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Gaseous fume consists of either one or more specific pollutant gases mixed in the air around the welding area. As it is present in gaseous form it can easily enter the lungs.
Whether or not the fume is likely to cause damage depends largely on precisely what the gas or gases are, on the concentration inhaled and on the length of time of exposure to the specific pollutant(s).
The gases of most concern in the welding environment are ozone, oxides of nitrogen (NO and NO2), carbon monoxide, dichloro-acetyl-chloride and possibly phosgene.