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Manganese Welding Fumes

Workers in the steelmaking and welding industry may be exposed to dangerous levels of manganese. Chronic exposure to high levels of manganese may result in manganese-induced Parkinsonism, a crippling disease with symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. The disease is also known as manganese, welder's disease and Parkinson's syndrome.

Manganese poisoning affects the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. It’s most devastating effect is the permanent damage on the part of the brain that controls body movement, which results in diminished motor skills and psychological disturbances. The symptoms of the disease may appear several years after the exposure.

Manganese Poisoning - Who's at Risk?

At greatest risk are welders who breathe in toxic levels of manganese fumes produced during the welding process. The intense heat releases the manganese found in the welding rod. Over time, breathing these fumes causes permanent brain damage that results in significant shaking and tremors similar to the onset of Parkinson's disease.

Exposure to high levels of manganese is also likely for workers of factories where manganese metal is produced, or where manganese compounds are used to make steel or other products. Also, people who live near such factories can be exposed to higher-than-average levels of manganese dust in the air or in their drinking water.

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