Hobbyists who want to repair metal components need to be aware of the different dangers which they face so that they can prepare appropriately for the metal fabrication project. This article discusses the major dangers which any fabricator must anticipate and take adequate preventive measures when working with metals which have anti-corrosion coatings.

Hazardous Air Pollutants

Many older anti-corrosion coatings have ingredients which can be categorised as hazardous air pollutants. Those pollutants include benzene, acetone, chloroethane and vinyl chloride. These substances can be released into the atmosphere as you apply the coating or strip it from a surface as you prepare the material for various fabrication processes, such as welding. Mild exposure to those hazardous air pollutants can cause skin irritation, nausea, dizziness and headaches. Prolonged inhalation of the substances can result in the development of allergic reactions, kidney damage or even cancer.

Fire Hazards

Many anti-corrosion coatings are made using organic ingredients. Those ingredients can melt or ignite once they are exposed to a flame or intense heat. A fire can therefore spread rapidly in case your work area has many metals which have these coatings which have a low level of flame resistance. You can also suffer serious injuries in case the coating melts and drips on an exposed part of your body during the fabrication project. The burning coatings can also emit fumes which are hazardous to your health. The flashes of light which result during the ignition of the coatings can damage your eyesight.


Germs are an often ignored risk when hobbyists are working during metal fabrication. Metal parts which have been sitting in water for extended durations may be swarming with different kinds of microbes. It only takes a small nick for those microbes to enter your body through your damaged skin. You should be more concerned about the risk of harmful microbes in case the metal was kept in a high risk area, such as locations where animals are fed or damp and dark storage locations.

It may not be feasible for you to conduct tests to ascertain which of the threats above are present on the particular metals which you intend to work with during your project. It is therefore safer for you to assume that all those risks are present so that you can select the right measures to protect yourself. For example, a respirator with a HEPA filter can do a good job of preventing you from inhaling volatile organic compounds as you work.