pollutants emitted, and duration of exposure.

Specific Illnesses

Chronic exposure to particulate matter, VOCs, and other toxins emitted during the laser-cutting process can create these common illnesses:

Cardiovascular Disease – such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension.

Cancer – lung and nasal cancers, for example.

Neurological Disorders – such as cognitive impairment, headache, dizziness, nausea, and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness.

Respiratory Complications – include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and throat sensitivity. Asthma is a risk.

Reproductive Issues – certain chemicals, dust, and particulates have been linked with infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, and fetal development risks.

Skin and Eye Damage – Exposure to intense light and radiation can result in skin rashes, sores, blurred vision, optical redness, and itching.

How Indoor Air Cleaning Can Help

The potential problems created by unhealthy laser-cutting emissions underscore the importance of clean indoor air. IAQ management should include proper workspace ventilation, the use of personal protective equipment such as goggles and facemasks, as well as air cleaning equipment like fume extractors. 

Fume extractors, air purifiers, air cleaners, and other filtration systems can improve IAQ by removing potentially hazardous emissions before they enter a worker’s breathing space. Our Extract-All® products for source capture and air filtration can help. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our clean air specialists to find out if our fume extraction air cleaning products are right for you.

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