Agent Name

Iron and steel founding

Major Category

Other Uses


Exposures, Complex


"Foundries produce shaped castings from re-melted metal ingots and scrap. . . . The processes in iron and steel founding generally comprise pattern-making, moulding and core-making, melting, pouring and shake-out, and fettling. . . . Substantial exposures to silica, and carbon monoxide continue to occur in many foundries. Occupational exposures to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are also present, resulting mainly from the thermal decomposition of carbonaceous ingredients commonly added to foundry sand. In addition, some steel-foundry workers (e.g., fettlers) are exposed to airborne chromium and nickel compounds. The introduction of organic binder materials in the late 1950s has resulted in exposures of foundry workers to other chemicals, including phenol, formaldehyde, isocyanates and various amines." [Reference #1]


A Group 1 carcinogen: cancer of the lung; "Major improvements with respect to occupational hygiene in the foundries showed maximum average concentrations of respirable dust being almost equal to the minimum average concentrations for various jobs in the past. . . . There are 13 cohort studies available on iron and steel founding workers in various parts of the world. Nearly all of these show a significantly increased risk for lung cancer, either in the entire cohort or in high-exposed subgroups." Table 2.1 shows that most of the men studied worked in the 1980s and before and many of the men worked in the 1960s and before. [Reference #1]

Reference Link

IARC 2012: Occupational Exposures during Iron and Steel Founding

Exposure Assessment
Adverse Effects
IARC Carcinogen

Known Carcinogen

Links to Other NLM Databases
Toxicity Information


Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: