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The content of the fume and its concentration will vary from one application to the next.
Some common components of fume are far more toxic than others and so represent a much greater risk to health.
In order to assess the risk presented by welding fume it is necessary to know precisely what is in the fume and how much welders and other workers are being exposed to.
To do this, it is necessary to take samples of fume to measure the concentration and content.
Samples of the air are normally taken in workers' breathing zone to determine concentrations over a set period of time, usually an 8-hour working day, but perhaps for a 10 or 15 minute period.
This, together with a chemical analysis of the fume, will allow the risk to be assessed.