What is Argon Poisoning?

Argon Poisoning

You don't have much to worry about when it comes to getting Argon Poisoning. Argon itself is not classified as a poisonous gas, so getting poisoning from Argon is not possible. That being said, Argon can still be a very lethal and dangerous gas to work with, especially if you inhale way too much of it.

Dangers of Inhaling Argon

Argon is a heavier gas, so when you do inhale it, it will tend to sit at the bottom of your lungs, slowly displacing the oxygen in your lungs. The displacement of the oxygen in your lungs with Argon gas causes something called Inert Gas Asphyxiation. Inert Gas Asphyxiation means you would die from not having enough oxygen in your body.

Also, since Argon is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas, it can be hard to detect. So if there is too much Argon in the air, you’d have no way of knowing without a device to let you know.

Is Argon Really That Dangerous

You’ll find that most welders aren’t overly concerned and don’t use much caution when welding with Argon gas (I’ve been guilty of this). One of the reasons for this is because cases of welders dying from inhaling too much Argon, like this one of a 22-year old welder, are pretty rare.

Another reason is that Argon is honestly not a dangerous gas in most cases. It makes up 1% of Earth’s Atmosphere, so we are technically inhaling it constantly. The concern mostly comes from inhaling way too much of it to the point that your body doesn’t have enough oxygen.

The last reason most welders aren’t as worried dying from inhaling too much Argon is that it’s easy to avoid. If you have common sense and take the proper safety precautions, you’ll most likely never have to worry.

Symptoms Of Inhaling Too Much Argon

It is very important to know the symptoms of Inert Gas Ayxpiation. This way, if you notice any symptoms, you’ll be able to take the proper measures before you cause serious damage or worse. These symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Excess Salivation
  • Low Mental Alertness
  • Loss of Consciousness

Safety Precautions

When it comes to safety measures, there is a lot you can do.

  • Proper ventilation goes a long way.
  • Maintain an oxygen level above 19.5%. Atmospheres with 8%-10% or less oxygen might cause unconsciousness without warning.
  • Fresh-Air Welding Helmets work wonders with dangers like this.
  • When welding in places with a high risk of Inert Gas Axypixation, such as tight or poorly ventilated areas, it helps to have a lookout or just someone with you.

What To Do If You Think You Inhaled Too Much?

As with any welding danger, you should always find real medical help. Besides medical help, there are a couple of things you can do if you start experiencing the symptoms listed above.

  • Try to get to an area with fresh air as quickly as you can or get someone to help you there. Your body will be lacking oxygen, so staying in the same place might worsen the problem.
  • This next one is something I’ve never personally tried, but its a trick I’ve heard about ever since I started welding. I’ve heard numerous stories of people saying it worked and people say it doesn’t work, so take it with a grain of salt. Anyways, since Argon is a heavy gas and sits at the bottom of your lungs, doing a handstand or tilting at an angle with your feet up might help move the Argon out of your lungs faster.

Argon FAQs

Q: What other dangers should I be aware of with Argon?
A:
When Argon is in liquid form, eye or skin contact can cause frostbite.

Q: Is Argon flammable?
A:
No, Argon is non-flammable.

Q: What is Argon used for?
A:
Argon is mostly used as a shielding gas in welding, specifically GMAW and GTAW. It is also used in fluorescent lighting, incandescent, and in other gas discharge tubes.

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